CHOOSE WHO YOU CHAMPION
(Picture: people I’m very proud to champion, wearing a message of equality and acceptance)
A note on saying no to the misogyny in country music and encouraging sidewomen to choose who they champion.
I do my best to support women in the music industry whenever I can and encourage men and women alike to stand up for equal and professional treatment. I’ve been very lucky lately playing music with a message I believe in and with artists I’m proud to associate with. But it hasn’t always been the case, and it’s still not always easy to put my money where my mouth is as far as the gigs I accept and music I play. Freelance life can be tough and sometimes a girls gotta put her head down, un-tag on instagram and just pay the bills. In the past I’ve definitely found myself on stage playing songs and harmonizing lyrics that are in direct contradiction with my beliefs about how women should be viewed and treated.
Today though, I turned down some work with an artist in a tour environment filled with misogyny and utter objectification of women - the first time I’ve EVER turned down work purely on moral grounds. I wasn’t quite brave enough to tell them the real reason I was saying no because I feared what being honest might do for my reputation (and yes, I realise how messed up that is and am willing to own how hiding the truth isn’t helping any to change things). I wish I’d been braver. I wish this industry didn’t feel so male-centric, and my position in it so precarious, that I felt I had to be vague and play it safe. I wish I could’ve been honest about why I can’t in good conscious play music promoting overt sexualization of my entire gender. But by saying no, at least I won’t be on stage tacitly condoning it.
I hope one day I’ll be bold enough to be honest - but quiet protesting is better than not protesting at all. It’s all too easy to fall into the “cool girl” ideal, pretending that casual misogyny and sexist behavior is ok for the sake of appearing relaxed, easy going and “hirable”. Even sharing this here in my own space feels somehow risky. But I created this as a place to share and discuss being a woman musician. The things we deal with that even the most aware, feminist male musicians often have no real idea about.
Maybe we can’t control the songs that are written, or what gets played on the radio, but we can control who we stand on stage with.