Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You Should Read Megan Seling on the Warped Tour's Woman Problem

Posted by on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Yesterday, Megan Seling wrote a story for Wondering Sound with the headline "Warped Tour's Woman Problem." You should read the whole thing, but here's the crux of the issue:

A quick glance at the bands that have been announced for Warped’s 2014 tour, which started June 11 in Anchorage, Alaska, reveals that less than 20 percent of the 120-plus acts include at least one female. Women are there — the line-up includes Mixtapes, Sleeper Agent, the Summer Set, K.Flay and Allison Weiss — but if you count the female population of the bands on an individual level, women make up only 6 percent of the tour.

Megan took the complaint to Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, who reacted with defensiveness. Lyman thinks the fact that just one out of six bands on the tour have a female member is "absolutely OK." He also explains that more bands in the world are made up of men. On Twitter, Lyman argues "B good & you might get on! If I have to start counting races & genders it is over."

Lyman's defensiveness is thick with fallacies. You know why more men than women are in bands around the world? Because it's easier for men to form, promote, and tour with their bands. Women have to cut through a lot of sexist bullshit—resistance from promoters, resistance from men in media and on record labels and on the internet—in order to just get their band to the place where a male-fronted band starts out. There are a lot more female bands now than there were fifty years ago because women are more empowered, and also because there are a hell of a lot more role models to encourage young women to get into music than there used to be. And because society is still weighted toward male musicians, it's the responsibility of programmers to try to represent more women, so the next generation of young women will have even more role models to be inspired by.

I understand it's not fun to be called on your bullshit. But to immediately dismiss charges like this out of hand results in ugly, defensive thinking. And other people will back up your ugly, defensive thinking with ugly, abusive comments. And then you wind up saying stupid, racist things like the fact that your business is "over" if you have to consider maybe not overloading your music festival with a bunch of white dudes. Nobody is going to remember you "winning" what you perceive to be an internet fight with the help of your idiot minions. A whole new generation of musicians could be grateful for years to come if you seek out and support diversity in your music festival. Why is that such a terrible fucking thing?


Comments (20) RSS

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tabletop_joe 1
I remember going to Warped Tour when I was in high school. I remember they ran out of water and were selling $6 cups of ice. The Yoohoo vendor was standing on the top of his truck with a bullhorn and was encouraging women and girls to flash him for dixie cups of Yoohoo.
Posted by tabletop_joe on June 17, 2014 at 3:23 PM · Report this
douchus 3
Sounds like the guy running Warped Tour is being a lazy fuck.
Posted by douchus on June 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 4
saying "it's easier for men to form, promote, and tour " is an overly broad generalization for why there is a gender imbalance in skate punk bands.

Posted by Max Solomon on June 17, 2014 at 3:45 PM · Report this
JF 5
He thinks it's ok, Selling does not. Basically, it's a difference of opinion.
Posted by JF on June 17, 2014 at 4:06 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 6

Where are u from? We here at slog embellish our opinions with adjectives, examples, metaphors, Segal-like cotton candy, owls, adverbs galore, memories.

You've reminded me, I want to get milk at the store, plain milk, I don't care what % fat.
Posted by dnt trust me on June 17, 2014 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Dade 7
Warped Tour is going to Alaska??? Where was this when I was in high school there!?
Posted by Dade on June 17, 2014 at 4:16 PM · Report this
One might wonder what Neko Case's opinion on this matter might be. Is Megan looking for women musicians at the Warped Tour, or musicians as the Warped Tour?
Posted by semi-crepuscular on June 17, 2014 at 4:22 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 9
What percentage of the performers at The Stranger sponsored Summer Meltdown are women?

What percentage of the performers at The Stranger sponsored Block Party are women?

Does The Stranger have a "woman problem"? If not, why not?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 17, 2014 at 4:29 PM · Report this
JF 10
I also love this stance of "Oh my god, you're being so defensive. All I did was attack your character through baseless accusations."
Posted by JF on June 17, 2014 at 5:11 PM · Report this
I'm shocked to find myself in agreement with the sentiments of @9 and @10.

