Ever since the Spice Girls first ZIG-A-ZIG-AHH’d their way into my life as a child, I’ve been obsessed with Girl Power. Girl bands seemed to dominate the mainstream music industry as I was growing up, with Girls Aloud, Mis-teeq and Sugarbabes all being played one after another on every radio station. I was surrounded by bubble gum pop at my disposal and I loved every minute of it. Obviously, when I hit my teens the chart became soooooo lame and my musical interest took a heavy turn. I was still drawn to female fronted bands, though. They seemed so powerful, and they all seemed like bezzie mates. It gave me a determination to live out MY dream with my fave gal pals, too.
The thing that’s most troubled me as an adult, is that there seems to be a lack of girl power dominating the charts. Only 15 out of 40 artists in this week’s Top 40 are either female, feature female vocals, or are a band of mixed genders. There are plenty of amazing female artists that the mainstream media are sleeping on, but why is this? There is also a plethora of talented guys who aren’t sitting next to Grimmy on Radio 1’s breakfast show, but they’re undoubtedly outweighing the girls.
Y’all really dont understand the struggle of being a female artist and having to work twice as hard to be treated with the respect males are
— Lil Pote (@j2trippy) April 12, 2016
I raise these questions; ‘Is this because women don’t feel like they could break into the industry as easily as a man? And are they scared about what they’d have to do to become successful?
The very public trial surrounding Kesha who wanted to flee her recording contract with Dr Luke due to sexual harassment allegations is hardly inviting. It shouts “HEY! Come work in the music industry! Everyone will know your name but you’ll just have to put up with it if someone is totally inappropriate towards you because you’re a girl! But that’s ok – you’re getting paid! Think of the £££’s! And about that….it won’t be as much as your male counterpart, soz!”
As a female artist, because this is not a struggle most male artists go thru. More ppl wanna fuck me then ppl that wanna create w me.
— KING LEAF $MBM$ 333 (@ItsMeLeaf) March 10, 2016
The gender pay gap is no stranger to us ‘vagina wielders’. Regardless of whether you care about it or not, it exists, and it screws us women over. It’s not just your average 9-5 office workers that suffer, it’s rife within the music industry. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working your arse off submitting spreadsheets or creating music, you won’t get paid as much because you don’t have external genitalia. In 2015, Forbes Top 10 list of the highest paid musicians proved that the pay gap is still at large. Despite Katy Perry holding the top spot, only three women made the list. One of the top 10 was a band of mixed gender, the rest were six older male artists. The top 20 is even worse, with only Beyoncé standing strong with nine other male artists dominating the list.
Last year, Glastonbury promised to put more girls on the bill, but only three of the major acts announced for the line-up are girls. It’s also incredibly sad that, after 86% of their line-up last year being male, we’re meant to see this year’s set list as progress. With Reading festival and Isle of Wight Festival not even having a female headliner, it’s like we’re taking one tiny baby step forward, and three giant corporate sized steps back. It’s not equal, and it’s not fair.
Although there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to solve this issue, we can all get together as the Sistrhood and support female artists by taking a stand and buying their music. If we can help by creating a public demand for more female artists and front-women at festivals the industry should respond. So let’s start by making some fucking noise about how talented these women are. Spice up your fucking lives!
I’d love to hear what you think – comment below or tag us on Twitter @SistrhoodUK