A salty cultural rant

Helena Buchanan gives us much salt as she rants about the unprogressive music industry

Helena Buchanan
6th March 2017

Music am I right? Who wouldn’t love it? Whatever your taste it’s a gift to the senses- not liking music is like not liking food. Not only do we all love it, it’s a powerful art form- it’s the creation or subversion of contemporary culture, so why is it always so un-progressive?

I’m (today, at least) not getting into the vast malaise of misogyny across the music spectrum, but focussing my general wrath on kinda rock and rock bands (I have extreme difficulty defining music/genres etc).

We all know what a band is yes? Musicians usually comprised of a singer/drummer/guitarist/bass guitarist/ key-boardist etc all trying to play vaguely in tune.

The term ‘boy-band’, to me, defines Blue/One Direction/Backstreet Boys etc- a collection of singers rather than people playing instruments.

"Art is supposed to, if not subvert and push boundaries"

What, then, is a girl-band? When it conjures an image of The Breeders/Pussy Riot/Le Tigre it can’t therefore be the same thing as a ‘boy-band’, with the connotations of musical incompetence and swaying which it encompasses.

In a Guardian article last year, Spanish ‘girl-band’ HINDS who apparently “took on the boys in Madrid” stated, “we didn’t want people to talk about us being girls”, the irony being that the article rather centres around them being girls in a male-dominated industry. Therefore, they cannot be merely a band but must be a ‘girl-band’.

This is, of course, symptomatic of the rest of the world- just as there are ‘girl-bands’ there are ‘male-nurses’, ‘policewomen’ etc.

What is particularly annoying with the music industry, particularly anything under the umbrella of ‘rock’ or ‘alt’ music, is that art is supposed to, if not subvert and push boundaries (because, no, it is not subversive for a woman to hold a guitar- don’t worry I’m sure her tiny delicate hands will handle strumming and the drummer will (fingers crossed eh) be strong enough to hold the sticks), at least be vaguely liberal.

I guess not. Silly me asking too darn much.

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