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Everett True and the Gender Obsession

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By Steven Wright

Editor’s note: A reader emailed me this out of the blue about some of the stuff I’ve been posting on Facebook. Figured it was worth reprinting here, so … here it is.

What is it about men and rock music? It really puzzles me. Why aren’t there more men making good music? Are they just not as interested?

This is the latest in an ongoing chain of observations made by Everett True on his Facebook page and on his website, Collapse Board. In fact, it can seem at times that he uses any opportunity to make jibes at the state of ‘modern male music’. While I understand that True is deliberately provocative (mostly for the better, I might add), this practice has become a major source of irritation for me. Why? Here are three problems I have with this latest statement:

  1. I think it is unnecessary to make such frequent, definite distinctions between men and women. It has always annoyed me when press releases have talked up the fact that a certain band is “all girls” (or worse: “full of innocent feminine charm”). Marketing on the basis of gender is discriminatory, and consuming on this basis is too. Of course, that decision is up to the individual listener. But when said listener begins broadcasting this to hundreds of people on a regular basis, I have a little bit of a problem with it. [Note: Don’t play the “it’s just a descriptive term” card in reply to this comment. There is as much variation within (for example) women’s voices as there is between men’s and women’s generally. Timbre, pitch, volume, style, range, etc, etc are all independent of gender, and surely just as important.]
  2. I’m not advocating a complete gender-blindness. There are experiences (among them, biology) common to most women, and others common to most men. And of course, it is probably impossible to talk about music, or about any part of life, without reference to these things on occasion. Bearing this in mind, I think True’s generalised assertions are saying far more about him than anything else .While he would never claim to be an objective authority on music, he very nearly writes off thousands of bands based on gender. Yes, he does say that there are good male musicians/bands (ET quote: “the exception not the rule”). But it feels to me like they nearly have to prove themselves worthy of consideration, while their female counterparts have a head start. I wonder how many women would appreciate that extra boost thanks to their gender? The problem is with you, Everett. You’re not relating to men/bands with men/men’s music, and you’re putting that down to their gender? Why don’t you change the way you’re approaching it, and see what happens?
  3. Where does music created by transgender or intersex people fit into the picture? It’s excluded completely from consideration. There is obviously a great deal less of it, but my problem is with the socialised norm of just accepting two ‘normal’ gender classifications. [Pre-empting the “it doesn’t matter, this is just a music site/whatever” card here … It might not matter to you, and I’m sure that if this piece was read by many people I would be laughed off as extreme or overly PC. Personally though, I would like to think someone as obviously intelligent and engaged as True would have some qualms about furthering social exclusion. Those directly affected care.]

It’s all very well to talk about subjectivity and anti-elitism, but if you’re broadcasting what seem to me to be unconsidered, discriminatory remarks to a relatively large audience then maybe it’s time to take another look at what it is you’re saying.

Happy to be argued with, laughed at, or written off in response to this. Hope to be proven wrong.

32 Responses to Everett True and the Gender Obsession

  1. Matt O'Neill February 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    That was pretty rad. Good work, Steven.

  2. Princess Stomper February 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I would have thought that Everett True would have a very acute sensibility with regard to transgender issues, since he’s obviously a big hairy man-hating lesbian trapped in a man’s body. 😉

    (Good post!)

  3. Everett True February 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    People need to get a sense of proportion.

    How many people read Collapse Board? A popular article, a couple of thousand.
    How many people read Pitchfork and the mainstream rock press? A popular article, a couple of million.

    How many non-male bands do Ptichfork+MRP write about? Exactly. Why do they focus on almost exclusively male artists when there is so much choice around? Beats me. I can only imagine it comes down to personal preference – i.e. discrimination on the basis of gender – because there really, really isn’t any other reason I can hear. And in every one of those places (and tens of thousands more), men are given a head start on the basis of their sex. Stop and think about that statement for a second.

    Let’s stick with the sums. I’m read by a couple of thousand folk. Pitchfork+MRP – who day in, day out discriminate against non-male artists on the basis of gender – are read by a few million. In other words, for every reader Collapse Board has, Pitchfork and their gang have a thousand.

