*This article contains discussion about sexual assault.
On August 30, AP published a piece titled “14 musicians discuss sexism in the music industry.” We initially wanted to feature the views of both women and men in the article—albeit with a larger proportion of female artists, as it is overwhelmingly women who experience sexism—but despite reaching out to some male artists at the time, our approaches were either declined, or the acts were unable to give us a quote before the set deadline. Consequently, we decided to move forward with a piece that just featured the thoughts of female musicians.
However, when speaking to the artists featured, several of our interviewees highlighted how important it is for men to speak out on the issue of sexism. Jess Branney of Peaness suggested that “we should be asking the bands and artists who don't think about gender inequalities and try to reach out to their audiences,” while Petrol Girls’ Ren Aldridge highlighted the importance of Architects’ Sam Carter using his position to speak out against sexual violence at shows.
With this in mind, we decided to try reaching out to male artists again, asking them what they thought of the article and if the amount of women speaking about their experiences of sexism in the music industry was a cause for concern. Thirteen responded, and this is what they had to say…
Ben Aldham, Adam Doveston, Jason Doveston, Mikey Lord and Jarlath McCaughery, As Sirens Fall
“If you're a woman in a band, keep going. Tear down every bastard that stands in your way. We're with you.”
“As males, it's difficult for us to imagine what it must feel like to be a woman in music. We do, however, have a lot of female friends involved in the industry. It's disgusting that this still needs to be talked about in 2017. There is sexism prevalent in so many industries, and it's heartbreaking that the music industry—a field that is meant to be all about equality and inclusion—is one of them.
“There are some incredible bands out there that include or consist solely of women, such as Haim, Vukovi, Marmozets, Daughter and Wolf Alice. And yet, it definitely seems to be more difficult for female artists than it is for males to find their names on festival lineups. Young women should be encouraged to make music and art and to take it as far as they can. There's a perspective that rock music is a 'man’s world,' and that could be off-putting to young women looking to enter the industry.—and that needs to change.
“We've had problems in the past with certain venues and security teams not allowing women who work with us backstage or into the pit, even if they had the correct passes, because they were women. It isn't exclusively a problem for female musicians, either—a lot of the women we know who work behind the scenes often feel they aren't taken seriously.
“This shouldn't be a discussion we are needing to have. Art is art. Music is music. Gender should not come into it, but for some reason it's still a problem that needs to be addressed.
“Even in local music scenes, there's still a disproportionate representation of gender. As with all problems of this nature, the solution is found in conversation, communication and education. Call out sexism when you see it. Support all artists and keep the music alive. If you're a woman in a band, keep going. Tear down every bastard that stands in your way. We're with you.”
Enrico Bertoni, Halflives
“There should be no surprise in seeing a successful businesswoman in the music industry or a singer that’s appreciated for being a great singer and not because she’s good looking.”
“Sexism is something that I always find hard to understand. It’s difficult for me to get how this kind of mentality can still stick around and poison people’s brains—it just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve always been used to working with female musicians, managers and booking agents; Linda [Battilani, vocals] and our manager, Margaux [Sachse], are two of the most hard-working, motivated and talented people I’ve ever known. And I could go on with a long list of others.
“It would be great to stop hearing things like, ‘For a woman, she’s a really good manager.’ There should be no surprise in seeing a successful businesswoman in the music industry or a singer that’s appreciated for being a great singer and not because she’s good looking.
I’ve always shared my touring experiences with a lot of female musicians and crew members (tour managers, photographers, merch sellers), and there was one occasion in the past where I heard gross comments and gestures addressed to the singer of a band I was touring with. I felt so embarrassed by the situation. It was the first and only time I’ve witnessed it, but it was enough to have it clear in mind how it’s easy to turn a great night of fun, music and passion into something wrong and unfair.
“I feel we’re taking some steps forward, but it’s still a long way to a real world of equal opportunities.”