How Not to Interact With Female Musicians

josieandthepussycats6.jpg
Dear Josie & the Pussycats: Do you write your own songs?
[Ed note: Robin Edwards is a frequent contributor to our sister paper in Denver, Westword. She has played in several bands. Her solo project is called Lisa Prank.]

Sometimes I wonder what it was like before bands had Internet presences. Did creepy dudes just send their vaguely threatening messages to female musicians through the mail with locks of their hair? I've been thinking that might not have been out of the question ever since I received a Facebook message from a guy who went to one of my band's shows. He asked if he could be my stalker and added a goofy emoticon and a few "jk"s. I assume that was a way to hedge so that when I responded, he could pull the old, "I was joking! Don't be crazy!" card. Unfortunately, violence against women, which can certainly start with stalking, is a very real concern in our society, so it's not something you should joke about, especially with a complete stranger over the Internet.

I thought that threatening someone's personal safety was a commonsense no-no, but apparently that's not the case. So here's a handy guide with ways not to interact with female musicians. This is good advice for dealing with any human beings, actually, but it seems that these things happen at an alarmingly high rate to those of us who have the audacity to get onstage with instruments but no penis.

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And no, your good intent does not give you a pass. Just because you're a self-proclaimed feminist, you have a Kathleen Hanna tattoo or you were "just joking" does not mean that your actions don't have harmful consequences. Prove you are a good guy by accepting criticism, apologizing and stepping back if you've said something offensive or creepy.

Don't assume she's a roadie/girlfriend/groupie
If a woman is carrying a heavy-ass amp inside a venue, don't immediately assume she's there as support for the band. Use this assumption-less attitude in informing your interaction with her; don't immediately tell her she's not allowed backstage.

Don't offer music lessons
This has happened to a surprising number of women I know. Here's how it usually goes: A dude comes up after a performance and says, "You know, I could give you [insert instrument here] lessons if you want."

In the words of Stephanie Tanner: How rude. Also in this category is giving pointers or advice on how your guitar should sound, as well as offering suggestions for improvement. If you want to help out, buy some merch.

Continue to page two.


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33 comments
Jamie Van
Jamie Van

Yes, RFT, tell me about the controversy in the comments... As if I didn't know what to expect from the regular assbag commenters...

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

The constant "buy merch" was a little irritating that's for sure.

Kelsey McClure
Kelsey McClure

Are those women depicted musicians or "SINGERS?" HEY-OH. #amirite?!

Drum Mer M JZ
Drum Mer M JZ

Some people need to be told there tone is horrible tho

Adam Fry
Adam Fry

Ill tell you a thing or two about tone.

Sean Kenney
Sean Kenney

Offering ones opinion on how to improve your playing/tone when it wasn't asked for is a rude thing to say regardless of gender.

Drum Mer M JZ
Drum Mer M JZ

Whew. Man getting hard up on topics? You'll never keep dudes from being douches. Good try tho like any of those dudes would read this and be like oh wait rft was right gosh golly I need to change my approach to talking to female musicians. Fail.

Robin Propst Warren
Robin Propst Warren

Wow. Someone thinks she is more important than she really is. This happens to men in bands too, not just because you have a "vagina". You will find sexism exactly where you LOOK for it. How dare someone who went to a live show find your page on FB. If you truly consider the above mentioned fb message "threatening someone's personal safety" perhaps taking it to your local police would clear things up instead of responding to him, twice.

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Looking for sexism...guess what, she found it.

Lauren Pomeroy
Lauren Pomeroy

I'm all about women being treated equally but there is also the case of women jumping to conclusions way to fast. It is not rude to ask if you write your own songs. A lot of artists these days don't. I do agree that the creep facebook messaging has gotten out of control and people (not just men) take it to far.

Ben Ostermeier
Ben Ostermeier

I agree with most of the complaints in here, but I don't think someone asking if a musician writes his or her own music is necessarily intended to be sexist. There are rude ways to ask it certainly, but surprise that the answer is yes doesn't mean they were surprised because the musician is female, but could be because many musicians do not write their own music.

Bobby Duebelbeis
Bobby Duebelbeis

Another turd of an article from the RFT. Thanks, superstars!

Alex Rathgeb
Alex Rathgeb

Don't ask if they write their own songs? So, it's ok to ask a guy that but not a girl? Say WHAT??!? Much better for equality to just gush over the music and avoid eye contact. If I play a gig and somebody (any body) offers lessons I think I'm offended too!

Jameson Clerk
Jameson Clerk

It was a joke, girls are way more belligerent than that comment with male musicians. But they're just following their hearts lol

jealousblues1
jealousblues1

"dont interact with me...just give me your money for my stuff!"

;-)

Eric O'Brien
Eric O'Brien

So many assumptions. Maybe they were surprised they liked you because so many bands suck live, lately. And maybe they asked if you write your own songs because a lot of artists don't. Maybe you were told you can't go backstage because the bouncer couldn't see your bracelet/stamp/Sharpie mark/pass. I've experienced all of these things as a male musician. Good luck having this attitude in a band.

Daniel Sexauer
Daniel Sexauer

I'm all about treating women with respect. Just seems like a silly article.

Andrea Hilliard
Andrea Hilliard

Oh my god. The audacity of her simply stating that she was uncomfortable with his comment. Yeah, fuck those feminists. How dare her mildly explain her discomfort.

Brian Bradley
Brian Bradley

If I really like your band, I'll make a point to keep my mouth shut and buy your merch.

knightguy
knightguy

Well, NONE of this is exclusive to female musicians. Just musicians in general.

Do you think Men don't get those creepy stalker messages?

Please don't say "Well, Men shouldn't be afraid" because that is just plain wrong, sexist and completely untrue. Men are killed by Men and Women alike all over the country in violent crimes on a daily basis.

I think much of this is finding offense to take in places where it was neither intended nor ACTUALLY offensive. Asking if someone writes their own songs is entirely legitimate...because many musicians DON'T. Stop looking at it as an attack and realize that in the music culture of today, that question almost NEEDS to be asked so a fan, or potential fan, knows if they can claim your songwriting is amazing, and that's why they love you.


I love me some RFT, but lately it seems like there is a lot more bragplaining than usual.

Jameson Clerk
Jameson Clerk

Fucking feminists, here's the takeaway from this article as it was said multiple times. "Here's how to interact with female musicians, but there merch and say nothing else as it will be interpreted as some kind of sexist comment"

videocrime
videocrime

@knightguy I was wondering how long before NOT ALL MEN was uttered here. 


I get it, but at the same time, dude, no. 

KuriousKat
KuriousKat

Fucking feminists? So you don't think sexism exists or do you think women should just shut up about it?

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