    A thousand. That’s for every person reading Collapse Board trying to rectify the balance a little that means there’s a thousand reading magazines doing the exact opposite, propping up the status quo and reveling in the safety of numbers. “How can we be discriminating? We’re just focusing on what’s out there!”

    No. You’re not. You really, really are not.

    So let’s get a sense of proportion.

    P.S. Proportionately, I (and Collapse Board) actually write about more all-male rock bands in comparison to non all-male rock bands than Pitchfork+MRP do the other way round.

  4. Princess Stomper February 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Well, regardless of the politics, I likely wouldn’t have heard of No Mas Bodas or Agent Ribbons without CB, so that has to count for something.

    I do approve of picking on ET, though, ‘cos it’s fun. *evil grin*

  5. Andreia February 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Every time we ignore men for a little bit, particularly in areas which are dominated by men and where women are discriminated against (like the music industry!), there comes the “what about the mens?” argument… which boils down to: by focusing on women you are being sexist too!

    When talking about music it’s important to make reference to gender, not because there are ‘experiences common to most women, and others common to most men’ but because, as Everett True mentioned, there is widespread gender discrimination in the music industry. Disregarding gender imbalance does not make it go away, it just perpetuates the status quo. I am guessing many music writers don’t realise how sexist they are being in their choices, the fact that they mostly write about male musicians is just perceived as natural. That’s why when once in a while they come across music made by women that they cannot afford to ignore, it is often labelled with crap like ‘feminine charm’.

    The impression I get from reading ET’s articles, and collapse board in general, is that there is a huge range of female bands out there making all different types of exciting music who are simply ignored by the mainstream music press.

    Music critics are subjective, it is impossible for anyone to write objectively about what is happening in music at any given point in time, although some of them give the impression that they are (which leads to the widespread misconception that most good music is made by men since the critics are not writing about anything else…). Everett True is very open about how subjective his articles are, and I don’t think he suggests that women are biologically determined to make better music than men, whereas many other music critics seem to believe that the opposite is true, otherwise they would start questioning why they don’t write about music made by women very often.

    Apologies for the very long reply, but it does bother me when people start complaining because we stopped paying attention to men for 5 seconds…

  6. Steven Wright February 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Totally agree with the proportionality comment, ET. Pitchfork and their ilk obviously have far wider, deeper, and broader issues.
    Following on from Princess Stomper’s comments, I generally appreciate Collapse Board’s content, and am a fairly avid follower (and have plenty of bands to thank the site for too). I did think twice about sending this after writing it, but then remembered… ‘We criticise because we care’.

    @Andreia – I’m sorry that you took that to be my meaning, it wasn’t at all the intention. While I understand this probably doesn’t matter all that much to you (and will probably just seem like a desperate grab for a shred of credibility… Hey, it probably is), my studies are actually focused around feminist philosophy, particularly gender equality. For me this piece isn’t really about “OH STOP BEING ANTI-MALE”, it is about generalisations and stereotypes. Importantly, I actually think that supporting women musicians in such a way can detract from the merit aspect. If ET is posting about women, because they are women, I think it definitely has that potential. I think that if he were to write about and feature the same bands without the hype it would be just as effective, without encountering the problems I currently have. Importantly though, this is just my opinion, and a lot of this is really just rehashing debates about affirmative action that have been going on for an age(although I would draw a distinction between the two).
    Don’t apologise for the long comment, I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and for taking the time to reply.
    Steven

  7. Erika February 2, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Disregarding gender imbalance does not make it go away, it just perpetuates the status quo.

    Abso-fucking-lutely.

    It’s taken me a while to really see this. It is true that being female is not the ONLY way that people are discriminated against – I think anyone who is not a young, thin, white male is going to on one hand, stand out (a good thing) and on the other hand, be immediately discounted by the biz (who is always looking for some not-too-risky kind of “original”).

    I think that true music fans are not automatically so closed-minded as the industry movers, not by a long shot, but most potential fans need and expect to be led to the good music. So when the industry fails the female half of the population, the industry FAILS.

    Do you think young girls just growing up don’t NOTICE this? I have noticed this since I was a teenager, but I struggled for decades to make sense of it. I would say that for the first 3+ decades of my life, I literally believed that the reason you don’t see more published women writers (for example) was that we just weren’t interested, of if we were, we just weren’t good enough… so you’d see a nice “Thank You” to the wife who typed up the male author’s manuscript, that’s where you’d see the women.

