Men Who Rock! Funny Because it's Sexist (and True).

Those of us who’ve been paying attention for, oh, EVER know that women in the music industry are given sexist special treatment by the media. “How did someone so pretty get so good at guitar?” “Who helps you carry those heavy instruments?” “Isn’t it hard being a woman in a man’s world?” “Do you worry about finding a husband and having babies?” “Where do you buy your stage outfits” and so on. Questions that men, the default when it comes to music journalism, are rarely asked.

In this week’s edition of The Stranger, Emily Nokes and Bree McKenna hilariously turn sexist music journalism on its head with their local bands feature “Men Who Rock!”

Stranger cover featuring a white shirtless man looking coyly at the camera. The words Men Who Rock are under him.
Guys who aren’t afraid to get their rock on!

Like all good parodies, this feature highlights problems so common we’ve pretty much stopped noticing them. For example, the tendency of stories written about women musicians to discuss looks first and music second, or the notion that women musicians are trendy and “happening.” Here’s the intro to “Men Who Rock!”:

It’s that time of year again—time to pay attention to the men who rock, FOR A CHANGE! Everyone knows that there is nothing sexier (or more rare) than a man who knows how to rock. Being a gorgeous man in music is one thing, but add talent to the mix? That’s taking it to a whole ‘nother level. With male-fronted bands, male solo acts, and even all-male bands becoming more and more commonplace, 2012 has definitely been the year of fierce men in music.

The feature includes interviews with six Seattle-area men musicians, accompanied by the kind of photos that are usually taken of women (think bare midriffs, coy gazes, and roses). They’re eye-opening and hilarious, but the best part is the questions Nokes and McKenna asked in their interviews. A sampling:

I’m not one to argue that what’s good for the objectified goose is good for the gander (we’re better off with no sexism, not double the amount), but these interviews are funny not because of the shirtless pics, but because they get at a larger truth: Women are treated this way by the media all the time and men aren’t. We laugh because it’s absurd, but if these interviews were with women, the douche-y infantilization and focus on looks probably wouldn’t even register. Don’t believe me? Check out Rolling Stone’sWomen Who Rock!” issue. Here’s the style video of this year’s cover artist, Karmin. You can get Amy’s hairstyle!

Hair is such a great way to express yourself.

Aaand the Stranger feature becomes that much more relevant (and sadlarious). Read the full piece here and see how “Men Are Doing It For Themselves.”

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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8 Comments Have Been Posted

As a female musician in

As a female musician in Seattle, this seriously ticked me off. Men get so much fucking attention here. Women are very over looked. Sad sad shit.

You're making a big mistake

You're making a big mistake if you think this is some kind of sexism. Don't blame the men because more attention is paid to them. Ask yourself who is paying attention and why... You might as well blame football players because more people don't watch women's golf.

I love it! Brilliant parody.

I love it! Brilliant parody. Now, let's ask Seattle women who rock those questions typically reserved for dudes and let them pose with their clothes on!

Rolling Stone video is a poor example

I didn't detect any sexism in the Rolling Stone video you posted. It was a woman and a man duo, talking about their music and the trajectory of their career. Amy did the lion's share of the talking and appeared confident. She didn't seem to be asked any questions about babies or makin' it in a man's world — nor anything infantalizing.

You pick on her for saying "Hair is such a great way to express yourself" but this comes up because she explicitly invents new hairstyles herself. Musicians have been incorporating style and visual aesthetics into their performances since time immemorial. (What about Kiss? What about Lady Gaga? What about David Bowie? What about Mozart?) They aren't shallow for doing so; it's just another kind of creativity or embellishment, the same kind that goes into stage design or album art or music videos.

"Hair is such a great way to express yourself"? I agree! My half-shaved-off queer haircut certainly expresses something. Every medium can be an artistic medium and there's no reason to exclude our own bodies. Asking an artist or performer about an aspect of their appearance *when that is an explicit and self-conscious part of their cultivated aesthetic* (as it is in Amy's case) is not out line. And an artist answering such a question does not make them shallow or superficial or ditzy or objectified.

An example I noticed

An example I noticed immediately was in the artist info. about Karmin (not the video) which states: "Her verbal dexterity alone would be jaw-dropping coming from anyone, never mind a young girl from Nebraska styled like a Forties film star in a black corset and ruby-red lipstick."

Oh no. Women had standards

Oh no. Women had standards lowered to the point where it's surprising that they can be either talented or good looking to make lots of money. And, if they can be both, they hit the jackpot of fame and money!

Yup, satirical article is actually satire of women. The men are expected to be attractive and talented just to make it. Women - pick one and you'll make it. Get two and you rise above, while similarly talented and attractive men are still average to society.

