So on the 19th of September, I'll be wending my weary way to Sweden to talk on a panel with my girls Kelly Appleton and Vicky Osterberg about gender differences in music. Having experienced the gender divide in my own career, it's becoming difficult to put into words how extreme that difference can be - especially when the person expressing their opinion has no idea of their own bias. By my own admission, I am also particularly bad at picking up that bias which means I am very unlikely to challenge it at the time. It is only after the incident that I realise "Hey, he thought I was the drummer's girlfriend/a fan/didn't know what I was doing!" and suddenly it's too late to go back! I don't know if this a reflection of how I view myself, the very possibility that I might be viewed as someone other than a musician who has every right to be there is foreign to me!
Story time. I was asked to help out on a video shoot for an awesome band (video in the sidebar!) as they were currently bassist-less. They were all guys. I turned up to the location with bass in hand plus the usual rock trousers etc and went up to the hair and makeup room. 5 minutes later, the director walked into the room and said brusquely: "Come on girls, we haven't got much time, the band need to get their makeup done. If Madam could get out of the chair?"
So I got out of the chair. I mean why wouldn't I? I wasn't an actual member of the band, I was just helping out.
An hour later, I went, bass in hand, into the main venue as the director wanted to start setting up the shots for the video.
He looked at me.. then did a double take. Saw the bass. Remembered telling me to get out of the chair. And said "Oh. Right. Ok.".
And it was then that I realised that he'd assumed I was someone who shouldn't be there. Someone who had walked in and wanted their face/hair done "for fun". Maybe someone's girlfriend or friend. No way could I have been involved in the project or be contributing towards anything. And that for me was a moment of real sadness - that people see a girl first, and not a musician or a person with value.
Story time over. That's just one of the experiences I've had and I'd like to say I definitely deal with it far better these days!
Any feedback? Any similar experiences? Tell me as I'd love to include your stories in this panel on the 19th!