February 21, 2005

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT WHEN YOU ASSUME

ILM fires up the burners and critical think USA goes into the recesses of it's male zone to ponder gender-disparity in the Village Voice pazz n' jop poll. 15% of the casted ballots were compiled by lady hands. Someone did the math to see when women's votes, coounted alone, who balanced out where --- and the boys now theorize "Does Usher/Interpol/Killers notch up on the list because ladies vote for who is cute?" -- which just goes to show the think embedded in "our" community. They even start digging the grave deeper with the " women 'not get' the Hold Steady/Lifter Puller" bit. The whole thing is pretty sorry if you ask me, but I'll take any excuse I can to make a numbered-list argument!

Let me put on my special velour and mesh Patriarchy Fighting sweat-suit, and holla back here:

1. Speaking as the person who did press for Lifter Puller from the second single (thats my leg on the back!) until the last drop of sweat hit the floor at the reunion shows, which was about seven years total: No one really ever got what they were doing . Dudes and ladies, crit nor average masses. The first five years of doing their press -- it was like trying to give out free gonorrhea samples at the mall. SO! When you take the example of the P N J list, which is hardly a representative sample to begin with, and then pass the exception to the rule off as the rule ("My room-mate has a vagina, and she does not like Hold Steady") -- and tie in with the fact that HOld Steady Almost Killed Me was consistantly topped the "the best album no one heard" 2004 - the album was beholden by the critical cognescenti, and that cognescenti has very few women amongst it's ranks. Baby, it's not me -- it's you. Really.

2. Who is voting for Interpol because they are cute? Carlos D is Crispin Glover with Hilter's haircut and wore-drobe. I hope if the ILM'rs, who are some of this USA's editorial elite, freelancing scrubs and primo bloggersteins, if they are going to examine and speculate who is ranking where, who's getting covered based on sex appeal, that we dare look at the whole picture - and point the flashlight to the Donna's poster hanging above your desk.

3. The supposing and wondering why the vagina'd writers are not voting for more of the vagina'd bands or singers, why we ain't repping more for our own team or voting for creamy country acts that are specifically marketed towards us -- I mean, I guess that is fair, right? Dudes mostly write about and vote for men, yeah? Is there equal surprise that Oliver Wang and Jeff Chang do not have a more asian-repping tickets?

3.4) There are some of us working within the clubhouse to end the girl-ghettoization, while still supporting the work coming out of it (Venus Magazine, Ladyfests - seperatist ideas that have been nessecary, many times, in order for some bands/ideas/publications to even get time on the playing field - born out of Riot Girl doctrine, but at the same time keeping us niche/boutique'd at best) -- on my P&J Ballot, I voted with my ear first and my feminism second, because that is how I hear and judge records - ie. - Jean Grae is an artist important to me as a feminist critic, Hold Steady is a band I like and Craig Finn's lyrics are about women with lives and backstory and names and storylines - not just some anon. pussy he used to get, but hates or misses or done him wrong. And secondly -- for an explanation of why women are not voting for faux feminist country singers or Big N Rich -- things marketed to him -- that is to imagine we have no critical criteria, no ability to buck what bullshit is tossed to us. If we - men and women crit-clubhouse -- are all suspectable and voting for whatever is being strongly marketed to us, Paris Hilton's tits would have at least tied with Brian Wilson.

4. In my publicity database, of all my journalist contacts - about 3400 people or so, I would say 30% are women, so the Pazz and Jop disparity may have to do with who is and is not qualifying for ballot-ability. Women tend to be at weeklies and daily paper culture desks, or college papers. The strictly-music magazines that cover both genders with women in high-ranking editorial are limited to: Outburn, Spin, Sentimentalist, Guitar Player, URB, Xlr8r, Revolver, Punk Planet and Hit it or Quit it. A friend at Alt Press shared with me that 60% of their readership is female, and most of the shows I go to, usually about a 40% female attendance -- so why the disparity? Lack of encouragement? Not appealling venture? Not able to actually get through the door? Creeped out at the thought of being at parties with your peers with a 20-1 male to female ratio? Perhaps bummed that even when they are at $38,000/year editorial jobs that their peers will assume they vote for who they would fuck on their Pazz N Jop ballot, as opposed to who's records they play most on their iPods in 2004?

Posted by Jessica at February 21, 2005 09:02 PM | TrackBack