Female Musicians- whassup?

Just to start, I know it would be great if we could live in a world where a person was just a musician, regardless of gender, but we’re not there yet. I’m not trying to point a finger right now ir start a big debate on nomenclature, just curious to speak to more women in a similar situation…

I stumbled upon SheShreds magazine the other day and it totally took me by surprise. I’d never seen so many inspiring female guitarists in one place. I didn’t realise till then how male the music/guitar industry, and hence the content, magazines, advertising etc really is- I’m just so used to it being that way and never questioned it.

I am a woman. I also like to play guitar- a lot. I also know that, contrary to what one might assume, there are lots of us out there.

I do however think that me and others like me are very underserved by the music community as it stands- there are still such poor levels of representation of female musicians at all levels, which is really demotivating… I’ve been called a singer-songwriter while a male counterpart, despite being of the same technical level, and having an almost identical role, is referred to as a musician… It felt like a subtle manifestation of the assumption that girls just aren’t good guitarists (false).

I guess I just wanted to know people’s own experiences, and what they think needs to be done? For me, the simple power in going on that SheShreds site and SEEING these women talk openly about their profession was just so F***ing refreshing. I wanted to kiss my screen.

oh woman that’s whassup!


Was a bit worried about this…given the thread title and the unknown opening poster…luckily my fears were unfounded!

In terms of discussion…well as a white male I must’ve been fairly happy with the status quo for years when I first got into music. Only more recently have I wondered why 80/90% of bands I liked were male-fronted. FWIW, I think a good proportion (perhaps even a majority) of exciting guitar music/generic “indie” around is being made by women

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Ha… re-read the title and understand the apprehension now lol.

I guess what I was trying to get at was more the world around playing music- every youtube guitar tutorial I watched was a dude, every guitar magazine I bought was very male-focussed (or with a token half-naked girl on the cover), all the people I played music with growing up were guys and I was definitely singled out as a novelty item. I’m not knocking any of that (except the sexist ads), it’s just an observation.

Like I said I didn’t notice it before but i think that stuff definitely builds up and discourage lots of female players from really sticking at it.

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I’m not a woman, I’m a bloke, but I just wanted to chime in and say there is no shame in being called a singer/songwriter!

Joni Mitchell is one of my favourite artists, male or female, and if someone who had never heard the name (is that possible?) asked me who she was, I would be much more likely to say she was a “singer/songwriter” than a “musician”, though obviously she is both.

For a pretty long time now (since around the age of 18?), I’ve been kind of proud (in a knowingly smug way) of the fact that the ratio in my listening / gig attending habits has been fairly well-balanced. I made the mistake of thinking that meant the music industry was a generally accepting and supportive environment for women, which I think was a misguided assumption in light of a lot of what I’ve read and learned about.

Particularly in rock / indie music, some (fuck it, probably the majority) of the most interesting bands / artists are female-fronted or at least include women as members. I get very irked about when you see those wankers commenting re: male-dominated festival lineups with some shite about how it’s a meritocracy and women just aren’t interested in becoming “real” musicians and all that bollocks

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Realised in my early twenties how male dominated my music listening habits were so made a conscious decision to seek out more of a balance. Thank god I did, loads of great interesting stuff coming from female voices/other instruments in music right now and I dip into the past wherever I can; Sharon van Etten, angel Olsen, chastity belt, family band… I could go on and on.

Wasn’t this an actual thread on oldDiS? :confused:

Jeez. Though I won’t pretend it wasn’t a mindset I had as a young teenager, before soon after discovering and seriously getting into the likes of Broadcast, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, MBV, my dad’s Cocteau Twins albums, etc.

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Yeah, same for me unfortunately. I guess it can be a while before you start questioning the idea that there were other reasons (other than talent) that led to male musicians dominating my musical sphere.

Your Dad is cool!

I don’t even think the issue is gender these days but overall image, i don’t know about you by my pages are saturated with untalented pop and rap stars daily, male and female.
The bottom line is you are not in the industry to worry about what a person thinks about your look and gender, you are in it i presume to express yourself via music. So if one person categorizes you as different from a male then that is one persons opinion and one only.
If any male on this planet thinks we are the superior being then he is completely wrong.
on the same page more girls do vlogs and tutorials etc, is that criticizing men or being insensitive to men? no its just the way things have unfolded.

She Shreds is great

It’s too late to edit my post but I feel that I should mention High Places who were truly seminal to my young self and were arguably one of my most crucial influences musically

Don’t feel I’ve ever made a conscious decision to overlook one sex over the other but, yeah, pretty much all of my favourite bands from my formative years were/are male. I suppose that ties in with the fact that women have been sidelined / promoted less / taken less seriously. Not sure if there has been a shift in that culture recently but I can say personally that in the last few years most of my favourite discoveries have been females or female fronted bands - Big Thief, Nadine Shah, Susanne Sundfør, EMA, Kelly Lee Owens to name a few

I bought loads of guitar magazines as a kid that were typically 80s American and stuffed to the brim with perms, spandex, make-up…that was just the guys! Women were relegated to bimbo duties in holding guitars while being scantily-clad on adverts. Some of the same adverts still persist now in guitar magazines I’ve looked at recently which is very depressing and the majority of the content is still about male musicians. My two daughters constantly nag me about me not having enough female artists playing in the car and they want to learn instruments but trying to find musical female role-models for the guitar or drums is still a limited search sadly…but better than it was