    In reality, with so few role models, it becomes difficult to visualize yourself as a worthy writer or musician. Add to that, no one else can visualize you there either, so your writing, your music, etc, is immediately discounted as inferior. You’re never quite as “good” as the men. Studies do show that women tend to get discouraged and “give up” easier than men, but that too is conditioning, I am pretty certain.

    So, unlike my teen self who thought I could just be like a guy and push my way to the front, I now know that is not always realistic. The reality of life is that artists need a community. I do believe that the correct response in this case is “women to the front,” and that the men need to get behind that. I wouldn’t be here, or in a working band, if I didn’t have the support of a couple strong and talented men who were willing to draw that line in the sand, face up to the backlash and snide mocking, and stand strong on my behalf, even when I didn’t feel so strong myself.

  8. Everett True February 2, 2012 at 1:43 am

    ET is posting about women, because they are women, I think it definitely has that potential.

    You patronising self-righteous cynical asshole. This is probably the most single offensive comment I’ve ever had made about my writing. You fucking prick. What makes you think that for one second I do that? Because you know that, deep down, I know that women don’t make music as well as men? AREN’T I ALLOWED TO LIKE ALL MUSIC, NOT JUST MUSIC MADE BY MEN? Instead of focusing on me, why not ask one of the hundreds of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of ‘critics’ who quite deliberately or – worse – thoughtlessly perpetuate gender imbalance every single fucking day? Is it because there are too many? So why don’t you … I’ll tell you why. It’s exactly as Andreia called it. Well worth repeating:

    Every time we ignore men for a little bit, particularly in areas which are dominated by men and where women are discriminated against (like the music industry!), there comes the “what about the mens?” argument… which boils down to: by focusing on women you are being sexist too!

    When talking about music it’s important to make reference to gender, not because there are ‘experiences common to most women, and others common to most men’ but because, as Everett True mentioned, there is widespread gender discrimination in the music industry. Disregarding gender imbalance does not make it go away, it just perpetuates the status quo. I am guessing many music writers don’t realise how sexist they are being in their choices, the fact that they mostly write about male musicians is just perceived as natural. That’s why when once in a while they come across music made by women that they cannot afford to ignore, it is often labelled with crap like ‘feminine charm’.

    The rest of her comment is equally as succinct. Well worth another read, and taking the blinkers off.

  9. Everett True February 2, 2012 at 1:55 am

    I know … I could write a series of articles tracing pop music from its birth until now, excluding pretty much all female artists ever, and call it Mojo or Q or The Wire or Rolling Stone or something.

  10. Princess Stomper February 2, 2012 at 6:23 am

    [Devil’s Advocate]

    You do make a really big deal out of featuring female musicians. I think it’s legitimate to question whether they are being featured predominantly because of their gender.

    [/DA]

    (It’s also legitimate to just point the person asking to your conclusive answer of “no”.)

  11. Lucy Cage February 2, 2012 at 7:40 am

    The thing is, Collapse Board DOESN’T make a big deal about featuring a greater than usual proportion of non-all-male bands. It doesn’t have a positive discrimination policy.* It features bands and musicians who are extraordinary and whose gender is usually by far the least extraordinary thing about them; it does just seem to be the case that a lot of the amazing music that gets featured on this site is not made by all-male bands.

    In fact, pretty much NONE of the music I’ve loved this last year has been made by men** with guitars, bass and drums. It hasn’t always been that way, but it is now. That’s not a conscious decision on my part, it’s just where things are at for me and maybe for the musical world I inhabit. And that’s what makes Everett’s Facebook posts about “MEN IN MUSIC” so funny. Cos they’re true. Or True. There’s not a lot of great music being made by men at the moment. It’s OK. It’s great, actually. It’s as it should be; bands with women AND men in them ought to be the norm and if they’re not it’s worth asking why not. Prodding the assumption that the norm is NOT female. Turning things over and seeing what happens. Pointing out the absurdities. Provoking a reaction from people who haven’t quite got it yet.

