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148Re: Women & Music

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  • Anna Clare McDuff
    Jun 1, 1998
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      On Sun, 31 May 1998, Oeivind Idsoe wrote:

      > or
      > not it comes from male or female is, for me, not really relevant. Of course
      > wish
      > more women were on the list, as they often represent a different position and
      > view
      > on things altogether, which is very refreshing, but why aren't they here? You
      > mention things being "extremely sexist" as one reason, which contradicts all
      > my
      > mailing-list experiences during the last few years. I've been on lists where
      > women
      > are a definite minority, but this has never been "used against them" and
      > never been harassed in any way (at least not publically (some idiots can only
      > "tough" in private, you know)).

      I was referring more to the "serious" music scene being sexist
      than this list... One of the reasons I love music related mailing lists is
      that I can discuss music without getting all the crap that so often occurs
      in RL situations.... In my experience, a lot of women are put off the
      "serious" scene because they feel really unwelcome, but they love the
      music... So they wouldn't consider subscribing to this list, because
      they think it will just be the same old story....Sad, but thats the
      way it is...Thats the reason why I try to agitate for change! Its just
      *so* offputting going to "serious" shops sometimes I just don't bother....
      And I'm a fifth generation feminist and not exactly a shrinking violet (as
      you may have noticed! ;-)). Its a shame, because I love stuff on the Chain
      Reaction label (Monolake have been on my walkman often recently, and I
      find they make an excellent soundtrack for London Commuting! Fabulous
      stuff... I strongly reccommend their album "Hong Kong"... ambient
      recordings of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese cities morphed into sinous
      graceful techno... ), for example, and its often is hard to find in the
      Mainstream Alternative shops I feel more comfortable in... and yes, I do a
      lot of mail order as well! (much more than I should, considering I'm a
      perpetually broke PhD student;-))

      > > so why do they avoid the "serious" music scene?
      > I have no idea. Perhaps, and with good reason!, they don't like the
      > attitude of "serious musicians" or "serious music listeners", and seldom feel
      > that
      > music is a question of life and death? Some men seem willing to die for their
      > convictions -- "if the rest of the world doesn't listen to Artist X something
      > really, really bad will happen" -- and I don't believe women are buying this.

      I often find pretentious musicians exceptionally hilarious and a
      bottomless source of amusement.... Anyone remember that F.S.O.L. Invisible
      Jukebox? *Still* has me in stitches....:-)

      > > I *well* remember the creep who tried to refuse to
      > > sell me the tuner I wanted on the grounds that it was grey, and therefore
      > > wouldn't colour co-ordinate with my other equipment... Mmmmmm.... I nearly
      > > bit his head off.
      > But, hey, does one creep make us all creeps? I hope not! Some of us *are*
      > you
      > know. Or at least trying to be.

      Yeah, I know.... Its just that these experiences do tend to
      rankle! I try not to be bitter, but after lots of nasty experiences you do
      tend to get a bit defensive, if you know what I mean... Since that awful
      afternoon ( I was really upset by that creep ) I've found a chain
      of retailers in the UK that has a policy of being non-patronising to
      women... they're called Richer Sounds, if anyone's interested, and I now
      buy all my hi-fi equipment there... Its *so* refreshing to walk into one
      of their shops and not be treated like a half wit! THey're very good value
      as well... *and* they do second hand stuff as well as new.... Worth
      looking out for!

      > > And I bet you that if
      > > the techno-bods got over their deep fear of women (having two x
      > > chromosomes isn't contagious, you know...) you would start to see many
      > > more women happily fiddling with composition software....
      > You are saying "...the techno bods...", and then "...you would start...", so I
      > guess
      > you are including me in your category of "women-hating/fearing" men, which

      No I wasn't actually, though that sentence is rather ambiguous,
      sorry. The grammatically correct word in the phrase "you would start" is
      "ONE would start" but like most Brits, I hate using the pronoun ONE
      because it makes you/one sound like an inbred halfwitted aristocrat! One
      has no wish to do Prince Charles impersonations... Serious Techno Bods in
      general *do* have a serious problem with women getting into their music,
      I've noticed, but, of course there are always exceptions.... I'm glad to
      have met one! (<giggle> there's that word again, isn't the English
      Language awful!)

      > Because if things were *that* explicit, they probably wouldn't be so difficult
      > to
      > solve. Power operates in mysterious ways (like Foucault has shown), and
      > more
      > often on a micro-level rather than operating through a simple "No!".
      > (How about those wonderful chaps, Deleuze&Guattari: "Woman: we all have to
      > become
      > that, whether we are male or female." (see pages 469-471 in A Thousand
      > for
      > the specifics concerning women (and non-whites) and the "Apparatus Of Capture"
      > --
      > it's brilliant).

      I agree there are many subtlties in the interaction between
      genders, things are never black or white, but I also argue that there are
      many instances of unsubtle oppression. A century of campaigning in the
      West has meant that these are less common than they once were, but there
      are still plenty to go around! Things have improved for female
      musicians/composers... they now get merely ignored, which is a lot better
      than being forbidden to compose or having to put your works out under a
      man's name, but it still sucks....

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