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!”
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:
- How does it feel to play music in a largely male environment? It has to be scary or overwhelming at times.
- How did such an attractive group of guys decide to play music together?
- Do you want children someday? How does your career in music affect your plans for a family?
- Most men can barely play one instrument—how did you learn both guitar and bass?
- Do you set up your own gear?
- We’ve seen you rocking a few different hairstyles—how do you do it?
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’s “Women 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.”