Tag Archives: musicians

Gender and power in the music industry

Rae Harvey was asked to write about the discrepancy between men and women and why there weren’t more women in the AMID Power 50 list. 

She doesn’t think there is one. 

Looking at my inbox at this very moment I have 23 emails waiting for a response. 12 are from males and 11 are from females. I don’t see a massive discrepancy there!

Harvey says women and men are fundamentally different, which changes the way they present themselves. She says men are more egotistical and so put themselves forward more easily and confidently than women, while women are better organised and prepare better. 

Does this mean I think men should be at the forefront in recognition whilst the women take a back seat? Of course not. Looking at this AMID Power 50 I see some people I don’t consider powerful, but do consider influential. I see some people I don’t consider powerful in Australia, but powerful internationally.  And of course I see people I think should be higher or lower. It’s a controversial list by anyone’s standards.

The list can be found here. Do you think she has a point? 



Shit people say to Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts

Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts wrote about what she hates experiencing in the music industry. Along similar lines to the last post on our blog, she deals with frustrating phrases, tones and treatments she has had to put up with. 

Being told that she shouldn’t be so upset at these things is the first one she mentions. Sick of being told how she should about things by men, Loveland says:

“Don’t tell me I should be excited that I can’t wander the beautiful cities we visit on tour alone at night, that I’m consistently belittled by promoters and security or that you have any idea what it’s like to read about the way your butt looks in jeans in a music review.”

Being told you’re “too much of a girl” to handle things, constantly being asked if you’re “just the merch girl”, or being accused of being a gimmick your band uses to sell records are all up there as well on Loveland’s list of crappy gender-related jibes.

The “did you see what she was wearing” line rates a mention as an irrelevant preoccupation people have with assessment of female musicians. 

“I should be able to wear a pair of shorts without later reading comments about the way my butt looked (good or not), or how I’m sexualizing myself to sell records. I shouldn’t have to feel disgusting and violated because I have a female body and it is in front of you in clothes that don’t always fit right.”

To sum up, Loveland acknowledges the sexism is not the biggest part of her musical experience, but equally, that it’s worth mentioning. 

“Someone’s weight or ill-fitting gown has nothing to do with her worth, and women are put in the unfortunate position of needing to be 1,000 things at once. We must be sexy but not too sexy, nice but not too nice, feminine in this mysterious, ever-changing way and ostensibly agreeable. When we are not, we are divas and probably menstruating, or worse—our love for makeup, frilly dresses and radio pop has lead people to believe we are ditsy, vapid individuals.”

What are your thoughts?

“Older” women in music

Women are kicked out of music when they get older. 

That isn’t an opinion. 

Of course, it’s not 100% of the time, but it’s so damn close that we’re loathe to admit that. 

Think about the women over 40 years old that you can name who are still making music that tops pop charts. How many are there? 

Now think about the men, or male-dominated bands. 

If there’s not a distinct imbalance, we’re worried you’re not thinking hard enough. Or thinking too hard, perhaps. 

A recent post on thelavalizard.com explored this issue. 

Using Mariah Carey as an example, the article showed the progression from young, dominating star to laughable has-been.

“After being introduced to consumers as the innocent, MOR (middle of the road) girl next door in the early 1990s, the diva was reborn in 1997 as a sexy butterfly with a point to prove to her then estranged husband, Tommy Mottola.

“Sadly, Carey’s experienced several personal and professional upsets at the turn of the century as her career seemingly came to an end. In addition to being labelled insane – her Hello Kitty obsession clearly didn’t help her cause – the public’s interest in her sex appeal began to fade and there were several calls by critics for her to cover her lovely lady lumps. What else coincidentally happened around that time? Carey turned 30.”

The article does well to pinpoint the issue as it appears today: “…music is a product, women are used to sell those products and the primary target audience for media companies are men.”

The recent obsession with image and visual stimulation has meant that women are no longer seen as talent, and are now seen as bodies. The ageist agenda of music and the mainstream music industry means that women past 40 aren’t competitive. They’re ignored. They’re clowns. They’re done. 

What do you think? Are women less marketable in music once they get older? Do you see a difference between men and women in visual value? Are you convinced?




Weighing in on Miley Cyrus

Recently, Miley Cyrus has been making all kinds of news. It began with her weird VMA stunts, which were criticized for being racist (and ridiculous). Her Wrecking Ball video was equally uproarious and people everywhere felt the need to weigh in. Sinead O’Connor was one of those people. 

She wrote an open letter to Cyrus, stating that she felt it was sad that a teen icon would be signalling to young women that it is ‘okay to prostitute’ themselves. While that may be a bit of a stretch of the truth, and Cyrus’ behaviour arguably does nothing of the sort, O’Connor’s motherly tone conveyed the idea that her heart was in the right place. 

Cyrus spat back that she didn’t have time to respond because she was too busy hosting TV shows and performing. She also posted a screenshot of O’Connor’s Twitter posts, suggesting that she was crazy and, therefore, not worth listening to.

O’Connor became more cutting in her critique (understandably) and told Cyrus she would be there when the young singer ended up in rehab or a psych ward. 

Somewhere amongst the angst, Amanda Palmer also added her two cents in an open letter to O’Connor, defending Cyrus’ choice of representation and suggesting that Cyrus had control over her label, and not the other way around.

The whole sorry affair can be found on the SMH website. The entire situation arguable came about through women’s concern for or judgement of one another in music and dance. Is this a problem? Is this an instance of internalized misogyny? Should it ever have happened?