As a woman who works in the music industry, one thing has always been clear to me; women in music are under-appreciated. After reading an article I unfortunately stumbled upon which claimed that ‘women in music are simply just less talented than their male counterparts’, I felt the need to dissect and discuss this naïve and loaded statement. The article asked if ‘we have become too sensitive regarding gender.’
Firstly, let’s take a look at a section of the music industry that brings in massive amounts of capital – the festivals. When you think about it and ask yourself what the most iconic music festivals of all time are, these are probably some of your answers; Isle of Wight, Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds. A notable staple of these festivals is the lack of women on the lineups. In 2017, a study found that 80% of all UK festival headliners that year were men. To put things into a clearer perspective, Reading and Leeds announced their 2021 headliners – no women. Even though Billie Eilish’s 2019 performance at R&L drew one of the biggest crowds in the festival’s history, no women are headlining.
The most inadequate argument when discussing these issues is the idea of there ‘not being enough talented female musicians in the scene.’ If someone who agrees with that view were to open their eyes and expand their horizons, they would realise that there are currently more female musicians than there are male. Female Pop music acts such as Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, Lizzo, and so many more are consistently dominating the charts with every release so the argument that “female music is less popular” is also extremely incorrect.
I think that women are not as respected in the music industry as men because of an ingrained misogyny in the media that doesn’t allow for people to see women as being strong or being pioneers in the music industry. For example, Punk music was built on female influence and when people weren’t appreciating female Punk artists, RiotGrrrl was a genre created to counteract the oppression women constantly face in the industry. Gender equal music festivals are possible, too. Just look at the amount of amazing women on this announcement:
Women are the music industry. Women fight against the prejudice that they are faced with every day in the music industry and they will rise above it if people would lend a hand. Women shouldn’t be kept from opportunities just because of their gender. So please, support your local female and non-binary artists and get their names out there. With a little bit of help, people will begin to see the astounding amount of brilliantly talented musicians they have been missing out on.
So to answer the poorly-written article’s question; No. We haven’t become too sensitive. We just want equality. Is that too much to ask?
Below is a link to an all-female and non-binary playlist to help you explore the world of music many people have been missing out on.