Before the actual dancey-music-fun-times Capitol Hill Block Party began, otherwise known as the “festival” portion, I attended a speaker series which was totally free and totally informative. Seriously though. I think people (myself included) underestimate how accessible these kinds of events are. If you’re interested in music, there are so many ways to volunteer (and/or get an unpaid internship) and so many free, awesome events that provide you with KNOWLEDGE. Anyway, I specifically want to talk about the second panel, “Gender Equality in Music.” During this panel, Lindsay Hood, Hollis Wong Wear, Jane Booker, and Adra Boo talked about their experiences with being women in the music industry.
The panel began with a discussion revolving around the lack of female-oriented bands at festivals. A picture of the CHBP lineup was shown on a projector next to a picture of an altered version of the lineup–bands with women in them remained while the rest disappeared. Based on the image, they mentioned that CHBP did a much better job at representing women, but that as a society, we still have a long way to go. They also interestingly mentioned that it’s weird that we have to call them “girl bands” when male-oriented bands are not referred to as “boy bands” (unless you’re like, the Backstreet Boys or One Direction, but you know what I mean.) One panelist pointed out that a lot of the bands on the roster, yes, had girls in the band, but the majority had a higher ratio of men to women–something that happens a lot in numerous festivals.
There were bands at CHBP that consisted of only women, like Chastity Belt and Thunderpussy for instance. I unfortunately didn’t see those two (although I did see Chastity Belt a couple years back at the Vera stage and they were amazing.) There were quite a few bands that I saw that consisted of mostly men and one woman, which got me thinking back to the panelists’ points. It’s weird that “girl bands” and “bands that consist of one woman” are placed into the same category. However, I want to make my own point, which is this: a woman can still have a significant role in a band, even if there are multiple men in it as well. I don’t want that statement to undermine the hardships women go through in the music industry, or any creative industry for that matter. One of my best friends is the only woman in her band, alongside five other men. It gets to be really hard for her at times, where people even make statements like, “I didn’t know a girl was in that band!” Which I personally think is absurd because she carries so much of the talent that’s put into the music. My point is, some of my favorite acts consisted of bands with several men and one woman, but those single women were the ones who carried the show.
Cristina Vazquez de Mercado | KXSU Reporter