Candy Hearts’ Mariel Loveland On Sexism In Music For Alternative Press
Candy Heart‘s Mariel Loveland shared her perspective on sexism in the music industry with Alternative Press. I pulled out the 6 things she is sick of hearing as a woman in music. Please take a moment to read it and let me know what you think. You can read the full story on Alternative Press.
1. “You shouldn’t really be that upset.” After reading the comments on the altpress.com article, 9 Things Women in Music are Sick of Experiencing, as well as comments on various journals about feminism in relation to male-dominated industries, I have found that—holy hell—dudes love telling us how we should feel! Yes, there are benefits to being a woman. But you are not me, and I am not you, so you don’t know what makes me upset. Don’t tell me I should be excited that I can’t wander the beautiful cities we visit on tour alone at night, that I’m consistently belittled by promoters and security or that you have any idea what it’s like to read about the way your butt looks in jeans in a music review. Last time I checked, jeans were not music.
2. “You’re too much of a girl.” It was a very late night with a very good friend when I was standing in the subway, possibly inebriated, discussing the issues that arose on the last tour and how they still bothered me. He looked at me and told me I was just being too much of a girl. I’m sure if you’re a woman working in the music industry, you’ve heard this countless times. This is problematic in a number of ways, mainly being that I am a girl. Or a woman. Or somewhere in the strange purgatory that exists when you enter your 20s. On tour I am often surrounded by a group of 30 men without a female in sight. I am the other, and many men don’t understand what that feels like. They don’t know what it feels like to sit in your van alone crying and avoiding eye contact with everyone on the tour because someone started the rumor that you were available to any one of them at any time. They don’t know what it feels like to be called the dreaded four-letter S-word because you were a little bit too nice or joked about the same vulgar things they were laughing about five minutes prior. They don’t know what it’s like for someone on the tour to “call dibs” on you when you don’t even know them yet. On the plus side, I can use the ladies bathroom as my own personal dressing room, but that novelty has worn off.
3. “Are you just the merch girl?” There is a certain place reserved in Punk-Rock Hell for people who have asked me if I am just the merch girl, as if running the entire merchandising operation of a band is a lesser job to begin with. I have witnessed promoters go up to the person running our merch, tell him what time he’s playing, give him a wristband, then try to argue with me over whether or not I was a legitimate band member. Quite often I will respond, “I’m just dating someone in the band, please don’t kick me out.”
4. “They’re a gimmick; they just put the girl up front to sell records.” Any time someone asks where the other guys are so they can handle payment at the end of the show; says, “She doesn’t really play guitar”; complains about a backing track and proclaims it’s all a gimmick; and that a woman is upfront purely to sell records with her sex appeal, I want to shake them until their brains turn into scrambled eggs. Did it ever occur to them that maybe the girl is up front because she writes the songs, handles all the business or maybe just likes to sing? And maybe, just maybe the band are simply playing the music they like to play and they are all equals who didn’t give it a second thought.
5. “Did you see what she was wearing?” Fashion is fun, but sometimes you just want to be comfortable. In a D.I.Y. venue in the summer when it’s over 100 degrees and all my male counterparts are wearing shorts and going shirtless, I should be able to wear a pair of shorts without later reading comments about the way my butt looked (good or not), or how I’m sexualizing myself to sell records. I shouldn’t have to feel disgusting and violated because I have a female body and it is in front of you in clothes that don’t always fit right. The truth is, sometimes I’m just tired, I don’t care about what I’m wearing and it’s really, really hot. If it makes me feel good, what business is it of yours?
6. “She writes mean songs about her exes.” My band calls this one being “Taylor Swifted” and while it’s not really offensive, it has severely problematic gender implications. It runs under the assumption that after writing so many songs (which may very well all be about one person), you have had a lot of boyfriends and thusly, a lot of failed relationships. After a certain number of songs about failed relationships (most likely about that one person who hurt you really badly), you may start to hear that all those failed relationships were your fault. You are naggy, clingy, crazy, [insert other female stereotype here]. Meanwhile, you watch an army of your male peers sing about the girls who did them wrong while people raise their hands up and crowd surf. Sometimes a song is just a song.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
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