Take a look at these photos. What are some things that you notice? You might notice that they are some of your favorite bands and bands that you have listened to and look up to for years. You might notice the look on all of these faces that portray a mix of exhaustion and elation that comes with finishing a successful tour. I notice one thing in particular. A majority of the people in these photos are white males and each photo portrays a complete lack of diversity in almost every sense. Look at festival and current tour lineups and you will see something very similar. It is no surprise that most of the music industry is a “boys club,” but as a woman who works in music and who knows many amazing women who also work in music it is completely disheartening to see full tours made up of only males.
Luckily for us women, men have now begun to take notice. A recent tweet sent out by Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low says it perfectly, “We need more ladies.” And while that is all fine and good pointing out lack of representation isn’t enough anymore it’s time to do something about it. If you are in a position of power and you are using your voice to promote diversity in music but you aren’t actively doing anything about it, then you are still a part of the problem. Do not just hop on to the diversity bandwagon because it has become trendy or for the likes, if you don’t actually care about representation then that is fine, but don’t take away the voice of others who do or pretend like you do.
I understand how it works, most bands hire people they know and sometimes it just turns out that the people that they felt comfortable taking out on tour with them were all male. It happens. Just please, don’t advocate for having a more diverse music scene if you have no intentions of doing any thing to change it.
This change does not have to come only through the direct hiring of your crew, there are a large number of ways to make diversity happen around you without abandoning the crew or team you have had for years. For example, there are plenty of bands with female members who produce quality music and are available to tour. Try partnering with a non-profit that supports women and do your best to make your shows safe by perpetuating a culture that is accepting of women and other minorities. It doesn’t have to be something big or extravagant, like an all female staff, just please do something!
When Alex was questioned by his many twitter followers, the majority being young females with a strong interest in music, he proceeded to say “Don’t put this on us.” So, if it is not the responsibility of the artist then whose responsibility is it? Whose responsibility is it to make sure that music is in inclusive space where everyone can feel like they belong and feel like they are represented? The answer is simple. It is on all of us. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist, a crew member, a promoter, or a fan, we are all responsible for curating a community where everyone feels included and represented. We are all capable of making a change in this scene.
Now this isn’t coming from a place of malice or ill intentions. Instead it is coming from an intense place of love for music and this scene in particular. As fans of music, it is our job to call out this scene and encourage everyone to be better and to make it a more inclusive space for everyone to enjoy. So boys, if you actually want to hire more females, or promote diversity in the music industry, instead of just talking about it don’t worry there are plenty who are qualified and ready to work. And in regard to your bullshit twitter feminism, Shania Twain said it best when she said “That don’t impress me much.”