Bringing some estrogen to the male-dominated industry
My name is Cassidy.
I am a musician that plays in several rock bands.
I am also a girl.
Being a girl in an industry dominated by men of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels is no easy feat. For a woman, if you’re not a size zero with 36B breasts, a pretty face,and at least twice the talent as your male counterparts, good freaking luck getting noticed as anything except a sounding board for cat calls. In general, people don’t always take you seriously. There is a reason I spend an hour in the bathroom meticulously applying make-up and doing my hair. People already notice me more because I’m a girl in a band full of boys and not as a keyboardist in a band.
Other women especially notice this. Why give them a reason to criticize my appearance when they should be paying attention to the music? Kevin V. could put on a stained, wrinkled, and unwashed T-shirt he found balled up under his bed and no one would bat an eye. On the contrary, he plays bass and “Omg that is sooo hawt!” Instead, I’m hoping for a casual comment from a friend to a friend in the audience, something like, “Hey, that chick on the keys isn’t half bad actually,” in lieu of, “That girl’s hair is really frizzy…”
There are a number of other challenges that are unique to being the only person in the band without a penis. For example, unlike men, women have menstrual cycles. Try explaining to your band-mates that you and the front-man were late to the gig because Aunt Flo decided to drop in week early and you had to pick up some tampons. The exchange went something like this:
Band-mate 1: Why were you late?
Front man: (hurriedly) No reason.
Me: Actually, I’m bleeding out of my vagina.
Band-mate 2: Holy sh-
Band-mate 1: Gross! Don’t touch me!
That is a true story.
In addition to bleeding out of my lower orifice once a month, because I am girl, most men in the music industry assume I don’t know how to do anything, like, anything at all. This could be limited to setting my keyboards up, asking the boys in the band a question I offered to answer or could even include running sound from my keys to their soundboard. Normally I don’t complain. Because hey, who doesn’t like to just sit back and watch others work? However, just because I let you, the all-knowing powerful male musician, handle my quarter-inch cables and mix my keys in doesn’t mean I don’t know how to do it. I’m just letting you.
Times are changing, and I’m not the only woman playing this game anymore, and I know I’m not the only one with a horror story or five. So when I meet a fellow chick playing in another band there is always this mutual nod of respect.
Mentally we’re saying, “Finally. I’ve been stuck in this desert of testosterone for far too long and damn it’s refreshing to see some estrogen that isn’t my own.” “Yup, I hear ya sister. Keep fighting the good fight.”
And then we walk away to our own male-dominated bands, both silent members to a secret sisterhood that is growing by the day.