Something I read mentioned a classical music piece, so I look up videos, of course. One of the first choices is a female pianist. Amazing stunning beautiful playing. Since I have no classical music knowledge I look at the comments. To see if it’s ‘technically’ as impressive as it sounds. Just curious. Apparently it was. It was commented on many times **after** how beautiful, sexy, charming, etc. she was. There are a lot of female pianist listed as as other ‘related’ choices. Yay! Spent some time listening to some wonderful music. And the comments are quite clear these women play beautifully And they’re sexy, sweet, charming, and look that little smile! too. Okay, I think to myself maybe I’m just being too critical. This is a visual medium. I’m looking at live performances. Maybe it’s the same for male pianists. So, fantastic, more time listening to lovely music. Sadly, though, while I listen I go through pages and pages of comments. Most discuss the performance or the piece of music played. A couple of comments about sweat dripping down one pianist’s nose. Of course, this is a compliment; a sign of the work required. *One* person pointed out a specific time where they thought someone’s hair looked odd. Once one person commented on how the pianist was ‘over-acting’. None of the male pianists had comments on how handsome or masculine looking they were. Which may be sad for them. Of course, they also don’t have to worry that if they’re not beautiful no one will care if they play beautifully.
After playing live on a radio show, in which I accompanied a middle aged male guitar player for a 30 minute segment, the radio host complimented us as we were leaving the studio. To my male musical partner, he offered praise for his musicianship and his ability to always assemble a great band and bring spectacular musicians onto the show. To me, he offered: “You really are a lovely girl, what a beautiful smile.”
When I was ten I decided that I wanted to learn to play the French horn. I had already been playing the flute for some time and was very advanced for my age so I figured that learning what is regarded to be one of the most difficult (and beautiful) orchestral instruments would be a fun challenge. The music staff were delighted. I attended an all girls school and out of two hundred musicians there was only one other brass player. The reaction I got from the other staff was one of incredulity. “Isn’t that a bit masculine?” or “You haven’t got the puff.” Physically the horn is challenging. It requires upper body strength; well controlled and powerful breathing; and dextrous lips to control the pitch. The latter feature often has men remarking that I must be “a great kisser” despite the fact that I would probably mash their lips to a bloody pulp with all the strength I have build up there. A few years down the line and I am an advanced musician who attends many orchestras of high standards all over the country. Yet I still get asked if I am “in the right place” when I sit in the horn section with my instrument out ready to play. Apparently I’m “not curvy enough” to play the horn. When it comes to parts being allocated I find myself being overlooked in favour of less advanced (and larger) boys. I rarely comment since I just get called “insolent” for trying to get my hard work recognised. On a related note, I sing in several choirs. I have a very low voice, so low that describing me as a low Tenor rather than a Contralto would be more accurate. I can sing high notes but they lack the strength which would be found in a Contralto and can be a bit screechy. Very few choirs allow me to audition as a Tenor because they do not consider it possible or natural for a girl to be able to sing over an octave below middle C. They also say that I would look out of place with the boys in the (compulsory) female uniform of a white dress as opposed to white tops and black bottoms. I would be far more comfortable in the latter.
At a major music festival there was a tent where it was clear I wasn’t allowed to enter because of my gender. I didn’t even try because they actively specified it wasn’t for us. As well as talks about things like power tools, they actually thought it’d be a good idea to discuss ‘diversity’ when they had excluded 50% of the attendees!
Doing school work experience at a recording studio about the age of 13. I was helping a male roadie move a bass amp to another venue in the local area, he was asking me about why I choose the studio etc. He asked what kind of job I wanted one day. I said ‘I’m not sure something in the Music Industry.He then replies. ‘So you want to me a groupie”. I was so shocked I didn’t even know what to say. Would he have said that If I was a man . Definitely not.
An extremely sexist song called ‘girls like’ was released recently by Tinie Tempah & Zara Larsson, who calls herself a feminist. It’s lyrics are about how women necessarily sexually desire Men, and how women all agree with this. I know no-one is surprised by sexism in the music industry anymore, but I can’t help feeling this is the most sexist song ever released, which is really saying something, with the low standard that has been set over the last few decades.