Parental Advisory Explicit Content
I have a background writing, singing, performing and recording pop songs in the music industry. My focus for this piece is a short look at my personal experiences dealing with sexism in the business. A summarized description reveals comments about my looks over my music, attending music events where women were hired for the sole purpose of men’s "entertainment", and a lingo consisting of "no d*cks just chicks" for so called industry parties.
Though my experiences alienated me, making me sad and quite angry, I did not wallow in misery or simmer in anger for long. I went back to University and studied women and gender studies and English literature. Here I met peers and professors who not only believed in equality and respect for all human beings, but wrote, researched, read, and practiced what they learned and taught. This, along with English literature and the new interest I developed in heavy metal, changed my life dramatically. At this time in my life I was introduced to Ronnie James Dio who wrote of magic, Megadeth who wrote of political corruption and Iron Maiden who took references from English literature and applied it to songs. Rarely did I experience the same discrimination with such greatness around me. Eventually I started writing about music and the best of all worlds made me the most fulfilled I have ever been.
This is not to say I never experience sexism being a female writer. I get tons of respect covering bands and artists I believe in. Crystal always has my back with any part of the business she guides me to. I still come across situations that are very similar to what I experienced as a singer. Like this story for example: I was spending time with friends when it came up we mutually knew someone. This person we know is a celebrity/musician hanger-on who has thrown parties and attended events in the city. I asked my friend to enquire about passes for a specific show with intent to interview/feature an artist that was performing. I told my friend to tell him (let’s call him Tommy) I am a published writer willing to pay for the passes. I had nothing to lose, and if anything, I could learn something for next time.
When I talked to Tommy on the phone he asked what I was looking for. I told him backstage passes with intent to feature "so and so" artist. He said, "do you suck d*ck?". I said "no, I do not." I told him I was a published writer who would gladly pay for the tickets if he had access to them. He said, "You want backstage passes and you don’t suck d*ck? But you're a chick." I told him again that I am a published writer who has written for the Globe and Mail and working for Vandala Concepts, an independent e-zine. He said, "male writers will be there covering the show, and if you’re a chick looking to go backstage, you need to be willing to give the guys something they want, like sucking d*ck." I specified again that I had no interest; I am not a groupie and just looking to write. We chatted casually while he name dropped. By the end of the conversation he told me he doubted he could get me tickets because they were too hard to get. He never did get me tickets and he never got them for himself either. Even if he did get them for me I would not have taken them.
I told a few of my friends this story. They know my background in singing, writing, and even women and gender studies. Their reaction was disgust and anger, with surprise I didn’t react the same way. My past experiences in the industry makes it hard to be shocked or even angry.
The great thing about this story is that I did get backstage passes (for free) and an interview with a well known artist. I got the passes and the interview because of my writing. It had nothing to do with being a "chick" and offering sexual favors to dudes.
To everyone in the industry that experiences any form of bull sh*t or discrimination: stay true to your beliefs no matter what. Things work out as they are meant to when you stay true to your vision.