Friday, 5 June 2015

Tomorrows Bands Today | unknown boy bands on covers of music press

Press coverage of women artists and bands in popular music

In 2012 Annie Gardiner made an art installation out of the gender balance on the covers of the NME over a 20 year collection for Ladyfest Bristol (see photo). It has had surges in interest every year since, and today she is talking about it with Susan O'Shea at Oxford Brookes University as part of the Consuming/Culture Conference (5th June 2015). (Also read Susan O'Shea's thesis: The Art Worlds of Punk Inspired Feminist Networks.)
On a thread in social media today, about this installation, a young woman has commented: Yeah, and how many of those on the cover are P. J. Harvey? 

That made me laugh. Also made me sad. I remember bringing P J Harvey to the reviews table and the following comment: another one of Ngaire's lesbians. It took three weeks of hassling before it was published - a tiny 300 words. 

Once she sold records she earned her place in the newspaper, but was that the case with boy bands, did they have to earn their place? 

Yes, the whole point of tomorrow's bands today is that they are unknown but how many unknown women bands got on the cover of the paper in proportion to the boyz?
  • How many boy bands got on the cover of the paper when they barely had produced anything worthwhile? Menswear instantly spring to mind. 
  • How many boy bands introduced a women vocalist in order to get on the front cover of a newspaper? 
  • What is happening now? 

We need stats! 
Send band names to: or here, in comments is good - then others can respond.

Women's writing in music publishing
Because writing about women in bands and women artists is related to both the ratio of women writers and the role expected of them, here is an amazing piece and useful tool for any media student - Women Writing Rights - in fact part of Innes Punessen's MA. It's a really careful, detailed account of her research, engaging in its own right which focuses on women's writing in the music press. It includes video interviews with myself, writer Andrew Mueller, Andy Prevezer, Warner's, and writer and course leader at Solent, Southampton, Martin James who wholly encourages this behaviour. 

I hate my middle class mum hair in this video and trying too hard behaviour which makes what I'm saying seem fickle and arrogant. I am used to asking the questions and teaching, which is altogether different because that 'reason you teach thing' takes over and all your skills are for the benefit of others - the focus isn't on you at all. I don't know whether these things in themselves are a product of being a woman - don't draw attention to yourself, nurture, OMG even excusing it (!) - it's likely. On arrival back to London I did find the hairdresser bullied me into this style - realising now that they made assumptions (I walked into the hairdresser and what they saw was a middle aged, middle class teacher/mum). I am back in my own body now. 

See also: We made a mess and we're not sorry Th' Hysterical Injury in this blog. Also Pushblog. 

No comments: