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Boys Against Girls Against the Brisbane Street Press – part 2

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by Justin Edwards

The long overdue second part of this series. 

In the first part I looked at the contributors and full-time staff named in the masthead of each of Brisbane’s four weekly street press publications – Rave, Time Off, Scene, 3D World – in the issue of the paper that was published in the week commencing 31 January 2011, and split them up into male contributors and female contributors. The names in the mastheads showed that approximately 67 per cent of the contributors writing for Brisbane’s weekly street press are male and 33 per cent are female, although there were notable differences when each publication was looked separately. There were some difficulties in deciding whether a contributor was male or female, although hopefully this wasn’t too significant.

For the second part of this feature I want to look at the content of each of the four publications in more detail and see how it comparesw to the breakdown of male and female contributors shown in the mastheads.

When I originally started thinking about looking at this I had a single week’s Brisbane street press to hand. Then I realised that I hadn’t done any recycling for a couple of weeks so it became three weeks’ worth of papers. Then a couple more passed by and we were up to five issues of each magazine (from the week commencing 24 January to the week commencing 21 February). Almost another two months have now gone by since I did the analysis, but five is as good a number as any.  Plus, if I don’t finish this now, I never will.  Taking out the weeks over Christmas and New Year when street press doesn’t get published, five issues is around 10 per cent of the year and a good enough sample to be considered representative.

Here’s what I did (continued overleaf): 

Pages: 1 2 3 4

9 Responses to Boys Against Girls Against the Brisbane Street Press – part 2

  1. Darragh April 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I could be wrong and it’s been a while since I read Time Off, but I do recall their reviews being ‘longer’ in terms of word length. Inevitably that will mean less space for reviews.

    Otherwise, interesting article for someone who writes for streetpress (me). I suspect your initial conclusion is correct, Justin. There is no overt denial of opportunity.

    Tthough I suspect Everett might correct me, but even while there are quite a few females listed on Collapse Board it does seem to me that there are more males contributing more regularly (I haven’t counted). That is despite ET trying to get more female writers.

  2. BC April 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    My impression is that these gender imbalances might be turning women away from wanting to write for magazines where the staff are mostly male and where they will undoubtedly be pigeonholed into covering a certain kind of music. Here’s a quote from someone who used to write for pitchfork: “(…) they’re totally blindly prejudiced against women and POC, they always assigned me the “girl” stuff like Rihanna, which I obviously actually totally love, but they don’t take it seriously but they love any dumb garage rock band of 15 year old southern boys.” I think its actually beginning to enforce a kind of gender segregation. I don’t know how this compares to Australia per se, but I recently became a part of an online collective online space (of people mostly UK based) to discuss music together because all of us are tired of the ways major music publications (like the wire, pitchfork) have an extreme gender imbalance in both the music they cover and who is covering it. Speaking for myself, I completely stopped writing about music (and going to shows) because the spaces (for writing and watching bands) were mostly so male-dominated. I don’t think these things are intentional, but I do think they are thoughtless.

  3. Everett True April 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Darragh, that’s because – in keeping with every other editor working for music magazines, print and online – I refuse to print shit from female writers, only male.

  4. Shan Welham April 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    “Maybe females reviewers are put off by the thought of the ‘lifestyle’ – going out night after night, waiting around for most of the night for the changes between bands, late nights due to headline bands playing their sets really late, needing to get up for work the next day – and generally have better things to do with their evenings?”

    Ah, not for this lass. That was exactly WHY I did it. Catharsis. When I stopped doing it and had to spend my evenings arranging it for everyone else, that’s when the love (and the writing) withered and died.

  5. Hannah Golightly April 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    If you’ve ever seen these HOW MANY OF THE TOP 100 FILMS / BOOKS HAVE YOU SEEN / READ lists doing the rounds on facebook, then if you’re not too socialised you will notice that in the top 100 films of all time list only (I think I counted) 4 of these films was a story told from the female’s point of view. There was not a single film on that list that could be described as a classic chick flick… but there were several that I would describe as dick flicks (aka a film that caters exclusively to the male psyche). A bit lopsided? I think so! Oh yeah and one of the female perspectives was a child’s… which I’d say puts it in a different category of appeal. A male friend suggested that it was because more men watch films than women… and I disagreed in theory, but statistically that’s the demographic of cinema goers in the UK… but then again, with 96% of films telling male orientated stories, why wouldn’t the majority of cinema goers be male? If cinemas played mostly chick flicks, that statistic would rapidly change.

    So back to music… I am sure that a similar thing is going on. Male perspective songs, played by males, for males to relate to- why wouldn’t it be a male dominated domain?

    In fact it is so deep rooted in societies across the western world and beyond, that you really have to stop to consider it in order to notice. It is so normal that we can assume and take for granted that that is just the way things are. But why? It’s an important question.

    I like male-centric music. Most of the music I listen to fits this criteria. Though most of the music I buy and put into my CD player (old school I know) expresses the voice of female experience. I think it’s important that more such music gets heard. I was once at a gig and it dawned on me that the males in the audience were experiencing something different to the females. I realised that for the males, they were engaging in the band and the music from the position of kindred spirits, camaraderie and respectful admiration. They were sharing on a different level. As a female, I was listening to a male perspective and looking to see how fit the band were, but not so much relating directly to the band themselves.

    That’s when I knew the specialness of listening to a girl band. They were singing about the female experience, in some ways, my own experience of life and there is strength in that.

    I now write for collapse board.

  6. Darragh April 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Hannah Golightly – interesting comment, makes me think of a question not explicitly asked in Justin’s peice. Is there a gendered approach to music criticism? i.e how does male and female approaches differ? If one was to ‘test’ criticism, without knowing genders, could a person pick out which reviews are done by females and which by males?

    I’ve just thought of an article I can write 🙂

  7. Hannah Golightly April 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

    There is deffo a gendered approach, that’s only natural. The only way to counter the gender bias is to have both genders writing and making the music and a cross section of male writers/female musicians and vice versa to get a balanced view. Or perhaps all review should come with a disclaimer.

    p.s. If you can find me a review from mainstream music press that features a female musician and that only talks about the music not her sexual attractiveness (and that does not compare her to Blondie if she is a) Blonde or b)Indie/Punk) then I will be seriously impressed at the time you put in searching!

    It’s as if a lot of reviewers give the gig marks out of 5* for the music and performance… and the females might as well be given marks out of 5* for fuckability. The reviewers should fess up and award points and reveal themselves.

  8. Darragh April 12, 2011 at 11:06 am

    🙂 Are we not also missing the transgendered music POV as well?

  9. Everett True April 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    (from Facebook)

    White Hotel likes this.

    Beth Capper
    I love all these articles you keep on running (not because I think its awesome men overtake women in almost every cultural field but because its nice that someone who isn’t female is going out of their way to cover this stuff.)

    Ng Taylor
    I’ll refrain from making a very sexist comment. But Im right.

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