Conor Dawson, Kamikaze Girls
[Photo by: Katie McMillan]
“I've seen no end of patronizing and horrible stuff that she’s had to deal with; stuff that I as a male musician would never have to endure.”
“We’re clearly still fighting a massive battle against sexism in the music industry. I've seen it firsthand playing in a band with Lucinda [Livingstone, vocals/guitar] for eight years. I've seen no end of patronizing and horrible stuff that she’s had to deal with; stuff that I as a male musician would never have to endure.
“We need a massive rethink of how we educate young musicians, especially boys, when they’re growing up. There's an image of ‘the rock star’ and the idea that they get all this female attention. To boys growing up in school—especially those who aren't massively popular—this is a really common reason they get into playing music. It's dangerous, because when you have a young adult that's playing in even a mildly successful band and have a younger audience watching them, they think this is what being in a band is supposed to be about. With better education, we can teach people—especially young men—to be a lot more respectful of their audience and other musicians.
“Is it any wonder that female musicians are put off playing in bands when you have a load of men strutting around pretending to be rock stars because they think that's how they’re meant to act?
“I think we're at a point where we have so many incredible bands with females in, and incredible female musicians and speakers, that they’re really making a space for themselves and demanding to be heard. Especially in the DIY scene, they definitely are being heard—seeing some of the varied and amazing lineups we've been part of at festivals and gigs recently goes to show what a difference is being made. But overall, I still think we have a long way to go as a scene.”
“There are serious double standards from which I benefit and for which my peers who are women suffer.”
“The music industry is a microcosm for our culture at large, particularly with respect to its troubling tendency to prioritize at all costs growing its profit margins at the expense of the mental and physical wellness of artists. While I do believe, on the artist side, the industry is generally more progressive and inclusive than it isn’t (with obvious, notable and visible exceptions), I do think it’s still pretty heavily a boys club, and it’s apparent that there are serious double standards from which I benefit and for which my peers who are women suffer. That goes way up and down the line; I see it most casually in my day to day life when we’re loading in at a show, and the women making the music, running sound or tour managing are mistaken for someone’s girlfriend or assistant. And even when that assumption isn’t made, the tonality is usually markedly different between ‘the boys’ and in ‘mixed company.’ I do think things are moving in a more honest and encouraging direction: There’s more and better dialogue happening, and people—myself included—are always learning, which hopefully results in improved actions and attitudes.”