Tag Archive: misogyny

staff card pic_200x300A Lecturer in Popular Music at a British Higher Education institution, Denigrata Herself is undertaking her PhD in women in extreme metal. She is also the front woman/guitarist in Denigrata, an experimental black metal collective. Denigrata have coined the term noir concrête for their music, meaning the avant-garde dark noise initiated by Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen finds a different rhizomatic existence within their contemporary black metal performance space.

Denigrata Herself is a gender theorist whose research and publications to date focus on body performativity, reclamation of female space, tattooing, graphic novels, death metal and black metal. She is part of the International Society for the Study of Metal Music (ISMMS) and sits on various academic and equal rights boards in the UK.

For over a decade she was a lead guitarist in British death metal bands, she was signed to and worked for various independent record labels and now devotes her time to lecturing, researching and performing. She is choir master for her departmental chamber choir and presents annual post-modern renderings of canonical classical pieces with her choir, a string quartet, a contemporary band and Ableton performers.

The Problem With the Music Industry: Where Women Fear to Tread…

By Denigrata Herself, Senior Lecturer in Popular Music and Contributing Writer, HorizonVU Music


Anybody who has read the above link (if you haven’t, please do) will be as shocked as I was at the content. I AM shocked, but not at all surprised. Whilst this is a different genre than the one I’m involved with, there are glaringly frightening parallels…10 Hottest Women in Rock or Metal or Indie…what does it matter what the genre is?! Why is this even a thing?! There is a system in place that protects abusers whilst the women who have to deal with shitty behaviour are often too scared to speak out (Dr Luke, Bill Cosby, Jimmy Saville, that Saudi millionaire who said he tripped and fell into a girl’s vagina http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/12/saudi-millionaire-rape-charge.html# ). Will we lose our jobs, will we get punched in the face or worse, will we lose everything we have worked for?

Simply put, the music industry has a serious problem with sexism and misogyny, anyone who has been following the Kesha situation can see that. Our society is engineered to believe men, to listen to men and to protect and defer to them. There is a terrible and very damaging ethos to not listen to women or believe them. It is systemic, it is institutional and it’s a massive fucking problem. I was stunned that Sony chose to hide behind their ‘contractual obligations’, rather than realise they are protecting a rapist. How can they be ok with this?! Sony, if any of you happen to read this, WHAT THE FUCK?! Seriously, what on earth do you think you’re doing? A woman should be free to have creative control over her art, without having to deal with her abuser. And yes, the clatter of the keyboard warriors shouting ‘what if she’s lying?!’ Because that’s easier isn’t it? To blame the victim rather than open your eyes to the far greater problem of a systemic and very well protected masculinist structure.

Honestly, I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of women being assaulted, of not being listened to, women not being believed and women having to prove themselves before anyone will take them seriously. We have to prove our musical worth, our academic worth and also be willing to play the sexualisation game. I just want to be me, play the music I love and not have to worry about being targeted at a gig or to worry for the women who come to the shows. At some point, men are going to need to step up. As Eve Ensler says. I’m tired of good men doing nothing.

It is far too easy to say ‘but I’m not like that, I don’t behave like that or treat women badly’ but when you look at the stats (97% of rapists receive no punishment, 1 in 3 women are murdered a week by a current or former spouse – here is a link to some more stats – http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/06/us/domestic-intimate-partner-violence-fast-facts/ ), then we have a very serious problem on our hands. In short, this is femicide and as provocative as this term is, we cannot shut our eyes to it anymore.

The following diagram demonstrates, in an echo Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs, how something as throw away as a joke contributes to the damaging culture we are forced to exist within.
The Pyramid of Misogyny
The moment you start to debase someone through language, you start to chip away at their humanity. The more you objectify women (yes, dear Media, this rests with you), the more you turn women into objects. And when that happens, you can treat those objects any way you like, because they are nothing, they are worthless.

The hegemony’s job is to reproduce its own structures and ideologies consistently, so it gives the impression of an institution in perpetuity, that ‘it’s always been like this’. No. It hasn’t. And it needs to stop. Women should not have to worry about their safety because they are musicians, or journalists or audience members, or WOMEN. We are reaching a crisis point that will mean there is either a revolution or there will be no women left. At a rate of 1 in 3 women murdered a week that is precisely the direction we are heading in.

I am done with patriarchy, I am done with men not willing to step up and I am done with women who internalise the misogyny. Wake the fuck up. The time is now.

Photo Credit: Cultura/Steve Prezant

By Amy Zimmerman

Originally Posted 26 August 2015 at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/26/women-s-music-industry-horror-stories-abuse-sexism-and-erasure.html

Women’s Music Industry Horror Stories: Abuse, Sexism, and Erasure

Women took to Twitter to share their tales of music biz struggles. Their heartbreaking stories paint a disturbing portrait of an industry rife with misogyny.

