Who's to blame for this disparity?
This may sound like stereotyping, but most of my male friends, the straight ones at least, don't listen—and won't listen—to female artists.
Part of me always knew this, but a recent trip with a bunch of dudes ignited a lightbulb in my brain that (spoiler alert!) we're mostly boring and predictable with our tastes in music, pop culture, and otherwise. After being tortured incessantly by hours of Bro Rock and Breaking Benjamin, it hit me: Not a single song played over the course of the entire weekend was sung by a female artist.
Why is that?
According to data from Spotify, based on a sample of five million subscribers, male users listened to 94.2 percent male artists, 3.3 percent female artists, and 2.5 percent mixed groups. Female listener habits were more diverse, as they listened to 55 percent male artists, 30.8 percent female artists, and 14.2 percent mixed groups. As Noisy uncovered, streaming platforms can share part of the blame. Research shows streaming service algorithms favor male artists when making recommendations and playlists. More streams means more visibility, which often leads to more festival bookings. It all helps produce a quite lopsided and gender-imbalanced music industry.
Then I thought about it further. I realized I don't even bother sharing female-fronted bands or singers with my male friends, because oftentimes my suggestions fall on deaf ears. That, in itself, is pretty messed up.
Growing up with an older brother in the late '80s certainly had its upsides, like having a music sensei guide me through grade school. But for every Faith No More album consumed, there was a Runaways disc to follow; for every Black Flag, an L7 lurked. It never dawned on me to see gender in music—if it was loud, thrashing, and in your face, chances are I connected with it. As I grew older, I consumed a steady diet of No Doubt, Garbage, Veruca Salt, Blondie, and more. But every time one of these female led tours came around, I'd attend alone or with a girlfriend. And despite the fact that I listened to 10 times more male artists than female, I was still known around the hallways as the kid who liked "chick rock"—certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but a semi-awkward circumstance that shadowed me in my middle- and high school days.
In the worst of cases (and most likely for kids concerned about reputation), toxic masculinity plays a big part. Straight males, or at least the most insecure of us, might feel that listening to Adele croon or just dancing with Lady Gaga might make us look a certain way (or even—gasp!—feel some kind of way). Whether it's a feeling of not wanting to be judged as soft or a mild (or major) case of homophobia, this could be part of the reason why males disassociate with music that is female-driven or perceived as feminine. Regardless of these varying degrees of toxicity, there are definitely issues with how some music listeners perceive masculinity and femininity and then self-identify or relate to those concepts.
Is there still a representation problem in the music industry? Very much so. According to a 2018 study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, out of the 600 most popular songs from 2012 to 2017, only 22.4 percent were performed by female artists, "and 2017 was a six-year low, with females comprising 16.8 percent of popular artists on the top charts." Spotify even created an equalizer that tells users how many men vs. women they listen to (and then will provide a more balanced gender breakdown in your playlists to fill the gaps). We could fall down rabbit holes about the number of artists labels sign by gender or even the amount of media coverage male artists receive over female artists, but that still wouldn't justify a user's intentional neglect of female singers. These disparities still don't account for why male listeners opt for Juice Wrld over Cardi B or listen to decades-old indie pop or trip-hop just to avoid giving Billie Eilish a shot.
But the problem is all around us everyday. The music industry, including our listening patterns, is a microcosm of pre-existing systemic issues of sexism. We're quick to discredit women and award credit to their male counterparts. How many times have we heard that Kurt Cobain wrote most of Hole's Live Through This? (Not true.) Tim Armstrong is frequently praised for The Distillers' success, nullifying Brode Dalle's ferocious growl and songwriting. Then there's The Donnas, a band that was consistently asked what it felt like to be in a "girl band"; they were also pitched by labels to drop their instruments in favor of choreographed dances. "We did get notes saying, 'Go home and play with your dolls,'" Donnas singer Brett Anderson once told Billboard. "We thought of ourselves as a rock band. Everyone else was constantly saying, 'And you're girls.' But we're not trying to be an 'all-girl band.' 'Being a girl' isn't a kind of music."
There's a correlation between these attitudes toward women in music and male patterns of listening, and much of that still needs to be corrected. And music journalism certainly bears some of the blame, too. Stories that boast the "Top 25 Female Guitarists" or the "100 Best Female Singer-Songwriters" aren't really helping spotlight these artists; rather, they're ranking them over there, adjacent but subordinate to the talent found in male-centric lists. It's all very patriarchal. The media's messages, especially for boys and youth growing up, can have damaging effects on the way one thinks about or views gender in music, and typically those ideologies can last long into adulthood.
