I’ve never understood the necessity in remarking on the gender of an artist whilst perusing their offerings, whether it be audible or by sight. My first thought is always: ‘Do I like this?’ and if so, ‘why?’ I’ve never found any sense in stating obvious comments such as: ‘female singer’ or ‘all female band.’
Perhaps it’s because I’m not a man. Perhaps it is because I am not trying to attract anyone’s attention before they’ve even heard or seen me. I would also like to think it’s blatantly obvious by my name alone, requiring no pointless introduction.
The worst culprits, of course, are some of these artists themselves. In a desperate attempt to conquer the competition, they’re all too willing to exploit themselves in order to entice the opposition (disguising their insecurities along the way) by focussing on body parts instead of song content. It reeks of desperation, which is precisely what it is. Long gone are the days when talent triumphed, and that same talent is what brought them to our attention in the first place.
I write as a human being. My lyrics resonate with those who choose to engage. My fan base, coincidentally, happens to be 90% male, just in case you were wondering…
During the last 12 months, there have been constant demands throughout the music industry for a 50:50 split between male and female musicians who are featured on radio playlists. If done authentically, this would be a good thing, as it would represent a plethora of artists from differing genres. Sadly, this isn’t the case, as week in, week out, our eyes and ears are deceived by songs and sessions which are predominantly male – bashing acoustic guitars. Occasionally there’s a bunch of them, consisting of an electric four or five-piece outfit complete with drums. This all depends on the bias of course, and who is presenting the programme. I am rather fond of a masculine ensemble – I have one myself – but the point I’m trying to make is that they are persistently favoured by BBC Introducing, who repeatedly insist that we need more women in music. So much for equal opportunities! These chaps, take note, are never referred to as an ‘all-male’ band or ‘male artist.’ Could it be that it’s covertly irrelevant?
There are indeed ‘all women’ playlists, a producer’s prerogative. I’ve featured on them myself, but to me it was just a set of songs, some of which I liked. Gender bore no relevance. Imagine the outrage if an ‘all male’ playlist was announced, such words, of course, would never be allowed to be spoken.
Getting back to my point, there has never been a need to make an issue of it all. Obsessing on gender creates a breeding ground for ‘ists’ and ‘isms’ which can then begin to distract and divide. It steers us away from what should be the most important factor: “Who is this and do I want to hear more by this individual or band?”
Artists, as in painters, have it easier. They are never judged on how they look and nor do they particularly care. It’s always about their work, and more so, what type of medium they use, is it: watercolour, oils, pastels, pencil, chalks, et al. Once again, its bounced back to the viewer who can ask themselves: “Do I actually like this?” and “why?” instead of “Was it done by a man or a woman” or “Is our exhibition sexist?” I’m pretty (or handsomely if you like) sure they have far more pressing things to be troubled about, such as finishing what they’ve started.