Gendered music

This post is taken almost entirely from an online conversation with friends. The words are nearly all mine.

Allow me to express my fury, once again, that if I select a Pearl Jam song on Spotify, I will get that song, followed up by a playlist of 50 bands and solos who are ALL male….but if I select a Regina Spektor song, I will get that song, followed up by a playlist consisting of MAYBE 40% female lead bands and solos, and AT LEAST 60% male acts.

My friend mentioned “different musical tropes that are needlessly gender-coded”. Yeah.

I think about that sort of thing (in vaguer terms, thanks as always for the wordage), and it always makes me think of this:

Chef: “Most chef are men, because a lot of the cooking takes endurance.”
Me: “Women have plenty of endurance.”
Chef: “Not just that, but being able to life 100# crates of potatoes, huge stock pots, etc.”
My Mom, on my recounting this: “It was the men who made the boxes hold 100# to begin with. The system is set up FOR MEN.”
Me: “…..oh yeah.”

The music industry, no doubt, TOTALLY selects for women with soprano voices and “womanly musical attributes” – thus, my lifelong fury at being an alto who can’t sing along with most fem acts. And, it selects for men with grungier /angrier/more daring (?) sounds.

Notable exceptions being Janis Joplin, Karen Carpenter, Joan Jett, and a handful of others.

Anyway, just another example of how shit gets encoded – sometimes unintentionally – and it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle.

Featured image by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

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