gender equality and indiepop

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crystalball
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gender equality and indiepop

Post by crystalball » Sun Jul 29, 2012 21:39

Hey Anorak

Some of you will already know about this as it's been doing the rounds but I thought I'd start a thread here as well.

http://sotoughsocute.blogspot.com/2012/ ... r-and.html

I don't have a puter at the moment so, although I have a million things to say, can't go into it too deep. But it is worth reading (the comments even more so) and discussing.

What do you reckon then?

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by Trev » Sun Jul 29, 2012 21:42

I can't go again, after commenting on Twitter a few times today. Safe to say the survey was/is flawed - the debate it has sparked is a lot more interesting to me.
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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Sun Jul 29, 2012 21:48

I think the tone of the blog post was all about generating debate. And not fingerpointing or anything, but being aware of the reasons why there is an imbalance. Which is a good thing to be mindful of.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by linus » Sun Jul 29, 2012 22:24

in all honesty, I think the blog piece does point a finger and found it's "methodology" completely skewed and oversimplistic and patronising

the debate existed before it was revealed how institutionally sexist indietracks supposedly is and will continue long after... but hopefully not too long

and so it should because hopefully we will reach some conclusion and things will change for the better

it's a shame really because this weekend was all about the riots not diets compilation for me... it's fucking brilliant, it's got my brain sparking and my hips shaking and my heart pumping and it's just ace- that seems like a far more potent and vital conversation starter than a set of dodgy stats however well intentioned they may be

but I suppose I would be sniffy, wouldn't I? being a middle aged bloke (not self-identifying but you can't argue with the cold eye of the statastician)

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Sun Jul 29, 2012 22:46

Agreed on the RND comp. It's a joy.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by ketameaningless » Mon Jul 30, 2012 02:18

seriously though, what kind of cunt collates a chart, with graphs and stuff, quantifying musical performers by type of genitals? i mean, what kind of fucking bollocks is that? it's fucking POP MUSIC. you either like how it sounds, or you fancy the people in the band, or both.

this kind of shit is why none of us ever sell any records.
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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by deerful » Mon Jul 30, 2012 03:12

Jumping in here to say that, since the proportion of women to men in bands is not statistically representative of the proportion of women to men in the general population (and that's true of every genre of music I've encountered, from indiepop to metal to hardcore to pre-Renaissance historically-informed performance), that gender does appear to be a factor external to skill/competence in musical success and prominence. And as such I do think it's valid to explore why that might be and what is keeping women from joining bands (and limiting them to certain instruments when they do join). Type of genitals does seem to affect how likely you are to join a band, write music, play gigs. It shouldn't, as you rightly point out, but it does. Nothing wrong with asking why.

With that said, I do think the methodology in the article is seriously problematic and doesn't back up the conclusions reached. The method of counting, although I realise it's borrowed from Ladyfest, tells you very little more than that, overall, more men than women were present at Indietracks. It doesn't account for considerations of songwriting/creative control which might affect the power balance, it doesn't tell you how Indietracks stacks up compared with other festivals, it doesn't tell you whether the indiepop scene at large is any more representative of the general population than the rest of the music industry (and like I say, all music, pretty much, is male-dominated). I feel that a lot of the conclusions reached in the article extrapolate points which the data collected simply isn't capable of expressing. Pinning it on promoters is a giant oversimplification since the pool of skilled women musicians, particularly for certain instruments like the guitar, is smaller before you ever get to the promoter/booker stage of the game. It's more deeply-rooted than that.

I don't believe it's ever simple. I also don't think that race and class imbalance in indiepop are down to pure coincidence (like, really, how have we ended up in the position where the vast, vast majority of indiepop fans are white and middle-class?). It's all cultural and I think it's all worth exploring, though I don't agree with the methodology used here and the conclusions are accordingly flawed. I'm kind of tempted to re-analyse the data myself and write a proper response accounting for some of this stuff, but I won't have time until the end of August and I fear everyone would hate me forever for digging it up again after the fact. So it goes.
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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by colinsmitten » Mon Jul 30, 2012 03:43

i can't argue the math and also find it fair that the criteria is explained for how each thing gets into which column. I respect that, but I have a hard time thinking that according to this criteria, you would consider Allo Darlin' and Standard Fare as "male" bands. there is no macho-ness or fem-ness gauge here either in the study. I agree that these kinds of stats are decent conversation starters, but sometimes the conversation ends up being merely about the stats.

also, When I saw Gordon Ballboy in the church, it was a female band - gordon plus 2 women.

