Last week, I received a message from my lovely friend Katie Thompson, who linked me to a post made by Amanda Palmer, in which she makes fun of an email received from her agent where a festival booker is unsure of booking both Amanda and Regina Spektor – since they both
have vaginas and play piano.
“I am tempted to ask if they have the same problem when they are confronted with two bands who BOTH contain men playing guitar” she says.
This is a dynamic that has irked (good word) me for some time, harking back to when my band were a baby trying to break on to the scene, and we were told we wouldn’t be able to break-through because it was ‘taking the piss’ of Paramore.
Though it was implied, it’s actually fucking true: there is no way there can be more than one pop-rock band fronted by a white girl at any given time.
If you hadn’t caught the memo, seemingly there isn’t allowed to be any pop-rock bands fronted by non-white girls at all…
There can’t be more than one woman with one particular musical skill set (i.e. playing piano. Or singing. Or playing guitar. Or having… hair) or hell will freeze over.
The apocalypse will be brought upon us.
Or even worse; Donald Trump will win the US election.
Dude. Jason Derulo sounds like The 1975 sounds like Chris Brown sounds like Joe Jonas sounds like Justin Timberlake. But we don’t have a shot ‘coz we sounded a bit like Paramore?
But Amanda Palmer potentially can’t be booked for a kick-ass show because Regina Spektors already on the bill?
I’m also recalling Keane, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay all being allowed to co-exist and sound like the exact same melancholic piano driven pop rock at once…
Female rock critic Evelyn McDonnell says in this article, “The men of power who are in this industry have this internalized, institutionalized sexism. They see men as having economic power and therefore get billed [over women].”
But I’m not convinced that’s the only factor.
I think it’s also that women in mildly similar genres or using similar instruments are simply not allowed to successfully co-exist in the psyche of people on planet earth.
Case in point: have you EVER IN UR LIFE watched a female-fronted, marginally pop, rock band on youtube and then read the comments? (This goes for other genres, but this one is relevant 2 my experiences)
Pretty sure you just described a band that actually sounds nothing like Paramore. Huh.
Paramore should sound like not-Paramore!!!!!!! Makes total sense.
Again, just cause there is a woman singing, doesn’t mean it sounds like Paramore.
Believe it or not – i found this one on a Garbage music video.
On one of their songs from the 90s.
These two were found on the same video…
Ohhh I didn’t realise that’s how they got famous – I totally thought it was because they write really great pop songs and work fucking hard! Thanks for your insight. (Okay this one is a bit off topic but…)
And just because it looks like my blog is turning in to a “Emma loves Julia Deans a lot” fest, here’s the woman herself weighing in on the topic an article about Fur Patrol a few weeks back;
So it seems we can only handle one woman doing one particular thing at a time.
Christ on a bike!