    *Actually, I write for another website that DOES have an explicitly pro-female party-line – wwww.thegirlsare.com – and which makes a deliberate point of featuring women in music, writing about gender issues as they pertain to the music business etc., in a conscious effort to redress the balance that ET talks about. It’s not the only way to do things, but hey, the internet’s a big place. There’s room. Some might say there’s an absolute necessity for such a space. Some others might say it was sexist for choosing never to feature all-male bands but that would be such an absurd line to take that I won’t even grace it with a counter-argument.

    **I could define that group further. White men with guitars. Cismen with guitars. Men who posit themselves as outsiders because that’s the rock’n’roll tradition but who in actual fact in 2012 are more likely straight-down-the-line privilege-toting rebel-without-a-cause masters of the goddamn universe than the variously-transgressing icons of pop years gone by.

  12. Steven Wright February 2, 2012 at 9:20 am

    ET said “You patronising self-righteous cynical asshole, etc”

    I actually said: *IF* ET is posting about women, because they are women, I think it definitely has that potential.
    Big difference. (although I am genuinely sorry you were offended).

    I didn’t say you necessarily were, or that it did end up that way. Of course you’re allowed to like all music, and as I said before I’m not getting all up in arms about male bashing or whatever here. My problem is that *I FEEL* this type of approach isn’t great, for the reasons I went through.

    Lucy said “It features bands and musicians who are extraordinary and whose gender is usually by far the least extraordinary thing about them; it does just seem to be the case that a lot of the amazing music that gets featured on this site is not made by all-male bands.”

    Totally down with this, and in fact made the point above that I am happy about that. Once again, I just think that making such a big deal about the gender distinction isn’t necessarily the best approach (in my opinion), because of the potential for reducing the merit associated – “she got in cos she’s a girl”.

    Also, just because I criticise here doesn’t mean I haven’t spent time (vast amounts of it, actually) criticising other writers and sites. But the thing is, none of them will actually listen or respond to any sort of comment (another reason I am glad CB exists, and functions as it does).

    In saying all that, Everett’s response since the posting lead me to think that his original comments were far more light-hearted than I had originally read them (the wonders of the internet, hey), and had I realised this probably wouldn’t have bothered. Furthermore, I’ll point to the end of the piece where it says ‘hope to be proven wrong’ – a lot of this was about provoking a clarification of intent, etc… Which it may not be my right to have, but that I was interested in nonetheless.

  13. Rory Mackie February 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    ET has already covered this above (in a much more sweary/CAPSLOCK way) but I think you’re coming at this from the wrong angle. I never got the impression that Collapseboard (or Everett in particular) were ever trying to say, ‘male musicians are rubbish – here’s a load of girl bands’ but more ‘here’s some stuff I like’ with maybe a subtext of, ‘isn’t it great how much of it is by women.’

    I don’t think that this is a bad thing.

  14. Steven Wright February 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Yeah look, more of it was probably coming from his Facebook, and as I said I probably took it a little bit more seriously than I should have (though I didn’t really realise this would end up on the site).

    Also just want to say I think that I’ve been lumped with a group of people whose views I strongly disagree with, namely anti-feminists. Whether this is because the articulation of my ideas was poor or something else, I don’t know. It really wasn’t the way I intended it to be taken. I do understand the points of view put forward in the comments, and think those views are completely valid. I would just say that just because someone criticises a certain way of doing something doesn’t mean they are against the entire philosophy associated with it (primitive/simplistic/poor example – I’m in favour of raising more money through tax to allow governments to continue running decent public services. I’m not in favour of them taxing low income earners more to do it).

    Anyway, it seems like this has pretty much fizzled out, which is probably for the best.

  15. Wild Eye February 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    In response to the original article without having read the comments…

    So it is clear that ET is “deliberately provocative”.

    But are statements like “What is it about men and rock music? It really puzzles me. Why aren’t there more men making good music? Are they just not as interested?” reasonable.

    They do annoy me, but ultimately they are – I presume – slightly tongue in cheek, and they are one very tiny voice fighting a music industry and entire world that is, generally speaking, biased towards men. I suppose the music industry is like a logging company destroying an unspoilt wilderness; ET is like a lone protester who hammers nails into trees, which kills the trees but also fucks up the loggers chainsaws. You can argue with the protester’s tactics like you can argue with ET’s, but you can’t argue that their hearts are both in the right place. You cannot say that ET or the protester are the problem.

