I must say I really love reading what you have to say because it's fuckin funny, and it points issues out that most people don't think about "logically" as you do. Now that I'm done complimenting you here's what I wanted to say:
I'm of the female gender, I'm in a punk band consisting of a male drummer and a female bassist (when I say punk I mean the misfits, sex pistols, conflict e.t.c)... and I would just like to point out that the reason why you, and many other people, think that chick's don't have the, ahem, testicles to write and perform rock music is probably because of the fact that dumb whores like evanesance and avril la-fucking-vigne give the whole thing a bad name, and this is because of the dumbasses controlling what is put into the mainstream circuit e.g. avril being called the "punk" princess..holy mother of christ, every time I hear some fuckwad say punk and princess in the same sentence I want to club them like a baby seal...ANYWAYS it really fucking annoys me that she's associated with punk, I mean for fucks sake her lyrics are as emo as good charlottes, all about how she broke up with some dude, because he was a dick, and she's better off without him, yada yada same old crap. So my question is with my lyrics actually containing substance (you know, with the bigger picture in mind and not trivial things such as breaking a nail) do you think there could be a tiny little place in your awesome mind where you could have hope for females like me?..haha I can't wait to see your answer.
And yes, I live in South Africa, amazing that I'm literate isn't it?
Rachael, thanks for the email, glad you enjoy the site. Wow, an email from a female in South Africa who's in a punk band. It's always cool to see some of the unexpected people and locations I get emails from. On to your question, you bring up some very good points about the presence of females in rock music and how they are perceived. And really, when it comes down to it, I agree with you that the biggest problem in that is how female bands are presented by their record companies. The cool thing to do seems to be taking a band, giving them a hot chick who can sing, and bam, there's your hot new band to try and get on MTV. I absolutely hate that. Those acts come off as put together and forced, rather than organic, which is what music should be all about and I think it really hurts the art form.
Another big mistake I see record companies making with their female acts is pigeonholing them into being just female acts and writing almost all of their material about aspects of life specific to being female. It's almost like female bands are victims of their own uniqueness because the record labels want material about being a woman to capture their unique perspective and appeal to female listeners. That's all well and good, but when you limit yourself like that, you're really sacrificing a lot of potential audience. I, as a man who enjoys music, have a difficult time identifying with(and thus, to an extent, enjoying) a singer or band who is constantly talking about the difficulties of being a female in a male-dominated world. And if you look at the flip side, while a lot of women got a kick out of Limp Bizkit's song "Nookie," how many female fans do you think they would have had if the majority of their songs were from such a male-specific viewpoint? Probably not too many. But they weren't all written from that perspective because male groups are the norm and not the exception in rock music, so they have more freedom to write about whatever they want because they don't have that uniqueness to them. As a result, songs written by male groups tends to have wider appeal because they're not pigeonholed into writing for the benefit of one particular group (or in this case, one particular gender). I see the exact same thing in standup comedy. If you go to an open mic at an American comedy club, maybe 5-10% of the comics you see will be female. Because of that uniqueness, a lot of female comics write most of their material about different aspects of female life. While this can really endear them to the females in the audience, most of the men are just sitting on their hands. On the other hand, when I as a man go up to do a set, I'm not pigeonholing myself into being just a man. I'm also fat, and creepy, and underemployed, and white trash, and I have a small dick. So I write material about all different aspects of the whole of what I am and my life experience so I can possibly appeal with at least some of my material to people of all different genders, ages, and walks of life.
The last thing I see record companies doing with female-fronted rock groups is probably more of a personal preference thing. It drives me nuts when the lead singer of the band is treated as the only important member of a group. You see that to a huge degree with bands that have female singers, because labels love putting a hot chick on posters or t-shirts or CD's because hot chicks sell, it's as simple as that. No Doubt poked fun at this fact about the record industry with their "Don't Speak" video, which showed Gwen Stefani being focused on while the dudes were kind of just there. However, as a music fan, it irks me to no end when labels emphasize the singer over the rest of the band because the rest of the band is often times just as important as the singer, if not more so. This can also be seen with my earlier example of Limp Bizkit. Don't get me wrong, Fred Durst is an extremely charismatic and unique individual, but at the height of their popularity, I said time and again that Wes Borland (the guitar player) was what made that band special and that if he left, they would be just another band. Well, after a few years, Wes Borland got tired of Fred Durst's shit, hit the road, and look what happened. They went from being the biggest band in the world to being a joke who relied on a cover for the lead single from the first post-Wes album.
The moral of all this is that for females getting into the rock scene, while there is hope, I think they are at a definite disadvantage if you want to be taken seriously as rock musicians, and that's a shame. Now, if you only care about being the hot chick on a t-shirt or having your fan base consist of women and horny teenage boys, then you're in good shape, because the record industry is dying for bands like that with any semblance of talent. But if you want to be taken seriously and appeal to women AND men, you probably have to find a label that will allow you to just be yourself and support you as a band, not just a female band, and unfortunately, labels like that are hard to come by because everyone thinks they know what listeners want and they slavishly stick to that formula. So unfortunately, until labels feel that listeners want to hear good music that actually means something that is developed organically from real people who are allowed to be themselves, I'm afraid we're in for more of the same crap.
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