Friday, February 5, 2010

featured friends friday

featured friends friday:
by: becka
Curses I say: The struggle, strife, and survival of female entertainers

I'm the kind of feminist that will let a man carry large, heavy things in the place of me; I'm the kind of feminist that will let a man do any hard work really, I mean if he's willing to break his back over me breaking mine, why not? Does that mean I'm half feminist, or not a feminist at all? Am I a genius for knowing I can do those same things, but sparing myself at the request of an attempt at chivalry? Or am I the kind that gives the hardcore feminists a bad name? Am I a fake? Or am I just a jerk? Here's a feminist-esque rant:

I'm a singer-songwriter. I'm 22. I'm a wordsmith. I've been known to make some pretty melodies. I can carry a tune. And yet, compared to a male counter part of equal or almost equal talent, who will win the most fans? Nine times out of ten, I believe it will be the man. Why? Because I've seen it. Because I've felt it.

Society gives each sex a set of rules, and while I do know quite a bit of dudes who are matured past the rules of a flawed society, the majority of men do adhere to these rules.

Let's think on barriers:

Male artists are capable of bringing in bigger audiences as performers. This is because of the sex barrier. What I mean by that is if we were to take two artists of different sexes, but same genre, and of like popularity (for the sake of the argument lets use Jay-Z and Beyonce), who will pull in more fans? Okay, so we know Beyonce sells a hell of a lot of albums, as Jay does as well, but are alpha males cruising down the street blaring Beyonce? I think not. Are they blaring Jay? That's more likely. Female listeners/viewers, generally speaking, are more open to performers of any sex, while male, whether society has been deeply buried under the surface of their skin and has become a part of who they are or not, find male artists more appealing. Is it because of the sensitivities of women, for whom they cannot relate to? Are we too whiny? Or is it because man law says you can't believe a female artist is as good as a male counterpart? I mean, a bro can think she's good, but she can't play like John Mayer. Sure, she can sing, but she still can't play like John Mayer. Can men not transcend sex barriers? In anything?

Indie Rock:

The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs vs. The Strokes, who has more fans? While I cannot say for fact that it is The Strokes, I would bet my entire savings and bank account that The Strokes appeal to a larger audience.

What about athletics? Ever heard a lesbro favor a female athlete over male? Because of her skill, not her looks? Remember back to when the WNBA was birthed? I do. And I remember all my dude friends saying it was a joke, and that I was too if I ever so much as dreamed of joining such a circus.

So, yeah, that's frustrating for me. Especially knowing that out of all the people I've played for, women say "you're really fantastic" and buy my album, while dudes say "you're really fantastic" and then ask me out.

What really gets to me, though, is this:

I have asked people from the beginning of my journey into music who they would compare my music to. You know who it is every single time? Not one particular person, but a sex. I'm grown enough to know why people, mostly mothers, compare me to Avril Lavigne. It isn't because we share the same sound, but the rebelliousness of our attitudes and the way we dress (as far as they can see, anyway). I'm grown enough to know that people compare me to Michelle Branch because she plays guitar and because she's brunette (not to mention when I was 16, I would listen to her and cry, and ponder if the lyrics from "Hotel Paper" were sexual and if they were about Taylor Hanson, and since he's the girliest of the gang, if she might be bisexual). I'm grown enough to know that I won't likely ever be compared to any of the music that really influences me, because I'm just another girl with a guitar. I will forever be put into the category of Jewel, Alanis, Michelle, and Sheryl. Will I fight it with every part of me? You're goddamn right I will. Everybody's dying to slap a label on us and put us into a category for easy keeping. That doesn't rest easy with me at all. ONE TIME, I'd like a stranger to read the way I write and say, "you must be incredibly influenced by Manchester Orchestra" or "I can hear just a dash of Jesse Lacey".

Of course I'm only speaking from my experiences. I'm sure there's a chance I'm wayyy off. I hope to God someone proves me wrong.

My biggest goal isn't to get more fans, more fame, more money, but to be able to be on the same level as other accredited singer/songwriters. Yes, most of them being male. To be honest I listen to more male artists than female, and no, that doesn't make me a hypocrite. It makes me smart. To reach the top of the mountain, you must climb with others who have reached the top before. What if someday, in my jaded and angst-y, yet driven and ambitious attempt to change forever how people look at female artists, someone, the first of many I hope, starts to get it. I am a female. I am an artist. But the two do not go hand in hand.

I'm training as if I were for the UFC to be a person who might be able to do that. What poetry it would be if someone beat me to it, not to mention less work.

For the record there's no male Regina Spektor. She does pop the right way. There's no female Justin Timberlake. There's no male Tegan and Sara. There will also not be another me. I promise to change genres so quickly that every time someone puts me in a category, not long after they will be wrong. Unless beyond my grasp of myself, I do not realize I've developed a sound.

Lastly, why is sexuality a big deal? Yes, I'm gay. I read this article on afterellen about a singer/songwriter who made the decision to be "out" regardless of her growing career. AE made this huge deal out of it. I'm not naive. I understand being out can do harm to a progression in a career, but can't it also beam you into a bigger demographic? Hello, Tegan and Sara!? Hello, Uh Huh Her?! Is it for fear of being cast into the same boat as Melissa Etheridge? Melissa over Avril any day for me, folks. Rufus over Gavin any day. If you're choosing a career that puts you in the limelight and encourages obsessive fans to spend money to learn your dirty little secrets, why not have the last laugh and not have any at all?

Out shouldn't be a question, nor should it be an answer. It should just be. Not who we are, or how we define ourselves, just who we fall in love with. So, what's the big fuss?

One last thing...really this time, I promise. I asked your great and powerful blogger, Ashley those same words I've asked everyone else and she said "you have a tegan and sara rasp- i hear it for sure. but i think that you are also unique enough that you aren't 'just another indie girl with a guitar'". Is it because I'm young, gay, brunette, play guitar and I'm female? Or because I really do have the rasp of Tegan and Sara? But then again, why does it matter? I love Tegan and Sara. Especially Sara.

don't forget to comment, and let becka know what you think in regards to her thoughts.
also, don't forget to check out her music (which, i don't care if you think i'm being cliche- i think she sounds like she has a bit of tegan and sara in her. not because she's gay- not because she's a girl- not because she plays guitar- but because i honestly think she sounds like them.)

1 comment:

  1. She does sound like tegan & sara but she's awesome :) and I do aggree