    The points in turn –

    (1) The music industry makes “frequent, definite distinctions between men and women” in a typical, old-fashioned, redundent, sexist way – ET turns this on it’s head.
    (2) I think Steven Wright takes ET too seriously.
    (3) Picking up someone fighting sexism by complaining that they are not equally standing up for the LGBT community is pretty much the same as complaining that cancer research ignore the problem of AIDS.

  16. Wild Eye February 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Some more random points…

    Andreia basically makes the ‘derailling for dummies’ argument. Which is a very good one.

    My musical tastes are heavily male-biased. ET makes me question this. Why is my taste male-biased? Should I fight this? I tend to prefer men’s voices (it goes back to a dawning realisation I had as a teenager, listening to Transvision Vamp on a school coach, and deciding that women can’t sing. I was clearly wrong about this, but it was probably the moment I realised that I do generally prefer the way men sing. To what extent should I actively fight this?) I am a bloke and many of my favourite songs come from a male perpective which is why I relate to them. Obviously it is important to listen to alternative voices to challenge your world view, but that does not mean that you should feel guilty about relating to a world view that is closely related to your own.

    Lucy says of “www.thegirlsare.com” – “There’s room. Some might say there’s an absolute necessity for such a space.” Of course. One day the world might end up turned on its head – though I doubt it – and “www.theboysare.com” might be necessary. Hopefully we get to the point where we have enough equality that “www.theboysare.com” has a small role to play, but I can’t see it becoming anything other than a niche, barely-acceptable let alone needed, distraction in my lifetime.

    I tend to watch quite a lot of late night music TV in the UK where they profile up-and-coming bands. It is astonishing how many of them are white, male, fucking-derivative and middle-class / upper-middle-class. There will always be some music coming up from the council-estates (I’m talking from a UK perspective here) but it seems to me that the music industry is actually doing a worse job of representing the poor than it does women (not that this point should detract from the fact that this page is about the gender issue which deserves all the air-time it gets).

    One of the reasons ET is such a good writer is that he annoys. My belief, which is backed up by intermittant experience over decades, is that when ET annoys me I need to think about what he has said and why for longer, and normally I calm down. His heart is in the right place and the fact he has annoyed me is not a reason to bop him on the nose it is a reason to question my views. [ET is the anti-Jeremy Clarkson in this respect].

  17. Wild Eye February 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Sorry, one more thing… I am all for men and women dressing exactly how they want… but is the world of mainstream pop representative? Do 98% of women really want to express themselves through fashion by going onstage in their underwear? Are men really so shy? Why don’t more men go onstage in jock-straps and nothing more? Why don’t more (98% of) women walk down the street in their underwear? Is it really just the weather and the fear of unwanted male attention? If so that’s very sad, women should walk around half-naked if that’s what they all (98% is pretty much all) want to do?

  18. Lucy Cage February 5, 2012 at 1:35 am

    “the music industry is actually doing a worse job of representing the poor than it does women”
    Good point. Not all corners of the music industry maybe but certainly the rock/indie mainstream, which is rife with classism. Much of the vile anti-pop commentary you get from sour old rockists who bleat on about inauthenicity and “real music” is deeply anti-working class as well as misogynist. Which is funny, given that the “real” music they extol (esp punk) was either of working-class origin or at least played with working-class tropes.

    (I admire the fact that you want to be challenged, that you see being pissed off by something as a sign you should take another look at your assumptions! Nice one.)

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  20. Erika February 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    @Wild Eye, I grew up in Humboldt County, California.(1) You make some interesting points but tree spiking is a false analogy.

    1. there was never any “lone protester.” There are some who are more vocal and visible, and others who are more inclined to anonymous monkey-wrenching.(2) I’d argue that Everett True is more of a visible, outspoken protester, and that any monkey wrenching he may or may not do in the music industry is most likely not going to cause anyone any bodily harm.

