We're Not Keeping Our Heads Down
“Keep your head down, do good work, don’t take shit. It’s not about your gender.” Over the past two years, I’ve heard this argument so many times, I can actually predict when people are going to say it to me. I can tell when the mansplaining of why what I’ve made my life’s mission is “unnecessary” is about to ruin whatever last meal I put in my stomach from a mile away.
But 2017 finally taught me to say the one thing all women in entertainment should have been saying a long time ago. “Please, just shut up. You’re not a woman, you don’t know.” Gender inequality is a tricky subject, and when I started Girls Behind The Rock Show two years ago with an old business partner, we were naïve. We thought people WANTED to help promote women. We were young and starry eyed. Thought we would be helping the world.
Today marks two years of running Girls Behind The Rock Show, and it’ll be three in March since I embarked on the initial journey. As I look back on my time doing it, I realize I’ve spent a lot of time telling people things they already know but didn’t care enough to change. From people who wanted to champion us, to people who refused to even try to work with us, Girls was something people just weren’t ready for.
I’ve lost a lot of friends for pointing out their willful ignorance, for being the person willing to stand up and say “no this is bullshit.” I’ve learned that a huge enemy of the women coming into music is some of the women already there. I’ve researched, and presented facts and statistical information and have still had people choose to believe there isn’t an issue, or if there is one, it isn’t a big deal.
Until the slew of sexual assault allegations came out, people didn’t want to admit that having women on your staff or on your tours doesn’t mean the problem isn’t there. They want to believe that just by hiring women or by including them, the problem is gone. But we’re looking at the affects of willful ignorance in a very real and impossible to ignore way. We’re seeing those staying silent as part of the problem rather than “people who just don’t want to get involved” and it’s because the awareness that it’s all connected is now in front of our faces.
For years, we have lived under a blissful guise of “hiring a minority group fixes the problem! We’re giving them jobs! Isn’t that what they want?” No. We want EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. We want the number of female producers and engineers to grow to a number that they can actually count. We want the ratios of men to women to even out, but mostly we want to start with people recognizing that representation is a solvable issue that we can all work with. Out of all the groups, companies and bands that we have pitched to work with, only three have consistently supported. Only three have said “yes, we realize the issue at hand is a real problem. We want to help.”
As a group of people, the girls who dedicate their time to GBTRS do so because they first hand see the issue. Whether they’re women of color who are at the biggest disadvantage, they’ve experienced it themselves, or they just understand that the issue exists, they want it to be better. And we love fighting for it. We love seeing the smiles on girls faces, or getting the tweets and emails about how much they learned from the few things we’ve been able to connect these young women with. We enjoy being a part of the bigger picture, and are willing to do the work to get there.
So far, we’ve been able to achieve quite a bit in a short period of time, most of which was established before this shift we’ve seen about sexual assault in the industry. And now that willful ignorance is out in the open, we hope people will join us on the path to education, on the path to healthy relationships in the workplace and on the path to equality. Because we all started for the same reason, we love music and we should all be allotted the same chance to love it.
Thank you for the past two years of love, support and continued willingness to learn and accept that change is needed. We're going to keep pushing, keep fighting and keep working for each individual as they grow.
See you in 2018.