SOLIDARITY TIME – Word Up for Joanna Gruesome
In the comments on the Drowned in Sound Facebook page under my recent interview for the website someone has written “There’s nothing like blaming your own lack of success on imaginary things”. A lot of other people have written things like “Get over yourself, love.”, “jumping on her high horse for publicity”, “Rubbish. I’ve not listened, but I’ll assume she’s pissed about being shit.”, oh and “Now get my tea on”. I honestly feel like I don’t even have to write what I’m about to write because those comments should speak for themselves. The interview had a focus on my experiences as a woman in a band and the constant barrage of sexism all women in music face, and if ever there was a time to invoke Lewis’ Law this is it. I was going to reply to each comment individually but there are honestly too many, so I’m just going to direct this to every man who seemed so incensed by my speaking out against the very thing they in turn are perpetrating.
There is always such an aggressive irony in the reaction that men have to women speaking out about sexism and I feel like that’s never been clearer than with these comments. It almost seems like a farce to me that every single typical sexist trope has been employed in these comments, even the unironic use of the words ‘misandry’ and ‘feminazi’. (Helpful reminder that ‘misandry’ doesn’t exist and that ‘feminazi’ is an incredibly offensive and insensitive term.) In the interview I talk at length about not being taken seriously due to my gender, point proven by being referred to as ‘love’ and being told to make someone’s dinner.
A common theme in the comments is that due to there being so many talented and successful female musicians out there (I think one man managed to count to a grand total of 7!) my point that women have a harder time in the music industry is invalid. Some people even suggested that I was undoing the successes of these great women by claiming that women in music are regularly subject to sexist treatment. My goal is and always has been and always will be to empower other women. I stick up for women, and the only people doing a disservice to these successful and popular female musicians (along with aspiring female musicians) are the men who refuse to accept that misogyny is a real and pervasive problem.
I refuse to tolerate this. As much as I am personally offended by these sexist comments the issue here is a lot bigger than that. It breaks my heart that men are still so quick to reinforce the male dominance of the music industry and lambast any dissenting voice. I have spent almost all of my time in bands unsure of whether this was ‘the place’ for me, and when incidents like this happen all I can think of is how many other young women and girls will be discouraged by what they see. I will not have my own and so so many other women’s experiences invalidated, reduced and washed away by men who are all too comfortable with the kyriarchy. I want every girl reading this to know that you are so much bigger than what you are told to be. Nobody is allowed to make you feel small and nobody is allowed to invalidate you or your experiences.