Tuesday, 8 May 2007


In a male dominated world women have always had a struggle on their hands to get equality. From dying for the vote to making the first steps into men's trousers, literally. We know that the fight for equality has not only helped to path the way for gender but also for ethnic equality too.

Social divisions are still rife in the world and in Britain despite what progress has been made yet some people crusade for justice, fairness and equality against what seems to some to be the complete norm, even if it is heavily biased.


How far does this male domination stretch into the world of music?

It doesn't take much to see how far it is dominated by men just at a quick glance. Bands, producers, label executives, DJ's, promoters, venue and club owners. This part of society, this cultural phenomenon is completely dominated by males.


This will not necessarily be the most objectively written piece as I am going to be drawing a lot from anecdotal experiences. But from a young age I learned to play saxophone. I was about 10 years-old at the time and every other child that was taught a musical instrument was a girl. This carried on into comprehensive school and it wasn't until I was older that I was finally playing alongside boys.

Funnily enough though, for all the bands and orchestras I have played for I have always had a male as the conductor. I've only ever had one female saxophone teacher out of maybe 6 in my career. My GCSE and A level teachers were all male. Yet it seemed to me to be heavily dominated by females from the off.

How then does the disproportionate amount of females not reach the top levels of these distinctly more respectable and high positions of the music profession? A concept known as the 'glass ceiling' tells us that it may be due to the fact that women can see what it is that they want to achieve, but they just can't get to it in a patriarcal society. Although, this is only one theory.

Even now.

Now I am 21 years-old. I am a student. I go out as much as I can. I take pride in my music and I am incredibly passionate about it. But it's seen as something that is not right. There have been times when in a group conversation, the topic will turn to music, and I'd say 99% of the time, unless the people know me well and respect me, if there is men involved I will not have questions directed at me. "Hey Paul, what did you think of the new -blank- album?" I'd sit wided-eyed. Why not me? Instead I'd get questions about trashy TV programmes or things that classically interest females. To which I'd often give a wholly snobby and pissed off answer at have been disallowed to engage in a conversation I'd normally be far more knowlegdable about.

Those 'indie-Cindy's' with their block fringes and their under-skirts that spin round the dance-floors at every indie night I've been to for the past 4-5 years are rearly expected to do more than look the part. In drunken conversation that always seems to take place in toilets that I always manage to start I've never once had a fulfilling conversation about music. It's usually, in fact, I'd hazard a guess at about 8 times out of 10, "What's the name of the band that are on?" or, if something is mentioned about gigs, "Oh, I've never heard of them". I have on one occassion actually met a girl that didn't know who Radiohead were. I promptly, and very rudely as I was drunk, held up my hand as to stop the conversation, spun round and walked out in utter disgust.

This is why I have no female friends.

To have gone to a gig on your own is wrong. But females can go to the hairdresser's on their own, no problem.

Club's need girls to fill the dancefloor and pull pints behind bars but not to state an opinion on anything musically. If a girl is 'musical' she probably isn't, in other people's eyes, she probably just listens to Radio 1 too much. Or maybe she played the flute as a child.

To be in ownership of two things seems to be a dinstinctly dangerous combination: breasts and female genitals; and a vocal opinion on contemporary music culture.

Unless, oh, of course, unless you are on the NME Cool List after it has been accused of androgony and is therefore pushing the 'cool women'.

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