But let's take a beat. This may feel like an ice-cold glass of haterade against my gender (it's not), but the sociology and psychology behind our choices never fails to fascinate. Understandably, not everything is for everyone, and I'd never argue that female musicians be placed on too high a pedestal. It's about balance (oh, and a little word we've been hearing lately—equality). But I don't understand a world in which a guy can't get down to the blazing beats of Robyn or those fire Haim harmonies. While music may be subjective, I find it hard to believe that males are less likely to be sucker-punched by an emotionally apocalyptic Fiona Apple song, or that masculine hearts are immune to Florence Welch's soaring pipes—or that the rock fury of Joan Jett or Shirley Manson doesn't summon as much fuck-you attitude as AC/DC or Foo Fighters.
We should strive to be open enough to give all kinds of artists a fair shot and at least try to battle against the overwhelming homogeneity in this world. After all, music, like any good art form, is about opening yourself up to others' experiences (and yes, finding new jams to get drunk to). Just please, enough with the Bro Rock. Anything but that.
- To Achieve Gender Equality in Music, We Need More Female ... ›
- Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, and the Sexist Backlash Against Female ... ›
- The Future of Rock Is Female - Popdust ›
- Haim Share New Song "I Know Alone": Listen - Popdust ›
- Artists make push for gender equality in music industry with all ... ›
- Tracking the Gender Balance of This Year's Music Festival Lineups ... ›
- The Music Industry Still Has A Long Way To Go For Gender Equality ›
- Music's biggest stars are women. Music festivals would make you ... ›
- Beyond Representation: In Music And Media, Gender Equality Will ... ›
- Equality for 'great women artists' is a long struggle, far from over ... ›
- 10 Best Female Artists of All time - Most Influential Female Artists ... ›
To Donald Trump: 5 Ways You're Actually a Flawless Being Doing a Beautiful, Unbelievable Job Right Now
You could resign if you want to, but then who will keep America so GD great?
With Donald Trump making a visit to Bangor, Maine today, the editorial board of the Portland Press Herald issued an op-ed calling for President Trump to resign.
The harshly critical piece entitled "To President Trump: You Should Resign Now" was framed as an open letter to the president and got straight to the point with this opening plea, "We're sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign."
In recent days even George W. Bush has been critical of President Trump's response to protests, so this new piece quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. Obviously this is another baseless attack from the lying news media—AKA lügenpresse. Considering how delicate our president's ego is—he's our special little guy—we can only hope that Donald Trump didn't see the letter; but just in case he did, it's worth writing another one to lift his spirits. So here's our best attempt—with lots of pictures and flattery to keep him reading:
You Know How to Look Tough<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTYyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTE5Nzc3M30.9B4CSWzpZGjBq7APFv_KJKf-QV8n2kEIYcBIOTUt02k/img.jpg?width=980" id="0a07e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="980538d3ccf27d180ce2f7e147f1259f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump eagle scared" /><p>Joe Biden is always trying to challenge you to push up contests or saying he would "<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/21/politics/joe-biden-donald-trump/index.html" target="_blank">beat the hell</a>" out of you, but you don't engage with that nonsense. You know that it's not important for a leader to actually be tough as long as you look tough. That's why you avoid protesters like the plague. In 2018 you <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests" target="_blank">canceled your London trip</a> amid protests there, and more recently, you authorized the use of violent force to disperse peaceful demonstrators <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-calls-tear-gas-reports-fake-news-protesters/story?id=71052769" target="_blank">so you could have a photo-op in front of a church</a>.</p><p>Whether it's because you don't want to be seen as having less than absolute control over the unruly crowds, or just because you pee a little bit whenever you're around political activism (probably that), we all owe you a debt of gratitude for avoiding any confrontation or engagement with <a href="https://www.popdust.com/jimmy-fallon-blackface-2646105674.html" target="_blank">the mass protests against police brutality</a> that are taking place throughout our country right now—why engage when you can just use more police brutality to avoid them altogether?! It's the only way for you to maintain that all-important facade of toughness that makes you undeniably the most respected current president of the United States. And now that you've <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/white-house-fence-protests-washington-1508703" target="_blank">surrounded the White House with two miles of barricade—</a>#BuildThatWall—we never have to worry about press cameras catching sight of a faint stain spreading out from the crotch of your pants.</p>
