“I’m sure you’ve seen the bareness of women to play Reading & Leeds Festival via edited posters, but, the last band featuring a woman to headline the mainstage there was Paramore in 2014 – let that sink in”.
It seems that now in 2021 every time a festival line-up is announced there is an uproar and lingering distaste left in the mouths of music fans in the UK. If you’ve been living under a rock during the series of lockdowns, let me explain – the lack of gender diversity and the general inclusivity when it comes to our beloved summer festivals has been overwhelming this year especially. It’s led to people even putting on their own festivals made up entirely of women, trans, and non-binary artists as people just can’t bottle the frustration anymore – and rightly so.
People are questioning why these line-ups are so dominated by men; when amazing artists that aren’t men like Nova Twins, WARGASM (UK), and Wolf Alice are about. I’m sure you’ve seen the bareness of women to play Reading & Leeds Festival via edited posters, but, the last band featuring a woman to headline the mainstage there was Paramore in 2014 – let that sink in.
You see, music is one of the very few things where people can feel accepted and represented just by hearing someone or seeing someone on stage that may look like them or share the same views. This is why it’s so important for our industry to be as inclusive as it can possibly be – do you think the people who’re fighting for diversity at festivals would be doing it if they felt represented? The anger has to come from somewhere; it also doesn’t help in any way when people deny that there’s a problem, that only increases the frustration and makes the backlash ten times bigger than it was before.
Quite frankly it’s no secret that genres such as metal, indie-rock, and punk are male-dominated, it makes things feel very grey sometimes – and no that’s not me saying there aren’t any good bands with men in or that I don’t listen to bands with men. Yet when you find women or trans people doing even better in a disadvantageous setting, the scene becomes colourful, exciting, and bloody powerful to say the least. What a lot of people don’t realise is that if you aren’t a man you don’t get the same privileges as we do, this applies to the music industry especially. Not being a man in this industry is an automatic risk, you’re seen by many as an easier target which is absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. Misogyny has been woven tightly into this industry going all the way back when women weren’t taken seriously for playing guitar, bass, or drums for example. They were unfairly written off, for their gender – do you see a pattern here?
Misogyny has always run rife in this industry, if you didn’t know that you’re either living under a rock or blinded by something, from these dismal circumstances movements that are nothing short of empowering and inspiring have been born though. The whole “Riot Grrrl” movement in the 90s paved the way for a generation of new artists in punk and alternative rock, pioneers were angry and took the stage. Kathleen Hanna, Vivien Goldman, Joan Jett, Siouxsie Sioux, and Polystyrene were all women brave enough to stand up in these genres and break down right stupid stereotypes. Of course, that happened in punk though, not being a white man in that scene is instantly more punk because you’ll be scrutinised endlessly more than a man.
But can the same happen in indie-rock? Grassroot artists who campaign and break the stereotype such as Ynes, Venus Grrrls, and Sprints by recruiting and embracing punk in this Indie era – and it certainly isn’t a facade. To be able to stop this never-ending cycle of just men being at the top for no reason other than being a man we must campaign together and drill it into the people that deny this happens for this reason, that it is a very real issue – one that has been happening for far too long. How much longer can their talent be denied in this industry?
*We do not own any rights to the featured image. Source: Google*