Lots of laughs, in this and the linked articles. Thanks.

Another way to "cry wolf" to say "reverse sexism"

There was an article written by a male-feminist that debunked the whole "reverse sexism" claim from men. His points are valid, honest, and intelligent. I actually whipped out his article (via mobile) several times to debunk people. If we take a look at history we find a long trail of sexism towards women and girls. Even in indigenous Cree Tribes..there was one tribe that the women and girls were treated so badly that wives often killed their own female babies to spare them the horrors of being married off. There are a lot of leading organizations that fight sexism, pornography, rape, etc. that are founded by MEN. So the excuse for (some) men's lack of sexual maturity is just pathetic. We supposedly live in a civilized country (America) but it really isn't, we actually rank low on the list for gender equality while other countries out rank us....even countries that mainstream media has taught us are (third-world) .......a good example of how pathetic sexism in American Males are...would be that of a contrasting comparison between the African Aka Tribe.
The Aka men believe that making sure the wife is happy means the kids will have a healthy life. These people live in the middle of nowhere with no electricity, so books, etc. Respect, empathy, and compassion is just a part of their everyday lives. In fact the fathers hold their children more than 60% of the time. They even take their kids to their laps with conversing with other male friends. There is something to be said about that. American men have so many educational resources, and if with all that, you have the sexual immaturity, that is an equivalent of Hugh Hefner, Ron Jeremy, or 50 Cent, please do us all a favor, grow up....grow up so that you don't have to add to the growing rate of young sexually impotent males. Fact, the highest (total) sale of prescription medicine, sold today is viagra/ isn't because of the growing number of seniors ...its actually because younger men are failing to perform properly due to desensitization. Don't believe me....ask Norman Doidge who wrote "the brain that changes itself" or Professor Robert Jensen...Sorry guys but sexism isn't' helping you at all.

Dicks With Pricks in the Music Industry

I've been in the music industry since I was 17 years old when I joined a rock band. I started writing and singing when I was 3 years old. For years I had to contend with the dicks with pricks within the music industry. Typically when asked to meet an A&R executive at his office at his mogul headquarters or the President one of the first lines which always came out of their mouths was this: "How big are your tits?" Then there was "come up to my hotel room" after I worked my heart out rehearsing a band for a showcase, spending my precious valuable time creating music materials and inviting the record label executives. Then there was Ahmet Ertegun who invited me to perform for him on the piano privately. I was hoping and banking on a record deal but the prick son of a feces tried to get me to give him head instead. As you are well aware I didn't fuck or screw my way anywhere, so of course I'm not famous, but just the same today I called over to Sony trying to see if Bob Dylan may want to make a duet with me. I have asked a number of people cause I really dig on duets and I like most of Bob Dylan's music. A prick named Richard answered and as soon as he heard I was a female he started talking down at me and mocking me, belittling me, and basically just hung up on me. I looked up Sony's profit columns and stock statements and they have lost tons of money, that is, they claim because of external circumstances that they are losing billions of dollars. Not so though. It's their internal problems and hiring assholes like Richard. I called Richard back basically and told him this in essence: Listen, I just go done doing service for this country and I just don't have time for ignoramuses like you. I protected your asses and if I want to get back to doing music I will. Without humbling himself or apologizing and in a condescending attitude he said with that language (as if he was going to teach me and control the way I spoke as his puppet) he was.... I told him that the next time I speak to Sony it will be with his bosses and yes Bob Dylan so they can know what stupid fuckers are running their show and what senseless tactics they are using to front them and told him to fuck himself and hung up on him. Ya see, there are a lot of artists I wouldn't mind doing duets with or working with and Bob Dylan is not the only one and I know he doesn't know what pure assholes are working for him either, so I got a hold of a woman who heads up the executive chain of command at Sony and told her a thing or two about profits and Sony, and why they are losing out. Purely, they are hiring some of the biggest male asses and imbeciles that are pushing investors, artists, and respectable buyers away and told her that she shouldn't hire people like "Richard" either. I have nothing to lose actually but I'll take someone's prick first before I endure the abuses and misconduct of the male industry executives again and I'll shove that prick right inside his arrogant mouth. I hate being a victim and from herein out anyone who dares to disrespect me is playing with some fire they won't be able to handle when I get through with them. One day I'll tell you about the megalomaniac David Lee Roth who exploited and used me in some of his albums and was a violent, psychotic, pedophile, rapist, maniac too and how all these people worship his type and him. Bitch ought to know about this one! From one special Bitch: Beautiful, Intelligent, Top, Candid, Healer

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