Author Archives: Rocheen

About Rocheen

I'm a journalism student, jewellery designer, etsy & DIY addict, and get easily distracted by shiny things.

Who Needs Feminism?

Who needs feminism? The music industry does for starters. The launch of the brilliant new blog ‘Who Needs Feminism?’ Has sparked women to hold up pieces of paper to share why they need feminism. These sum up why we started this cause:

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tumblr_mewc7ojkoY1rmnjg6o1_500We need feminism because there is no such thing as ‘Blurred Lines’, no means no.

We need feminism because women should be treated as equals in music videos not play things.

We need feminism because women in music should be judged on their talent and not just their sex appeal.

Why do you need feminism? Tell us below.

-Rocheen.

Sick of Sexism: Female Artists Speak Out

It’s been an interesting couple months for sexism in the music industry. One of the trends we’ve been seeing of late is female musicians from various genres of music speaking out against sexism and sharing their personal stories. We’ve already commented on ex-teen star Charlotte Church’s comments (check out our blog post for details) and how she didn’t have control over her image. Haley Williams who is the lead singer of Paramore has also spoken out about the way she’s been treated as a lesser part of the group or the token female singer. Chvurches has started the discussion and we’re glad to see the conversation doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon. 

 All female Aussie band Stonefield told Tonedeaf about how they experienced inappropriate remarks when they used to go to largely male dominated rock competitions. 

“I definitely notice there are comments that probably wouldn’t be said about male bands. Just inappropriate things with like way older men saying,” Findlay takes on the voice of a gruff drunkard, “Can I get your number? You’re sexy.” 

The band said they simply ignore the remarks as something they have to deal with in the industry. But why should they?

 

Gabriella Climi, the Melbourne artist best known for her track ‘Nothing Sweet About Me’ told the Independent about how her record company decided to sex up her image for her second album with lyrics such as ‘I love it with your hands all over me’ and ‘superhot ride’. She appeared topless in FHM, something that she regrets. 

 ”At the time it was sold to me that I would have approval over all shots, but it turns out we didn’t. I was in Australia at the time it came out and I just bawled my eyes out. I did the shoot, so I can’t really blame anyone else for doing it.

“There’s nothing wrong with women celebrating their bodies, but I was so upset because I didn’t want to do it,” she adds. “I’ve had some really great men working on my campaigns but sometimes they can get really carried away.”

The pressure to be sexy and something she wasn’t came to a head when she suffered from an anxiety attack as she was about to go on stage for a sports event dressed as a sexy alien. 

“I had to perform ”On a Mission“ dressed as a sexy alien and I thought, ‘this is so far from where I wanted to be, how did I end up doing this?’” she says. “I remember bawling my eyes out.

Bursting onto the scene with her first album when she was just a teenager, Climi describes how for her second album the male record executives took control, and her music wasn’t being marketed the way she had anticipated. She said that it was so over sexualised, not true to herself, and was not what she wanted. It made her so upset to the point that she almost quit. 

This pressure to be sexy, and female artists being judged on their looks rather than their talent seems like it’s sadly normal in the music industry if Stonefield’s and Climi’s accounts are anything to go by. However if artists like these keep speaking out maybe we’ll see a change in the way female artists are oversexualised, and convinced into uncomfortable situations by record industry professionals.

 

What do you think about female artists speaking out?

 

Do you think it might start to change the way women are treated in the industry?

 

-Rocheen. 

Sex, Power, and Music

Warning: lyrics and content may offend.

This is a compilation of lyrics I’ve taken from various artists on the current Billboard hottest 100 chart. It’s all about sex, power, and objectification. As far as I can gather women are ‘bitches’, ‘hoes’, and are just there to, excuse my crude language, shake it, suck it, or snort it. Women are portrayed graphically as sex objects to be used and then left. They are called derogatory names like hoes, and are mostly seen as the less powerful sex. Their appearance is commented on constantly especially in a sexual manner.

Yes I know women objectify themselves. Yes I know that Britney Spears has a song in the charts titled Work B**ch. Yes I know that sex is a massive part of the industry because it sells. Yes I know that this represents a select songs out of the list. Yes I’m sure I’ll get called prudish (again) in the comments section. But is it so wrong to expect better out of male artists in 2013?

What do you think of the lyrics?

-Rocheen

The Gender Gap In Music

Is the music industry sexist?

This is the question posed by Kirsty Brown in an article published on the Women’s Agenda website. Discussing how the ARIA’s only have 18 female nominations out of 27 categories excluding the best international artists sector. How is it that in 2013 there is so little representation of women being nominated for accolades in the music industry?

‘So while the ARIA Awards shine a light on the discrepancy between male and female performing artists, they also reflect a broader industry in which women are still dramatically under-represented in crucial, taste-making roles.’

