Reasons Why I’m Tired: Living A Life In The Music Industry Without Photoshop
For what it’s worth I don’t retire to our dressing room after a lackluster show and “cry sexism.” I don’t whine and lament that I felt awkward and the crowd was quiet because I was a girl in a male dominated scene. To me, when people are quiet, I see the faces of people who have never heard me sing before, who may now get the chance to know me. If you didn’t like me and you think that nobody did because you didn’t, you have to reevaluate what exactly the world is revolving around.
This goes to my point about the way the world looks from where you are standing. It’s fun. It’s pretty. There are lots of bright lights. My work is your play. I am standing behind the scenes and I see the way things work between each long drive, each high energy performance, and every empty floor littered with old plastic cups being sweeped up by the venue staff when everyone’s left. And I’m just tired.
The road has a way of beating you down sometimes when you realize that despite your best efforts, some things won’t ever be good enough. Sure you miss a string or a note here or there and show up 10 minutes late – that’s life – but some things are not your fault. And those things can be exhausting. It’s hard for me to admit that maybe sometimes my performance is lackluster because I’m tired.
I’m tired that when I get off stage to sell our merch all night, people assume I’m just hanging out backstage doing nothing while the guys clean up the equipment. People don’t want to recognize that the girl who was just singing is actually working hard trying to grow her business from the bottom up. She is standing there in the same clothes that she just wore on stage, while you pick up her cd and comment to your friend. She sees you, but you don’t allow yourself to notice her. She does not think she is too good to sell merch.
Maybe I’m tired because while I’m standing at merch alone and everyone else is loading out the equipment, I am touched, pulled, hit on and even kissed (yes kissed on the mouth and held in place against my will – also known as sexual assault) by people who come up to the table. The same people who say the scene does not have a problem with sexism.
Maybe I’m tired that people call me a diva or self centered because as the front woman, I am the most publicly vocal person in the band. They do not believe that I could possibly run social media accounts and do most of the interviews or stand in the front of photos for any other reason. They do not see that I do those things because I wrote the songs, all of the songs are in my voice and that I tour manage our band when we cannot afford a tour manager. They see a girl who wants to be in front because she is self-centered, not a girl who happens to be in front because she is running a small business.
Maybe I’m tired of how being proud of and celebrating my feminine identity is called a gimmick. That I’m using my gender to sell records. That writing fashion blogs or tweeting about my hair means I sold out, and it cannot be solely because I enjoy some things typically considered feminine. They do not care to see the side of me driving a 15-passenger van on no sleep, not showering for 3 days, slamming down a cheeseburger and having the crudest sense of humor out of anyone else in the band.
Maybe I’m tired of needing to be perfect. I’m tired that any single mistake I make is magnified because women are not afforded the same mistakes as men. How I could hit one sloppy note and be “a bad singer” or dress a little casual and “not want to be there” when boys are allowed to miss tons of notes and wear sweatpants while they are praised for their attractiveness, style and talent.
I am tired of hearing cat calls when I wear clothes I can move in – a requirement of my job. I’m tired of reading crude things about my appearance and body online. I am tired of an unflattering photo being a conversation piece. I am tired of people trying to tell me how my body should be when they don’t have to live in it.
But most of all I am tired of the people who will read this. Who say I’m going on a feminist rant to dismiss me. Who will see my band’s small success and wonder why their own band hasn’t yet been presented with the same opportunities. They will come to the conclusion that it is because I am a girl and that is how we sell records, and they will say this entire blog where I pour my heart out about the disappointing state of sexism in the media, is just a tactic to stay relevant and sell a CD rather than a truth and injustice they could help change.
The music industry needs more unique female icons. I need more unique icons. We need more Lorde’s who own their strangeness and more Beth Dittos who celebrate beautiful bodies that aren’t model-perfect. We need more St. Vincent’s showing girls it’s okay to shred, and we need more Bethany Cosentinos to prove that femininity is okay – that being seen as a Valley Girl isn’t a sign of weakness or stupidity. We need more Jenny Lewises to prove that women nearing 40 are not dead yet. Men have been overweight, strange, old, imperfect and successful since our certain humanity existed. When is it our turn to be allowed to live like we aren’t Photoshopped?