Cecilia Della Peruti (Gothic Tropic)
Hi, My Name Is Girl Band
There’s an all-male group out of Dublin called Girl Band. I don’t know them personally, but I discovered them inside an article that condemned artists with mis-gendered band names. I reference that as an example of the age-old question; artistic expression or sexism? I believe gender labeling is the root of the confusion. This may worry the precarious gender labeling Gods and Goddesses, but for the record, I believe advocating women and defending artistic expression aren’t mutually exclusive.
If you’re in a band and you happen to be a girl, you’re often going to hear the phrase “girl band”, and there seems to be an obvious sense that “girl band” is a marginalized gender-based idea. Compliments might also be accompanied by the shocking revelation that women can actually play their instruments! The world wants to define you, and to be fair, allowing the public to describe you is integral. Accurately describing a band’s sound is an underrated talent, so I’ve just tried to brush them off as an earnest attempt. But a part of me wants to ask, “why was my gender a point of focus?” This caricature of the “femme-fronted bad ass chick” makes it easy for uninterested people to digest your work in this age of rapid consumption. The obsession with packaging is also what inspires the idea that bands that have “girl” or “vagina” in the name have negative meanings. The only reason people feel a need to bundle and brand female musicians by gender, is because the collective mental default setting for “band” is male. The language is proof that gender double standards exist. “What’s it like to be a guy in a band?” I think not.
The entertainment industry has been an insular, male business for decades, and thousands of hard working, brilliant and talented women, many of whom were abused and oppressed, generated their incomes. Since then, there’s been an effort to deliver recognition to women artists and players, and now we’re at a point where the subculture is starting to cultivate a post-gender atmosphere, which is great. There’s a difference between using gender to uplift, and using it to describe a gender-based experience.
Honoring the artist means giving uninterrupted freedom to create. Artists don’t need permission, there’s no assembly line of approval an idea needs to pass through to get to the other side. Artists are the gift givers, and they’re often everyone’s source of joy. Artists pour their souls into their work, and gender classification is an unnecessary distraction. It casts such an unneeded shadow over the art, and only aims to fulfill the trend setters and click addicted.