Opinion: Warrant for female rockers

Neville Hardman is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected].

Neville Hardman

As I sat back in bed holed up in my residence hall Sunday night listening to a piercingly loud playlist with copious amounts of La Dispute, Blink-182 and Man Overboard songs, I realized that female rockers in the music industry are as rare as a $2 bill.

When did female rockers slowly vanish from the scene? Why did we let them?

Let’s take a look back to a few ladies who set the tone. Meg White from The White Stripes sang and drummed. Paz Lenchantin played bass for the Pixies. Kim Gordon was a bassist, guitarist and vocalist for Sonic Youth.

But today’s music is severely lacking in that kind of fun diversity that used to make an audience explode with happiness.

We’re constantly bombarded with news about Miley Cyrus’ latest stunt or Ke$ha’s trip to rehab for her eating disorder, but what we’re not told to notice is that most bands we listen to consist of all-male members. Think of your favorite groups and try to name some of their female musicians — it’s likely that number can stay on two hands.

The music industry is a largely male-dominated scene. While there are incredibly talented male artists in our current music culture, such as Elton John and Mark Hoppus, there is no question that the number of men overpowers the number of women in the industry.  We are more likely to see a man pick up a guitar or get behind a drum set than a woman. While it’s not a bad thing for someone to be passionate and take the time to learn an instrument, I would like to see more women ripping a guitar solo rather than just bouncing around on stage with obnoxious glitter cannons erupting behind them.

Female artists are still visible, of course — turn on the radio to any pop station. However, pop seems to be the only genre that includes an abundance of female musicians, and it seems many of them must fit certain stereotypes in order to be accepted by the industry: Miley is the bad girl, Taylor Swift is the heartbreaker and Lady Gaga is the innovator. These pop icons have become pros at attracting media attention to keep their fan base, as well as the public, interested.

I take issue with the fact that females in other musical genres, such as alternative or pop-punk bands, aren’t recognized because they’re less stereotypical. Pop stars aren’t the right kind of example for our generation, and young girls need to believe they aren’t limited to simply picking up a microphone to be a part of a band. However, seeing female musicians in the media who only sing contradicts this idea.  

Cassie Whitt of altpress.com says, “The list of things women are told we can’t do on a daily basis and throughout our lives is infinite. We need to tell more young girls they can.”

Perhaps heavy doses of optimism, encouragement and legitimate music role models are the key to bringing back female rockers that arouse chills and good feelings.