You Know Who the Real Enemy Is<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTYyMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNzg3NjY1M30.J6PsxmoxCL_8jSPRBcTHkFrHNRm7bgVmYzBcXmfDNHQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="c7b59" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f8a213c28f6c8ba27cef403b76ff012c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump after you tweet" /><p>Earlier this year FBI director Christopher Wray announced that racist domestic violence was <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/02/10/804616715/fbi-announces-that-racist-violence-is-now-equal-priority-to-foreign-terrorism" target="_blank">being prioritized just as much as foreign terror threats</a>. On one level that could be seen as a sign that white supremacy is a major problem in the US, and that perpetrators of deadly hate crimes should be labeled terrorists, but you know better—obviously, since you're both very stable and a genius. If we start labeling white people as terrorists, then it will just make it harder to keep stoking fears about Islam, bad hombres, and other brown people problems.</p><p>Besides, if white men can be bad guys too, then that could include you! And as we all know, an attack against you is <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7808431/Trump-channels-Uncle-Sam-tweet-saying-Democrats-just-way.html" target="_blank">actually an attack against all good, patriotic Americans</a>. Therefore the real enemy is anyone trying to aggressively call out and push back against white supremacy and white nationalism. That's why <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/antifa-group-trump-designate-terrorist-organization/story?id=71045287" target="_blank">you want to designate Antifa a terrorist organization</a>. Who cares that they <a href="https://www.factcheck.org/2020/06/trump-cant-designate-antifa-or-any-movement-domestic-terrorist-organization/" target="_blank">aren't even an organization at all—</a>it's just an ethos of publicly and aggressively confronting fascism and related ideologies. And who cares if there's no way to single out anti-fascist activism from wider, constitutionally protected protests like the Black Lives Matter movement?</p><p>Treating people who oppose you as terrorists will free you up to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52932611" target="_blank">unleash state violence</a>, <a href="https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance/watchlists" target="_blank">surveillance, and travel restrictions</a>. Besides, we already have <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52932611" target="_blank">a hyper-militarized police force</a>, which has worked out great—apart from a few "<a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/500328-national-security-adviser-blames-a-few-bad-apples-says-theres-not" target="_blank">bad apples</a>" (who seem to operate with impunity for some reason, right up until there's a mass uprising). So put "<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-my-generals-my-military-2017-10" target="_blank">your military</a>" to work and crack down on all of them with the full force of martial law! Or, as you put it, "<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2020-daily-trail-markers-trump-declares-we-will-dominate-the-streets/" target="_blank">Dominate the streets.</a>" Keep <a href="https://theintercept.com/2020/06/04/fbi-nypd-political-spying-antifa-protests/" target="_blank">interrogating protesters about their political beliefs</a>, and if enough of them end up too scared or too imprisoned or too dead to keep opposing you, you won't even have to take away their voting rights (although, we should look into that) to be a shoe-in for reelection!</p>
You Know that Free Speech Is Not as Important as Guns<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="528bc162ed6e6a07fe1e0245016bffff"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-K7XJGk8lyQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In your recent announcement that you were "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting," you said you were doing so "to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your second amendment rights." It was the only amendment you mentioned, and you even gave it some extra emphasis <a href="https://www.indy100.com/article/trump-second-amendment-speech-george-floyd-protests-9544011" target="_blank">as though encouraging "law-abiding Americans" to exercise their gun rights</a> in the face of rioting—because gun-toting Trump supporters to mass demonstrations of institutional racism and white supremacy will...calm things down?</p><p>We don't have to fully understand you to appreciate the fact that you skipped over that pesky first amendment—with the free speech and right to assemble that could get in the way of your military dominating the streets—and got to the important one. Maybe the "innocent" man you touted in your speech—<a href="https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2020/05/31/unfounded-trump-tweet-echoes-heavy-metal-guitarist-claim-that-antifa-beat-machete-wielding-dallas-man/" target="_blank">who chased after people in Dallas while wielding a machete—</a>wouldn't have been "savagely beaten," if he'd been wielding a gun instead. Besides, everyone knows that the only real enemies of free speech are <a href="https://www.popdust.com/mark-zuckerberg-trump-2646117777.html" target="_blank">private companies who call you out for "glorifying violence."</a> As long as the American people retain the right to retweet you with impunity, they have all the free speech they need, and they should stay inside and protest in ways that don't disrupt established order or do anything to upset the status quo (because no one has the right to make you pee a little bit).</p>
