Warning: this week’s blog post may come off as a rant, and for that I apologize. However, I feel it needs to be said (as it has been said so many times already) and since common sense doesn’t seem to be so common, here it goes.
Note: Please keep in mind as you read that this is coming from the perspective of the music community being a family and that people need to treat each other with respect.
I was browsing through Facebook the other day and I ran across a young girl’s cover of a Steve Vai tune. I watched for a bit (she covered the tune really well!) and then happened to read a few of the comments. Here was the first comment on the video:
My initial response to this kind of thing can’t be printed, nor will it ever be. But, after calming down a little bit, I thought that it might be good to gently (with the sort of gentleness that a pissed off grizzly might portray) go over some rules regarding the treatment of our female counterparts in the music business. Before you call me out for letting someone online get under my skin, or overreacting, this was the icing on the cake. I’ve seen this kind of thinking get way out of hand and wreck some good situations over the past 10 years in professional touring/gigging environments and it’s even worse. This sort of thinking is rooted in the old school, male-dominated music industry of yester-year that almost immediately jumps to some form of sexual conclusion at the sight of any female, specifically those that wield an instrument. It was certainly never acceptable, but unfortunately it is still hanging around in some people minds. So, with that being said, this is directed at the guys that can’t quite seem to wrap their heads around the concept of gender equality in 2017. Here is a quick pocket guide:
- She is your sister, and you are her brother. Plain and simple. Sexually slanted or disrespectful comments about your sister have no place on a Facebook page or anywhere for that matter. Regarding the girl in the video, you could end up touring with and/or working with her at some point. Why would you shame someone that you may end up working with? Chances are, if you did shame them, they probably wouldn’t hire you anyways, but I digress . . .
- This thinking causes bad blood in the industry. Wayward, overtly sexualized dialogue upsets what should be a healthy, comfortable work environment. This ends up making it worse for everyone involved. Bad vibes often nets a bad product. Nobody wins and the trust between members can crumble easily. I’ve seen it happen multiple times.
- You will get eaten alive if you continue to display such behavior. More and more folks (males and females alike) are speaking out against disrespect across the board. I was overjoyed when I went back to look for the above post and found that a ton of other musicians had skewered the offending individual to the wall. Hopefully, you treat our female counterparts as sisters because you genuinely believe that they are such. However, should you think otherwise, consider this blog post your warning.
Thanks for bearing with my rant, folks. I feel very strongly about maintaining a musical environment where everyone (regardless of gender) can flourish and feel that they are respected.
Do you have thoughts on this subject? Please share in the comments!
Aaron Kusterer is a musician and producer based out of Long Beach, CA. He has worked on commercial projects for clients such as the Hawaii Visitor’s and Convention Bureau and Par Pacific Holdings, Inc. Additionally, he has performed across the globe during a 10 year-stint with the United States Air Force Band, 6 years of which was spent as a music director and tour manager. For more information on him, check out: AaronKusterer.com.