Really, how much can we lay fault at the end-point of a systematic problem? Don't blame the rock that someone threw at you.
Posted by bradl on June 17, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
raku 13
Seriously, it's not an idle criticism that Seattle's big-budget music festivals are as white and male as any music festival I've ever seen. It's more important that a supposedly community festival that takes up our streets and space like the Capitol Hill Block Party should be at least a little representational. The Stranger should stop selling tickets for this crap and start talking about the city pulling permits for the Capitol Hill Block Party if they keep putting out lineups that look like this: http://lineup.capitolhillblockparty.com/

Meanwhile, the #1 music festival in Sweden has a lineup that is exactly 51% female-fronted bands, and a more racially and ethnically diverse lineup than Capitol Hill Block Party. Even though we're talking about blonde SWEDEN, and the festival has zero marketing or specific mission for diversity. Someone just maybe spent 3 seconds thinking about being non-racist and non-sexist, I guess. http://wayoutwest.se/lineup
Posted by raku on June 17, 2014 at 6:22 PM · Report this

Do you think Garbage would have sold even one i-Tune if Shirley Manson wasn't fronting it?

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on June 17, 2014 at 7:15 PM · Report this
Post_Mortem 15
Music festivals and tours should be able to book bands based on how they sound.

I don't want booking agents, road managers, or organisers to have to worry about making shows representational at some national or local level. I want them to focus on facilitating live shows featuring music I enjoy.

Accordingly, I would like the industry to limit country to less than one tenth of all shows, and to only allow classical music when Yo Yo Ma is featured.

Seriously, though, this controversy is about as compelling as the Warped Tour, or this year's apparently hypocritical CHBP.
Posted by Post_Mortem http://pointlessman.blogspot.com/ on June 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM · Report this
pg13 18
@14 Garbage without Shirley Manson?

They were called Fire Town...and they had an MTV back in the day with "Carry The Torch".


So, yes, they would have sold "even one iTune"...but they obviously sold more as Garbage. (Just as Shirley sold more as Garbage than she did when she was in Angelfish.)
Posted by pg13 on June 18, 2014 at 3:12 AM · Report this
NopeNope 19
Two thoughts on this:

1) Maybe I could understand the argument about women having to face greater challenges than men in music when it comes to any other genre of music. But when it comes to punk, if someone's not down to confront bigotry and put in years of zero success than they don't have any business playing punk. It's not easy for any of us, and most punk bands never gain anything from their music besides a few free beers, tons of debt, a few black eyes and a run-down van. I do understand that there are greater challenges for women, even in punk. But the only reason punk has reached the status is has now is because of the tenacity of the bands that were playing in the 80's that faced far greater challenges than most females punk bands will face today.

2) The Warped Tour, particularly now, is absolutely targeted at juvenile males. Their roster is the silliest collection of ignorant, chauvinistic, teeny-bop bullshit.
Posted by NopeNope on June 18, 2014 at 6:53 AM · Report this
I read this with interest, and thought Paul Constant made some good points. Then, scrolling down I found the line-up for "The Summer Meltdown" sponsored by The Stranger. A quick counting from the bands' photos reveals 24 woman and 131 men for a grand total of 18% women. Very few bands appear to be fronted by women. I didn't include the Seattle Rock Orchestra because the photo wasn't clear. And, I'm not including the 5 women that are included as belly dancer groups (but kudos for having 100% women in the category of eye candy). To quote Mr. Constant: "I understand it's not fun to be called on your bullshit. But to immediately dismiss charges like this out of hand results in ugly, defensive thinking."
Posted by robo5 on June 18, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
JF 21
@18 That was more poppy than I anticipated given Butch Vig's participation.
Posted by JF on June 18, 2014 at 8:58 AM · Report this
20: The Stranger should probably address their own bullshit. Anyone? Anyone? The hypocrisy is a little too obvious.
Posted by Jizzlobber on June 18, 2014 at 12:38 PM · Report this
Hey! My shit sandwich tastes like shit!
Posted by UberAlles on June 18, 2014 at 12:53 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 25
“Period” is a misogynistic term. Please use “explanation point” instead.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM · Report this

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