    2. Tree spiking is potentially dangerous to loggers, but NOT to trees. (girdling kills them, spikes do not)

    3. Tree spiking was loudly and publicly denounced by Earth First! / Judi Bari in 1990. I haven’t heard of it being a problem since then, except that it gets brought up as a way to make protesters look bad. It might be worth mentioning that for all the media focus on TREE SPIKING, they seem to gloss over the pipe bomb that detonated under Judi Bari’s car seat, severely and permanently injuring, nearly killing her…. only to have the FBI turn around and accuse her of placing the bomb there herself.(3)

    ——————————
    (1) http://sunnyfortuna.com/history/logging-redwood/images/avenue-of-the-giants.jpg

    (2) http://affinityproject.org/practices/monkeywrenching.html “Ultimately, it is important to remember that the target of monkeywrenching is property, and not the workers or individuals involved. Tree spiking, for instance, can seriously wound or kill a logger, and the damaging of machines and equipment can have equally fatal outcomes. Violent or tragic results could seriously hurt a cause if it garners a negative public response.”

    (3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judi_Bari

  21. Erika February 7, 2012 at 12:14 am

    @Wild Eye, @Lucy “the music industry is actually doing a worse job of representing the poor than it does women”

    I also agree here. I think this is one of results of music industry breakdown. For an artist, you used to hope you would get a label to fund an album, support a tour, etc. Maybe some labels still do this for some artists, but they expect artists to do most of the initial work themselves. If you want to stay underground, DIY can be great, empowering, etc. But if you want to break out into a larger audience, you are going to need to record and release music, and you need time and money for travel, and you need promotion, distribution etc. It’s not at all surprising to me that the acts who can fund themselves are the ones who are successful at getting noticed. “like, duh!”

    ‘Not all corners of the music industry maybe but certainly the rock/indie mainstream, which is rife with classism. Much of the vile anti-pop commentary you get from sour old rockists who bleat on about inauthenicity and “real music” is deeply anti-working class as well as misogynist.’

    You are beginning to convince me, here, sorry to say. But the argument I hear is much more simple and sad, more along the lines of “how can you have a band with no bass guitar?”

  22. Petra February 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    This is an excellent comments thread. I don’t have a great deal to say about why covering lots of women artists isn’t sexism, which, oh my god the lols, but it’s all already been said. Can I just also put to bed the idea that covering women artists is transphobic?

    There are a significant number of trans spectrum working musicians – Rae Spoon, Katastrophe, Baby Dee, Actor Slash Model, Antony Johnson, Lyn Breedlove, Angel Haze (note: ET, we need to talk about Angel Haze), or even that racist schmuck Genesis P. Orridge – many of whom, *wherever they identify on the trans spectrum*, got a break through feminist music projects, Ladyfests, arts-funded women’s music mags, &c. Some feminisms have a serious issue with trans inclusion, true, and that’s hideous, but the riot grrl/Ladyfest axis, which is where ET comes from, nope- trans inclusion is folded in to the tradition. At the very first Ladyfest, in Oly, Freddie Fagula (Beth Ditto’s trans spectrum former partner) spoke about the importance of trans feminisms.

    Trans musos aside, there’s much queer and genderqueer content on CB. Whether covering lo-fi, post-punk influenced women like Wild Flag, pop artists like Madonna and Kate Bush, or female MCs like Azealia Banks and Reema (note: ET, we need to talk about Reema), CB champions women whose voices are transgressively gendered. It’s the new shit, boo.

    Right. Having now procrastinated finally finishing my week-late LDR review, I’m off to do what I need to do, which is to make work for a website I believe in with all my heart.

  23. Retch February 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    This is all well and good but the fact remains girls rule and boys drool. Mind you, I’m listening to Motley Crue right now. If more boys in bands looked/sounded like the Crue rather than, say, Foals, I’d be more interested in them.

  24. Wild Eye February 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Erika

    Re: trees… my comment was a made-up simile that had no basis in the real world – I really did not know about the real world example you mention or the reality of spiking trees!

  25. Golightly February 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

    “But it feels to me like they nearly have to prove themselves worthy of consideration, while their female counterparts have a head start. ” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA AH AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    This MUST be a joke right?

    And what a stupid thing to compare women to transgendered musicians! I hate to point out the obvious here, but trans people are a minority group. Women make up just OVER half the population at 51% most places.

    Carry on Everett True. You have at least shown this writer what the real world looks like for everyone other than privileged white males.