I feel like the whole Indietracks scene is non-macho and open and inviting to everyone who wants to be there.
being nice IS a political act!

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by linus » Mon Jul 30, 2012 07:01

you can argue with the math, colin, because it's wrong, this isn't how you go about making statistics, this is how you go about making statistics to prove your argument, it's not scientific or academic no matter how serious and high-minded the writers of the piece may want to present themselves... it's also not scientific or academic positing opinions to audiences and promotors when neither appear to have been asked for their opinions, the opinions are just assumed

it seems- as others have pointed out both here and elsewhere- to be a seriously flawed piece of 'research' which threatens to undermine the debate the writers want us all to have... which in some quarters was being had anyway

for me it's not just the stats but how the piece was written that I object to... much less damning and judgmental if the figures had been given as 'we noticed this... and wondered what that means' and then gone and interviewed team indietracks about their experiences, spoken to promotors, established bands, non-established bands, etc and had a conversation, a dialogue... that would've been useful and beneficial, a clarification that 'we are part of this community and we care about it and we wonder not just what the perception is but what the reality is of people's experiences' rather than this pseudo-academic posturing- and no amount of back tracking after the event can get away from the fact the original piece reads like a rather damning indictment of indietracks

indiepop feels inclusive to me (it would, wouldn't it?) but there are definitely aspects of it that need questioning and shaking up a bit- attitudes to class to race to gender to even seemingly trivial things like how bands get judged on how they look, dress, behave, etc (won't that put off female and indeed male performers if they feel they have to conform to a certain proscribed look/body shape/behaviour/whatever?)

once someone's broken it to allo darlin' that they are a 'male' band I hope someone, perhaps one of the writers of the piece, will break it to helen and steph from shrag that their efforts as female performers have come to nowt and they are in a 'male' band too (you can't argue with the numbers, ladies)... however, I half expect the debate will then become about who is and isn't 'indiepop', what 'indiepop' is really, and that, in conclusion, probably shrag aren't indiepop and therefore whether they are a male or female band or '50/50' becomes inconsequential

god help us if someone does the numbers for sarah records bands

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Mon Jul 30, 2012 07:46

Don't take it so personally. It's just reflecting that we don't exist in a vacuum. The real problem is that the "intake" is affected by social conditioning. I don't think indiepop is doing anything sexist, and I don't think it should set about 'correcting' things. It's good to be acutely aware that we're part of the world and not immune to all its flaws and to be mindful of them.

The main problem with the piece was the assumption that "if it's not 50/50 then we're failing". When other DIY-type scenes would probably be nearer 90/10 in split etc. It's a social thing, and something that a huge proportion of us give a massive shit about anyway.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by linus » Mon Jul 30, 2012 07:55

boney wrote:Don't take it so personally.
am I? oh... perhaps I am, but how else does one respond to the world? (rhetorical question)
boney wrote:The main problem with the piece was the assumption that "if it's not 50/50 then we're failing". When other DIY-type scenes would probably be nearer 90/10 in split etc. It's a social thing, and something that a huge proportion of us give a massive shit about anyway.
well, indeed... that's why I'm curious as to why the writers felt there was a need to present it in the way they did rather than in a less high-handed more discursive way

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Mon Jul 30, 2012 07:56

ketameaningless wrote:seriously though, what kind of cunt collates a chart, with graphs and stuff, quantifying musical performers by type of genitals? i mean, what kind of fucking bollocks is that? it's fucking POP MUSIC. you either like how it sounds, or you fancy the people in the band, or both.

this kind of shit is why none of us ever sell any records.
You don't think any analysis of gender is worthwhile?