On Monday, Pitchfork Senior Editor Jessica Hopper asked the Twitterverse: “Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn’t ‘count’?” What followed were hundreds of responses, mostly detailing the tragic timeline of any chick who dares to like music, thus infringing on the safe spaces of country bros and alt-rock dudes. Hopper’s retweets tell a pretty predictable story: girl develops interest in a music scene, girl is endlessly scrutinized and told that her fandom is illegitimate/invalid, girl is mistaken for a groupie or a girlfriend, girl is harassed/groped/assaulted at shows.

Various tropes are repeated over and over again, like a riff you’ve heard too many times before: an aspiring bassist being told by a music teacher that bass is for boys, or a teenager being asked by her dubious male classmates to recite a band’s entire discography in order to prove her fan cred. The narrative gets even more disturbing and specific when you start charting the testimonials of women who pursued careers as musicians, sound engineers, executives, and journalists. The recurring message is that, for women, the music industry is a Banksy-designed Choose Your Own Adventure book, with each career path containing its own lady-specific land mines.

Rampant misogyny is the music industry’s worst kept secret. Recently, legendary rapper—and the richest musician on the planet—Dr. Dre finally apologized for a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse against women. The apology stemmed from outrage over Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A biopic, which topped the box office without addressing Dre’s problematic past. In her essay “Here’s What’s Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up,” rapper and television personality Dee Barnes described the night in 1991 when Dre “straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom.” Dre later told Rolling Stone, “It ain’t no big thing—I just threw her through a door.” He pleaded no contest to Barnes’s assault charges and settled with her out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Dre’s history of violence against women was similarly uncontested. Everyone knew that Dr. Dre beat up women—they just didn’t really care. Michel’le, an R&B singer and Dr. Dre’s former girlfriend, explained, “I’ve been talking about my abuse for many, many years, but it has not gotten any ears until now,” before detailing how her relationship with one of hip-hop’s greats left her with “black eyes, a cracked rib and scars.” Singer Tairrie B is Dre’s third known music industry victim—the rapper punched her twice in the face at a Grammys after party in 1990. Straight Outta Compton director (and Barnes’s ex-cameraman) F. Gary Gray explained away the exclusion of these incidents by insisting that “we had to make sure we served the narrative… it wasn’t about side stories.”

The injustices that women face in the music industry range from micro (“no, I’m not dating someone in the band, and no, I don’t want to date you”) to debilitating (assault and/or constant fear of violence).

After decades of having his assault history dismissed as extraneous, Dr. Dre’s short New York Times apology feels like an insultingly small price to pay for his barely blemished legacy. Dre is currently enjoying the success of his new album Compton; the sale of his unfortunately named music company, Beats by Dr. Dre, made him the self-proclaimed “first billionaire in hip-hop.” Meanwhile, Dee Barnes was “blacklisted” from the industry by hip-hop insiders who didn’t want to jeopardize their relationships with the all-powerful D-R-E.

Straight Outta Compton doesn’t just erase Dre’s female victims—it also denies the influence of his female contemporaries. Female artists like J.J. Fad, Jewell, The Lady of Rage, Michel’le, and Tairrie B are notably absent from the biopic. Apparently, any woman who isn’t a half-naked groupie or a video girl is chopping block fodder in F. Gary Gray’s interpretation of the hip-hop world. While the history of women in hip-hop runs parallel to the story that Straight Outta Compton tells, it’s effectively silenced. When N.W.A’s swagger is so amplified, and Dr. Dre’s apology so well-executed as to appear almost sincere, it’s easy to ignore the female artists and victims who have spent decades screaming to be heard. Imagine an industry where the presence of women is not only discouraged, but also flat-out denied—that’s the vision that earned F. Gary Gray a $24.2 million opening day.

In her essay, Barnes writes that, “Accurately articulating the frustrations of young black men being constantly harassed by the cops is at Straight Outta Compton’s activistic core. There is a direct connection between the oppression of black men and the violence perpetrated by black men against black women. It is a cycle of victimization and reenactment of violence that is rooted in racism and perpetuated by patriarchy.” That being said, labeling hip-hop culture (i.e. black men) as the main source of music industry misogyny is a gross misreading of the cycle that Barnes is describing. No, black men are not inherently more violent—no, movie theaters, you do not have to request increased security in preparation for black fans at Straight Outta Compton showings.

Obviously, hip-hop is a handy scapegoat for #AllLivesMatter advocates and their similarly addled forebears. Making America great again all too often seems to involve chastising rappers for violent videos, while ignoring the deeply dysfunctional music cultures flourishing just left of the dial. What Hopper’s Twitter disruption does so well is highlight how misogyny plagues the music industry at large. As any college-aged girl will tell you, a penchant for alternative scenes and liberal politics can often mask some abhorrently outdated ideas about gender. A Bikini Kill T-shirt does not a male feminist make. The initial betrayal comes when a female outsider leaves mainstream scenes on a quest for a more niche set of sounds and sites—only to find that even in the big wide alternative world, women are still ostracized as other and less than.

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