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Musogyny: A Fad for Females?

Everyone knows it’s a man’s world out there (thanks James Brown (⊙﹏⊙✿)), but there is none more so than the big bad world of music. From Miley’s twerking to Sinead’s slut shaming, these last months have seen an upward trajectory in the debate around gender issues within music.

Rest assured that we here at Notion will be keep a keen eye on all things sexism. And there may even be some naming and shaming along the way…

Whenever an inequality is set in the direction of an even keel, there will always be an element of positive discrimination as society rushes to right all its wrongs, tumbling clumsily over itself in the process.

With feminism coming back into the conscience of popular culture, helped along by a guilt-ridden media and the sexual provocation of celebrities, it has pushed itself through some new boundaries and is slowly seeping its way into the mainstream through opinion pieces, mouthy commentators, and the loss of stigma attached to the ‘f’ word.

Whilst there are huge mountains to bring down before we achieve complete gender equality, there has been some slow progress, as the music world has debated and minced over all its criticisms. Surprisingly though, through some ironic twist, it is becoming increasingly popular to play the feminist card.

A point well made by Electronic music website, Thump, who this week pleaded that 2014 should not be the year women DJs become a novelty, as bodies like BBC Radio 1 and American festival HARD both announced line-ups filled completely by women.

Writer Lauren Martin warns that all female events like these could eventually isolate female DJs from their male counterparts, furthering the uphill struggle to be taken seriously. When you look across the board though, this isn’t just something unique to dance music; it’s spreading.

For example, beauty magazine Marie Claire this month published an article celebrating ‘The Women Who Are Ruling the Music Industry Right Now’ alongside Gigwise, who produced an ’11 Female Artists Who Will Own 2014’ piece. Hell, Beyoncé even has her own all-female backing band, The Suga Mumas.

The dialogue opened by feminists about a lack of female representation has gone into overdrive with this female-centric surge. Whilst promotion of strong women is definitely a positive for music, females are increasingly becoming separate entities from men; which wasn’t the aim in the first place.

Separate bills and lists may be a good way to push females into the limelight in the short term, and maybe it will kick-start some careers (which in turn may influence young female audiences to take up music), but they do nothing to change ingrained sexism immediately. Instead, why not tackle the issue differently by incorporating women into the wider music industry, instead of giving them their own club?

Pop music being perhaps the exception, there are indeed less women DJs, less female band managers, less female musicians across the board, and way more agro for those that are succeeding. There can be a fine line between uniting females and pigeon holing them as one—and surely we don’t need further alienation.

Line-ups and jobs shouldn’t be about gender or positive discrimination for being female; it should be about the talent that many women… and men have in abundance. It wouldn’t be okay to consider an exclusively black line-up, or celebrate the twenty best homosexuals in music, but it is okay and even fashionable to do so with women.

Sure, give women a leg up; but only if they are good and not simply because they’re a girl. It may sound idealistic but it’s worked for orchestras who blind auditioned their musicians so as not to discriminate men from women. It turned out women can hold their own against the men.

- Sarah Joy

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