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Once upon a time, a former editor told me he didn’t think I wanted to be a music writer forever because, ultimately, it’s a “boy’s profession.” This didn’t happen decades ago; it happened in the last five years.
I felt the phantom sting of that comment while reading through Jessica Hopper’s Twitter timeline. Since Monday, Hopper—a longtime music critic, senior editor at Pitchfork, and author of the new book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic—has been retweeting comments from women and men about experiences with sexism in the music industry. As of yesterday, she said she’d gotten more than 400 responses.
Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn’t “count”?
— Jessica Hopper (@jesshopp) August 24, 2015
As much as the music industry has shifted both in both medium and message, the idea that women don’t count persists. There’s still the notion that women can’t be true collectors, that they don’t know how to actually play, that they’re backstage to sleep with musicians, not interview them. Last week, Billboard ran a now-deleted poll about Kesha’s sexual assault lawsuit against former producer Dr. Luke. Who did industry execs believe, the poll asked: her or him? Earlier this month, Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry documented the harassment she’s endured at the hands of trash heaps like 4chan. And, of course, trolls have been popping up in Hopper’s mentions.
Writer Meaghan Garvey, author of this scalpel-sharp Drake op-ed, discussed her painful experience at length.
As Hopper points out, there are still so many women who don’t feel they can speak out about their experiences. For many women, doing so might cost them a paying gig or a job, or worse.
Imagine what music would be like if we didn’t make young women jump through such demeaning hoops to show they belong here.
— Jessica Hopper (@jesshopp) August 25, 2015
Earlier this year, Hopper spoke with Björk about experiencing sexism in the industry after more than 30 years as an artist, and how women are often rendered invisible within their own work, even as we still must be the “glue” for other parts of our life:
That’s what women do a lot—they’re the glue between a lot of things. Not only artists, but whatever job they do: in the office, or homemakers. …It’s a strange moment. Women are the glue. It’s invisible, what women do. It’s not rewarded as much.
And later, the constant fight:
[I]t’s an ongoing battle. I hope it doesn’t come across as too defensive, but it is the truth. I definitely can feel the third or fourth feminist wave in the air, so maybe this is a good time to open that Pandora’s box a little bit and air it out.
We’ve reached out to Hopper for comment on this “Pandora’s box” and will update this story if we hear back.
Photo via styeb/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.