Saturday, 20 December 2008

Girls On Top?


Slaves To Synth Guardian article

I stumbled across this piece on female electro artists on the Guardian website (posted 17-12-08), but felt it begs the question, why is it that women and men are still segregated in terms of music? As Caroline Sullivan spouts on about:

"this time the hottest prospects are women"

"They have pretty much nothing in common with the male guitar groups who are spending the final weeks of 2008 watching their much-anticipated new albums fail to sell"

"The male guitar band is dead. The future is electro, female, DIY - and very in your face."

... you have to ask WHY it always has to be male vs. female, as though one gender always has to beat or be better than the other one. Kings Of Leon have had one of the biggest selling records on 2008... are you still sure that the male guitar band is dead, Carol? Plus there are loads of talented male musicians that are all for equality - why should male musicians be demonised - you can happily declare love for a female musician without having to denounce men to prove your point!

All the women mentioned in the article are successful and may rely more heavily on synths than a 4 piece setup, but why lump all of these artists in the same group? Because they share a gender, which apparently makes it a lot easier to dream up a 'scene' that doesn't really exist; to join the dots between acts that aren't dissimilar, but that also should be considered in their own right, rather than linked by lady parts. It's lazy journalism, and it's dangerous. Music shouldn't be about gender, it should be about MUSIC; why is gender still such an issue? It's outdated and an excuse for people who know very little to write as though they are filling us in on a secret underground movement that is actually total bullshit.

La Roux, a so-called "cooler Sophie Ellis-Bextor" states: "Girls look a bit stupid playing electric guitar and drums. It suits blokes better. But girls look wicked playing synths. When they play drums or whatever, it looks a bit butch. I hope that doesn't sound anti-feminist."

Uh huh. Well, all female musicians are concerned with is "looking wicked", after all. Who exactly is La Roux basing this close-minded view on? Everyone who picks up a guitar plays it their own way, and how exactly does playing a guitar/drums though not having a penis make the person look "stupid"? Ladyhawke, who also gets a mention in the article, plays guitar, and she certainly doesn't look 'stupid'. If anything, she looks incredible; majestic, powerful, ridiculously cool and not at all 'butch'.
For someone apparently making such forward thinking music, it's odd that her mindset is so dated.

Let's stop all this men vs women crap, as long as the music's good, it shouldn't make a difference what the gender the person behind the instrument is.

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