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Mon Jul 30, 2012 08:01

a fog of ideas wrote:
boney wrote:Don't take it so personally.
am I? oh... perhaps I am, but how else does one respond to the world? (rhetorical question)
boney wrote:The main problem with the piece was the assumption that "if it's not 50/50 then we're failing". When other DIY-type scenes would probably be nearer 90/10 in split etc. It's a social thing, and something that a huge proportion of us give a massive shit about anyway.
well, indeed... that's why I'm curious as to why the writers felt there was a need to present it in the way they did rather than in a less high-handed more discursive way
They took an existing, flawed methodology presumably because a set of isolated figures would have been even less relevant to any existing discussion of the subject. It seems it was meant as a starting point.

If they'd refected on it and summised 'we're doing pretty good compared to those manly post-rock fuckers' they'd probably not have bothered. Seriously, it was a bit of a running joke how few females there were at the Gringo 15 thing in Nottingham, and unless having your tastes hugely influenced by Steve Albini is sexist I'm pretty sure most of the people involved are hugely sound. It's society, innit.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by linus » Mon Jul 30, 2012 08:10

boney wrote:They took an existing, flawed methodology presumably because a set of isolated figures would have been even less relevant to any existing discussion of the subject. It seems it was meant as a starting point.

If they'd refected on it and summised 'we're doing pretty good compared to those manly post-rock fuckers' they'd probably not have bothered.
I'm not sure they would necessarily have reached that conclusion though or made that comparison

I don't think anyone particularly deserves a pat on the back, nobody should be complacent and attitudes and behaviours should be called up on, I've said what I need to say on this (and probably repeated myself and am in danger of repeating myself again)

I'll stop now, I have to anyway, it's time for work

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Mon Jul 30, 2012 08:19

a fog of ideas wrote:
boney wrote:They took an existing, flawed methodology presumably because a set of isolated figures would have been even less relevant to any existing discussion of the subject. It seems it was meant as a starting point.

If they'd refected on it and summised 'we're doing pretty good compared to those manly post-rock fuckers' they'd probably not have bothered.
I don't think anyone particularly deserves a pat on the back, nobody should be complacent and attitudes and behaviours should be called up on, I've said what I need to say on this (and probably repeated myself and am in danger of repeating myself again)

I'll stop now, I have to anyway, it's time for work
Totally agree. There are other aspects to the gender discussion with indiepop as well. Such as why it's (relatively) more gender normative for females than males (discuss). I know a fair few people who are actively turned off from indiepop because of this, regardless of whether they might like some of the musics.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Mon Jul 30, 2012 08:19

Yeah I've missed my regular train now. Bobbins.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by MJHibbett » Mon Jul 30, 2012 08:41

I'm with boney on this one - there's no need to take it personally. Disagree with the methodology or what you imply from the findings, but just because someone asks a question there's no need to throw a fit about it. I think this forum spends enough time slagging off other things to be able to cope with a tiny bit of self-criticism.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by MJHibbett » Mon Jul 30, 2012 08:43

tonightwefly wrote:(like, really, how have we ended up in the position where the vast, vast majority of indiepop fans are white and middle-class?).
How do you know the vast majority of indiepop fans are middle-class?

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by a layer of chips » Mon Jul 30, 2012 08:50

What I find slightly odd about the blog piece is that it implies that by simply having a nice, neat 50/50 split then things will be fine. I think it's a bit more complicated than simply totting a few numbers up. I couldn't care less whether it's a man or a woman or a transgender person trying to point out that women are still victimised in wider society. The Smiths taught me that it was cool to be unmacho, Redskins told me you could dress up like a six foot skin and still want to further the cause of women, and Huggy Bear showed me you could still be a man in a band and be a militant feminist. I'm not sure there's any worth at all in making up the numbers because it smacks a little of tokenism. And, y'know, not every woman in a band is a feminist.

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Re: gender equality and indiepop

Post by boney » Mon Jul 30, 2012 09:07

Well said. Tokenism and quotas are bob. You encourage more people into stuff in other ways, through presences as you described . I think people generally aim to put on balanced bills anyway, even if they're not explicitly mindful of the gender split, without compromising or patronising anyone.

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