    The thing that always tantilises me is the OUTRAGE that men express under these circumstances. I feel like saying to them “Boo hoo! Spit your dummy out elsewhere! You can retreat from this ‘discrimination’ er… just about EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WESTERN WORLD”

    Us women deal with this everywhere and every day and we do it with more dignity than was expressed in this article. If we flipped out every time we came across a magazine that had a male agenda, or boycotted them all, we’d be left with little to read.

    And why is is a BIG DEAL that Collapse Board expresses this view? Why isn’t it a BIG DEAL TO YOU THAT EVERYONE ELSE EXPRESSES THE OPPOSITE VIEW?

  26. Golightly February 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

    *come to think of it, if I submitted the equivalent article to another music magazine website it would not get published.

    They would ignore it, wonder what was bothering me, why now?, think stuff like “feminism is boring/sexism sells” and move on to the rest of their editorial duties.

    But your rant on the subject got a look in?

    That speaks volumes for where Collapse Board is at with these issues.

    ET I think it might have been sexist of you to include the above article. Jokes.

  27. Steven Wright February 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Golightly,

    While I might not like it, I guess I have to be OK with what I feel are the misinterpretations of my own view that have followed the piece, as I think that it probably stems from my own poor articulation. I hope rather than writing me off and assuming I’m a pro-patriarchy sexist pig (if you haven’t already) you’ll actually attempt to understand what I’m saying on some level.

    Please note to start with that I have complimented Collapse Board multiple times through this discussion. I am a fan of the website, and believe it or not that’s why I wrote the piece in the first place. To use an example that comes to mind, many of us criticise the Australian government on a day-to-day basis for all sorts of things. In reality, we’re one of the best governed nations in the world. The reason we criticise is because it effects us directly and locally. In the same way, the reason I engaged with Collapse Board on this level is BECAUSE I use it often, and tend to avoid other sites (Pitchfork was mentioned here, that would be one example). In hindsight, I have to admit that I don’t necessarily agree with my own action of emailing this to ET (although to be honest I didn’t think it would be published). I guess that’s the problem with spur of the moment decisions.

    On the actual content now – the greater problem I initially had (as I feel like I have reiterated enough now) was the problem of merit. Once again, I probably did do a poor job of this. Essentially I felt like that if ET was covering female musicians because they were female (and making a big deal of this), then it had the potential to take away from what they were actually doing in the eyes of some. Evidently (and as previously admitted) I took ET’s comments far too seriously, and perhaps should have reminded myself that all of this was happening within Facebook.
    (for the record, the comments along the lines of ‘the problem is with you’ are a reference to a certain widely heralded figure who asserted that anyone who didn’t like any type of music was the problem, not the artist. My own little joke, though obviously missed. Furthermore, I felt the fact he was assessing a gender’s contribution to music in such a way was further indicative of the merit issue I referred to above.).

    Where exactly did I compare women to transgendered musicians? I simply was saying that making such a big deal of the gendered norms of male and female was sidelining those in a minority. It sounded in your post like you were saying that minority groups don’t matter. I’m sure that’s not what you actually think, but it had the connotation (how easily one could be misinterpreted, hey).

    As previously mentioned, I’m not expressing outrage, especially in the way you seem to think I am. What made you assume I’m white by the way?

    Here’s a question: Why do you assume just because I make some criticisms here that I don’t criticise anything else? The logical gap that you leap over to make that conclusion is quite large. I have actually spent a great deal of time engaging with other publications (not to mention my local council and state government, in an attempt to change their official forms to include an ‘other’ option in the gender section).

  28. Golightly February 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    “I felt like that if ET was covering female musicians because they were female (and making a big deal of this), then it had the potential to take away from what they were actually doing in the eyes of some.”

    Since the general media are covering male musicians simply because they are male and this is standard practice and normal and the done thing, even if all the male musicians happen to be God-awful at that time then it has the potential to take away what they are actually doing in the eyes of er… me. And anyone else with ears. Who isn’t so overly concerned with being cool that they forget that they are supposed to actually like the music they are listening to.

    Don’t take this as a personal attack, just respect that your views are prevalent. And you’ve given us the opportunity to call out ‘men’ on the systematic inequalities. The fact that you even noticed this happening means you have the upper hand in terms of gender privilege. Women are so used to the norm being against them that most of us accept it and don’t pay attention to it. Which is why you get hammered for daring to grumble over the slightest thing. This is an opportunity for you to do something. An opportunity for you to relate to women better, because now ‘feminism’ has come into your back yard. So you can start to notice how wrong the general rule actually is, and speak up about this.

