I’m going to start with a few notes: I really don’t like labeling people, so feminist is not a term I use often. I also keep my thoughts to myself unless I truly trust and respect someone. That being said, I’m going to rant for a minute. Or two. I would apologize ahead of time, but given the current state of (mis)understanding and (non)acceptance that we hear about on a daily basis, I feel the need to share some thoughts. I had a bit of an epiphany a few weeks back during Savages’ overwhelmingly impressive set, and spent a lot of time reflecting afterwards about what I had experienced. So, here you go.
In the past year or two, there has been a hot trend in the music world. Female rock bands (the likes of Bully, Speedy Ortiz, Savages) are getting extra attention because they are “different.” Each band plays high energy, loud rock and roll. That sounds like a pretty typical band description as the garage punk style is back in these days, as well. What makes these female bands stand out has everything to do with how they appear from the outside: that some of these band members are not generally the type of musician that play the fucking guitar like a god. The singular difference for this view is gender. On a weekly basis, I read reviews on the internet hyping up these three hard hitting bands, pointing out that they are girls who can rock. I repeat, not talking about how talented and fun live these bands are, but rather the fact that they have tits and can do that at the same time.
I have some serious issues with this.
For some reason it comes off as a miraculous feat when a female can do something that is not typically feminine or that men usually do. To start, why do some people think playing rock music is outlandish for a woman to be able to do? A woman has just as much ability as a man to play any type of music that she damn well pleases. What does sex have to do with it? As an athlete, I realize there are physically some things that men are more capable of doing but I think that many of those barriers and beliefs have been torn down by now, so this shouldn’t even be a conversation .
What ends up being the headline/major take away from reviews or articles on these bands is that fact that they are able to tear through loud rock and roll and still be girls. Again, why is this even a thing? Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis called out Consequence of Sound for their sexist review of their Forecastle set and she is spitting so much truth I can’t even handle it.
— sadie dupuis (@sad13) July 19, 2016
(Read all of her comments here, because EVERYTHING!)
Sadie Dupuis clearly identifies as many different personas, which is totally normal. She plays loud music, likes to look feminine, and understands that these things absolutely can exist together…why shouldn’t they? Before the Savages show I heard jokes about how the four women must be lesbian because they look a certain androgynous way and play music the way they do. One more time, why is that even a thing?
Why should one gender be able to play any better or different than the other? They’re fucking musicians. Perhaps because I don’t identify as an artistic individual, I think all creators of art are impressive in their vulnerabilities and flat-out abilities. That being said, I have these feelings regardless of what they look like or “should” be good at.
After experiencing Savages in person it was clear that these musicians are unbelievable, and it wasn’t striking to me that they were women. If you haven’t seen them live and like loud rock, check them the fuck out, regardless of the fact that they are women doing it.
***ADDENDUM: I love the Olympics and in watching the outstanding athletes this week, I’ve felt the same way about women athletes as I do about women musicians. Female athletes are the shit because of no one else but themselves. It has to stop. READ THIS.