Brown discusses how this gap continues in most areas of the music industry with music producing roles being the most under represented. In terms of air time female artists receive, I was not surprised to learn that international pop acts are dominating. However it was the indie scene that took me by surprise. With males dominating 71% of the airwaves on alternative radio station Triple J, it’s not hard to see how females aren’t getting ARIA nominations.

Solutions to these problems that Brown brings up include quotas of female content, and more industry bodies representing women. But will this fix the problem or just create more? Quotas could lead to resentment, and accusations that women are only getting the airtime because of a requirement rather than talent. Like Brown I think they just need to recognise and address the problem.

‘I genuinely do not think it is that hard for the industry to look beyond using the same men for every conference, award ceremony, radio playlist and event.’

There are so many talented women in the music industry, and it’s about time they were recognised with awards, promotions, and air time. At least discussing the issue with cold hard facts will get the conversation started.

Are you a woman working in a male dominated music industry like music, and want to know what your what your wage would be like if you were a man? Check out this pay gap calculator on Women’s Agenda:

http://www.womensagenda.com.au/

Do you have any ideas on how to help fix this gender gap in the music industry?

-Rocheen

Pick of the Parody Videos

What if men were treated the women are in music videos? Women are paraded around as play things, seen as body parts, and blatantly over sexualised and objectified. As mentioned in a previous post parody videos are a great way to get the message that misogyny in music is not okay. I’ve already shared the amazing video by a New Zealand law revue group parodying the song ‘Blurred Lines’. With lyrics like:

‘We ain’t good girls/ We are scholastic,
Smart and sarcastic/ Not fucking plastic.
Listen mankind! / If you wanna get nasty,
Just don’t harass me: You can’t just grab me/That’s a sex crime!’

The group has cleverly changed the lyrics and elements of the music video to get their point across. With videos reaching 100,000s they are great way to spread the message of equality in a creative way. These are my pick of some great videos that show how effective a medium parody can be to get a message across to such a wide audience on YouTube, and other outlets.

These videos show that messages of equality can be powerful in the form of parody:

Using Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, this parody video created by the Women’s Party honours the women that fought for the right to vote in 1920 in the USA.

Taking off Taylor Swift’s 22, this video has over 150,000 views on YouTube. The MS Foundation for women used this as an outlet to express their frustration at the 22 men who voted against a violence against women bill in the U.S.A senate.

Any other great parody videos that fight for equality that you know of?

Do you think it’s an effective way to reach a large audience with your message?

Love to hear your thoughts!

-Rocheen

 

 

 

How To Complain About Misogynist Music

When I was 7 I wrote to Kelloggs complaining that there weren’t enough female characters on their cereal boxes after wondering why Snap Crackle and Pop from the Rice Bubbles pack were all boys. Admittedly, all it got me was some free Simpson water pistol style toys that they were promoting and a letter in the mail, however it felt good to voice my concerns. A feminist from a young age, a thought entered my (now damp thanks to the water pistols and my little brother) head: I wonder what they would do if it wasn’t just me that complained? Would they put a girl character on the front? Years later and it feels like I’m fighting the same battle, only this time with the music industry.

End Violence Against Women has recently launched a campaign challenging sexist and racist music videos. Joining forced with Imkaan and Object, this post outlines what they want to achieve and how you can help complain about sexist and racist music in various ways. This campaign has, unfortunately resulted in criticism with people crying censorship. However it does have some great ideas on how ordinary people can fight misogyny in the music industry. Therefore I’d like to build on the good parts of their post, and add some of my own.

How to Complain About Misogynist Music:

1. Twitter, Facebook, & Blogging

“Tell them how the videos make you feel, and let them know that you’d be more likely to buy their music in future if they change the way they portray women.” I definitely agree with EVAW on this front. Don’t be shy to tell artists and record companies how you feel about their music,  on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Blog, tweet, share. Be loud & stand your ground as the more complaints they get the more they’ll have to take notice.

2. Parody Videos & Comedy

Humour is always a good way to diffuse a situation, and get your point across. As many budding passionate comedians racking up the views on YouTube have learnt, parody videos are the way to go. Why? It allows a creative way of showing the world that the objectification of women in these videos is so completely ludicrous, and sexist that the musicians that are creating them are a joke. Reducing a musicians career to a laughingstock (ala Sarah Palin & SNL but in music) means that maybe they’ll think again when making their next album or music video.

3. Protest Signs & Traditional Media

Have you ever seen those masses of groups outside morning  talk shows with protest signs? If you live near a talk show studio, like the Sunrise one at Martin Place here in Sydney, and you know a misogynist musician will be playing on their show make some creative signs, grab some passionate friends, and protest. You’ll get televised to a large audience and more often than not the hosts come outside and interview people. Protest outside the offices of the record company, protest outside a musicians concert, or anywhere they will be. Just be sure to email a few journalists to come get some exposure! The more you get the conversation started, and make the record execs feel under pressure; the more likely they are to rethink their choices.

Oh and just one more:

4. Don’t buy their music. 

 

Any more ideas?

-Rocheen.