    To answer your question: point three is where you compared women in music to transgender people.

    “making such a big deal of the gendered norms of male and female was sidelining those in a minority.” Why are you bringing up the idea of minority groups again?

    FOR THE LAST TIME: WOMEN ARE NOT A MINORITY GROUP.

    Women musicians ARE in the minority in the media, but women are not a minority group, so a more relevant question to be asking in this discussion is ‘why are a majority group being represented in the music industry as a minority group?’

    To answer your other question:
    “You have at least shown this writer what the real world looks like for everyone other than privileged white males. ” I didn’t, you can’t read. You are the one who assumed.

  29. Steven Wright February 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    You’re accusing me of not being able to read because I mistook an ambiguous comment? And yet you can’t take a look at yourself and think you may have done the same?
    The minority I refer to is NOT women. Those I felt were being sidelined were those people who don’t identify as a man or a woman. Point 3 was not comparing transgender people to women, it was identifying them as a concern in and of themselves. OK?

    Once again, I make the point that just because someone else is doing something the wrong thing (in this case clearly the general media are) doesn’t mean anything for someone/something else (in this case ET, whether he is doing the right or wrong thing). I DID TAKE IT ALL TOO SERIOUSLY, but the principle stands.

    “Just respect that your views are prevalent”
    If by my views, you mean the views that you think I hold based on certain assumptions and interpretations around what I’ve said (partly my fault as having written this piece initially on a whim it wasn’t really subject to any sort of proof-reading).
    I do understand the ideas behind institutionalised hierarchies, hegemony, patriarchy, dominant ideologies, etc etc. My main area of study focuses around the challenges for feminism following Butler’s (and related writers) deconstruction of gender – Young, Stoljar, etc.

    Of course, I don’t contest that I have the upper hand in terms of gender privilege. That would just be ridiculous. But feminism has been in my backyard my entire life, thanks – the reason I feel a bit offended (and am obviously coming across as defensive over all this) is not because it is personal attacks (I would be a hypocrite if that were the case), it is because I have grown up in a household completely against the views that I’m being equated with. Don’t you think it’s a bit strange to tell someone else what they think?

    Anyway, this is feels like a bit of dead end in terms of constructive discussion, and I really don’t want to spend more time engaging with a post that I regret.
    Thanks for the discussion up to this point, and thanks again to CB and ET for providing a forum for this sort of thing.

  30. sadiemomo February 8, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    “This feels like a bit of a dead end in terms of constructive discussion”- Feminism-Sexism- Does it really require such intellectual analysis? the way I see it is simple, the music industry, much like the building industry (my day job) is far from an even playing field if you are a woman. It is so common for some of the men holding the reins to be threatened, hostile and prejudiced about women that anyone who cant see it is blinkered and does not really understand what it is like to be a woman working in these industries. Over the years, as I have become more proficient at what I do, the situation has, if anything, worstened, the better you are at what you do, as a woman, the more threatened the status quo is by your mere presence. ET’s writings on this highlight this situation nicely and in a mainly comic way. I just dont see that there is any real argument to be had.
    Any guys who choose to take offense to ETs comments should try listening to what us ‘girls’ say about the situation. It’s like the Tories not listening to doctors, nurses and patients about the dismantling of the NHS. What ETs opinions do is to take a snapshot of what its like to be treated shit by men and switch it round, if the guys reading his comments dont like it then- Welcome to what it feels like to be a woman.

  31. Andrew February 10, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Seriously guys, relax. When did music stop being this to you?
    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5062/5673732576_d51311e8f1_b.jpg

    And become this?
    http://images.smh.com.au/2010/10/19/1996659/TONY-ABBOTT-420×0.jpg

  32. Everett True February 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I’m always surprised that people get so upset at my “Why don’t more men make great music? Can it be that they’re simply not interested?” comments.

    I’ve always seen them as an obvious wind-up with no basis in reality, same way I’ve always seen others’ “Why don’t more women make great music? Can it be that they’re simply not interested?” comments as an obvious wind-up with no basis in reality.

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