You Value the Economy<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1268968348278292484" id="twitter-embed-1268968348278292484" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1268968348278292484&created_ts=1591380605.0&screen_name=CNN&text=The+President+went+from+talking+about+jobs+to+praising+police.+Then+he+claimed+it%27s+a+%22great+day%22+for+the+man+whose%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FP3mMAREHMc&id=1268968348278292484&name=CNN" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="51cee049686210db564d6bbf94f563e3"></iframe><p>Every president knows that the maintaining the economy is important, but as a business man—with that eagle-eyed focus on short term growth that has <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-business-failures-were-very-real" target="_blank">led several of your businesses into bankruptcy</a>—you've made it clear that you value the economy more than anything else. Whether it's <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus-economy-models/index.html" target="_blank">the thousands of lives that will be lost</a> to the COVID-19 pandemic as we "reopen the economy" or t<a href="rgy-infrastructure-environmental-review-coronavirus" target="_blank">he dismantling of environmental regulations</a> that were getting in the way of cost-saving pollution, you don't let anything get in the way of a quick economic boost. You know that what's good for major industries today will be good for the American economy...also today.</p><p><span></span>Who cares about tomorrow?! We're having a hard time right now, and people want to <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/05/politics/trump-unemployment-numbers-protests/index.html" target="_blank">hear about how you've reduced unemployment</a>, not about 110,000 dead Americans or the necessity of police reform in the wake of <a href="https://www.popdust.com/derek-chauvin-hat-2646109506.html" target="_blank">George Floyd's murder at the hands of a police officer</a>. You can commemorate <a href="https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/" target="_blank">World Environment Day</a> by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-environment-oceans/trump-plans-to-open-atlantic-sanctuary-to-commercial-fishing-sources-idUSKBN23C26N" target="_blank">opening up ocean conservation areas to commercial fishing</a>. Have ocean fish populations been cut in half over the last 50 years? Sure, but that means we have at least another decade or two before <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/stories/report-million-extinctions-and-ecological-collapse-are-way" target="_blank">the total collapse of marine ecosystems</a>, and by then it will be some other jerk's problem!</p>
You Could Probably Cure COVID-19 if You Really Wanted<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTY4MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTQ4Njg1OX0.UrYXJOB4Wut0GXnPkWhdOIOzYHq4pAS3JSSKg2qvSlA/img.jpg?width=980" id="cad7c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4d96bd6d9c28bdbcb31a1d0c32f23083" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump covid tester" /><p>Thanks to the fact that you have your priorities in order, and are purely focused on the economy, you haven't worried too much about all this pandemic nonsense—by, for example, providing adequate testing or not stealing vital PPE and ventilators from the states. You did <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-confirms-that-donald-trump-tried-to-buy-firm-working-on-coronavirus-vaccine/" target="_blank">try to get Americans exclusive access to a potential vaccine—</a>which would really stick it to all those jerks dying in other countries—but that didn't really pan out, so you'll probably just have to until the economy's sorted out so you can come up with a cure yourself.</p><p>After all, you have "<a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/30/donald-trump-iq-intelligence-1347149" target="_blank">one of the highest</a>" IQs, "<a href="https://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/trump-foreign-policy-adviser-220853" target="_blank">a very good brain</a>", and "<a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-healthcare-us-medicine-coronavirus-centers-for-disease-control-a9384441.html" target="_blank">natural ability</a>" for medical science. It only took you a matter of moments and the most superficial level of thought to come up with a brilliant new avenue for research—injecting disinfectant into people's bodies—so you can probably have this whole thing sorted out in a day or two once you get around to it.</p>
- Maine Newspapers to Trump: “You Should Not Be Here” and “Resign” ›
- One of Maine's Largest Newspapers Calls on Trump to Resign as ... ›
- Portland Press Herald calls for Trump to resign as he prepares to ... ›
- To improve the US coronavirus response, Donald Trump should resign ›
- Our View: To President Trump: You should resign now - Portland ... ›
"Whoever said pop music doesn't have substance, clearly hasn't listened to Frances Rose"
-Indie Current's Editor-in-Chief Matt Pendrill