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GFX Answers by Making a Purposeful Racket

C-ville Feedback writer Andrew Cedermark interviewed me and Carey on the cover story about women in rock. We sat down with Andrew individually with the attempt to answer this age-old question within the context of Charlottesvile music: Why aren’t there more women in rock? We bring up structural issues related to culture and gender ideology.

Gendered norms in rock music-culture:

There is also the question of buying gear. Haughty gearheads, piles of tiny, useless stuff, bowling shirts that faintly smell of weed—it’s no secret that music stores can be uncomfortable places to visit. Double the discomfort for many women. Carey Sargent plays drums in the local bands Dzian! and the Pinko Communoids, and is a sociologist who has published on the topic of local music stores. “For others with different experiences,” Sargent wrote in a 2006 paper, “such as playing privately, knowing more about hip-hop than rock, or having classical training on the guitar rather than immersion in the rock music practice, the experience can be a struggle to comprehend the language and interactions of the environment. Finding themselves in this position, these musicians may defer to others to perform, speak and choose in their place.”

Larger societal norms oriented by gender ideology:

“Obviously,” Hsu says, “it’s occurred throughout history, where women are not associated with being in public spaces, where women are associated with passivity and quietness. All of these larger cultural values come into play when were talking about rock music.”

One transformative moment, she says, in that history is when “rock and roll”—a form for excited teens in dance halls—became simply “rock.” That happened when these teens grew up, and wanted something more art-related. “It became rock, which was oppositional to pop music. Pop music was more commercialized, more superficial, and more associated with women.” The sheen of pop and the rigidity of classical music took on feminine associations, and none of them fit the rock bill.

Read the original article.

As GFX, we addressed the issue at stake by recording a C-ville Feedback video session, making a statement in the expression of sound, gestures, and embodiment in our unique ways.

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