Feminist thoughts: Women in music

I was 12 years old when I first discovered music. I mean really discovered music.
The kind of discovery that had me madly devouring everything I could listen to with passion. The catalyst was getting my first radio. It had been my brothers and when it came to me I discovered top 40 radio. Then I started pestering mum and dad to buy me CDs for presents. Can you imagine my excitement when I unwrapped Fearless for my birthday that year? I took over the family stereo each afternoon when I got home from school and sang along with Taylor until I knew every note. At night I would listen to the radio with it hidden under my doona so mum wouldn’t know. There was just so much exciting music out there – Rihanna, Amy Winehouse, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry! The list goes on.

But then I gradually began to realise something more. I felt like for each one of my favourite female singers there was at least a dozen songs by men. Sometimes I would listen for an entire hour and not hear any female singers. This just felt so wrong to my young ears.

In 2008 the top 100 Billboard hits in the United States featured 37 female performers. In 2017 there were only 26!! What has happened that the number of female performers releasing hit songs has actually declined over the past 10 years?

A google search on ‘sexism in the music industry’ brought up 1.32 million results. The top search results were mainly magazine articles. GQ, Glamour, Marie Claire along with other media outlets have all run articles talking about sexism in the music industry.

Despite all this talk, it is still the consumers of music that are contributing to the overt sexism in the industry. It is about the music we seek to listen to, the songs we buy, the performers we vote for in Triple J’s Hottest 100 each year.

In January 2018, 51 songs in the Hottest 100 were from male artists or groups, 25 from female solo artists and all female groups, and 24 were from acts including both male and female artists. What distorts this last figure is that many of these combined acts were actually male artists ‘featuring’ a female singer. In other words, all the royalties and most of the accolades goes to the male performer.

How can you do your bit? It’s up to you what music you listen to but maybe it is a time to broaden your tastes. We become so conditioned to listen to a particular style that we don’t open our ears and minds to new music. So my challenge to you is try having all-female performer days. Demand the radio plays more women, listen to more women, hear more women. How else will we see any change?

Have a great feminist week!

Molly xx


the feminine point of view

the feminine point of view
subconsciously affects the way we view ourselves
strong, smart, busy mum, perfecting downward dog
awkward silences

being stuck in my head

being stuck in my head
do the opposite
run like a girl
for this is real
if I am alive—safe
then I’ll be fine
running toward my happy ending
self-control before the mirror
―breathe—I am fine
it will all be fine
everyone watching―my humiliation
—too many eyes
see me falling apart
in one heartbeat a dream
becomes a nightmare

Girl power

Imagine you are a twelve-year old girl and one day your body changes. People say girls are developing younger and younger. I blame the chemicals in our food. I mean, what else would suddenly make boys look at you strangely? And it’s not just boys, if you know what I mean! It’s as if I suddenly became scary. Shifting shape continually. Not quite one thing or another. None of my friends had developed their powers yet. Only me. But nobody would talk to me about it. Like, there are some words we can’t even use in public, not even on Instagram. Instead they use words like ‘hysterical’, ‘unstable’, and ‘attention seeker’. Sometimes I just want to go out in public and shout ‘TAMPON!’

Somewhere in the world

I run so fast
cold air bites my cheeks
somewhere in the world
my heart vibrates
when I stop running
somewhere in the world
I stand in silence
waiting for the seconds
that keep racing ahead
somewhere in the world
there is no violence
but I’m nearly out of time

Women’s magazines

greengrocers – early afternoon
blue canvas awning heat
keen to get home from gossip
long daily excursion pointless
there must be more to life
meetings, Friday tennis, empty house
just her and the baby
on a merry-go-round

The way of the witch

no more history after blood
no rivals, for it’s who you are
kitchen witch feels and hears
teenage girls wanting to fit in
become disconnected from their bodies
dreams and spells written simply
hidden inside another story
the way of the witch

The more things change

Gossip mongers fear
the fairy rath,
where December slows,
women sing at the bail,
warm palms against skin,
cheeks against bovine flanks,
milk sparse in the churn;

gibbous moon rings
fire lit faces,
bare feet scuff cobbles;
superstitious silence
drives poor women
from their homes,
for aren’t they to blame?

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