Warped Tour and a lack of Women

Apparently, Warped Tour 2014 – and previous warped tours – has a women problem.  That is in a women problem in terms of the amount of women involved in the bands who make up Warped Tour.

Now right away, this observation should be made:  This one of the the usual “divide and conquer” approaches that people employ when talking about this subject wreaks of to motivate women and/or men to endorse a particular ideology to create ” specific issues” and win them votes.   As my friend Katie has said, and I’m paraphrasing, they are trying to divided us and get us at each others throats the day we are born, and she is right.  Think for yourself.
Ms. Megan Seling over at WonderingSound has put out a rather thoughtful piece on the lack of female “involved” bands at the Warped Tour.  When “female” bands is mentioned in this post it includes both bands with female members in their ranks and female fronted ones as well.   Instead of deliberately misrepresenting what she has to say, I’ll quote this lovely piece:

“As a woman and a fan of punk rock, I’m angry and disheartened. I grew up listening to hardcore and pop-punk and I know what a boys’ club it can be. I’m used to being in the minority at shows, having to deal with guys who think they need to protect me in the mosh pit. But that was 15 years ago, and still the culture has not evolved. Part of that could be because Kevin Lyman, founder and producer of the Warped Tour, doesn’t think there’s a problem.”

Quick, but important poin a.k.a rant: Has Seling been in a “hardcore” pit in the last 10 years? You know, where the wild things dwell and the Boston hardcore scene gives no f*cks at the shows. You aren’t moving! Windmill to the face, stage dive to your head, ect.  There is a REAL reason  – part of it being physical – that some girls don’t go to actual hardcore shows. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t bring my 13 year old cousin to one if I was actually thinking of her safety.  Hold on, I’m taking my sip of patriarchal kool-aide right now.

Well, how many “female” bands are their actually on the warped tour this year? A commentor on www.absolutepunk.net by the name of TylerDrumming compiled what appears to be a list of women – I’m assuming they are women!

Dangerkids

Echosmith
K.Flay
Sleeper Agent
The Summer Set
Allison Weiss
American Pinup
Beebs And Her Money Makers
Courage My Love
Emilie Autumn
Icon For Hire
Marmozets
Pvris
Shot in the Dark
Tess Dunn
We Are The In Crowd
—————————–
Aim Your Arrows (Playing 7/8)
Amber Stowell (Playing 7/8)
Blackbird (Playing 7/6-7/10 and 7/12)
Blair La Rose (Playing 6/26)
Blameshift (Playing 7/9-7/12)
Candy Hearts (Playing 7/6-7/9)
Death of Paris (Playing 7/9)
Go Betty Go (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Go Big (Playing 7/6)
Hunter Valentine (Playing 7/6-7/12)
Jackknife Stiletto (Playing 7/9)
Jenni Spiro (Playing 7/11)
June Divided (Playing 7/11)
Justina (Playing 7/6-7/9)
Kaleido (Playing 7/11)
Kiirstin Marilyn (Playing 7/12)
Light Up the Eyes (Playing 6/20 and 6/25)
Melanie Lynx (Playing 7/10)
Miracle Dolls (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Mourning Lilith (Playing 6/21)
Queen Caveat (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Romance Mechanics (Playing 6/21-6/25)
Romantic Rock Fashion Show (Playing 6/25)
Sara Laketa (Playing 7/10)
Sharkmuffin (Playing 7/6 and 7/11-7/12)
Shiragirl (Playing 6/20-6/26 and 7/6-7/12)
Stop the Presses (Playing 6/25-6/26)
Survival Guide (Playing 6/21 and 6/26)
The Swank Masters (Playing 6/26)
The Turbulent Hearts (Playing 6/20-6/22 and 6/26)
Varna (Playing 6/21-6/22)
Wasi (Playing 6/21 and 6/25)
You Only Live Once (Playing 6/20 and 6/25-6/26)

Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, points out that it’s okay for one out of the six bands on average on the tour tend to be “female” involved and/or fronted and he said it was “absolutely okay” for there to be “such a one-sided ratio”, but Seling yet again disagrees:

“But it’s not. It’s not OK for Warped or the Fest, and it’s not OK that Alternative Press, a monthly music magazine that sponsors the Warped Tour, has only put a woman on its cover five times in the last three years — and twice it was Hayley Williams from Paramore.”

This acknowledgment and “defense” obviously leads to the logical and sane conclusion that,  “… as long as Warped Tour continues to boast such an insulting male-to-female artist ratio, those 500,000 fans are learning that loud music is played by dudes, and women belong in the crowd (which, according to Lyman, is 53 percent female).”  Yes. That is ABSOLUTELY what these fans are learning who can’t obviously f*ucking think for themselves. No faith in humanity right?   Apparently, neither can any of the female fans and artists there either, according to Ms. Seling, They are in fact so incapable of excelling by themselves and against the current, that they need divine male intervention in the form of Lyman rectifying the gender music gap in punk.

Seriously, I had no idea these female bands needed so much help from men!  No, don’t give me the, “There is sexism in the music industry creating significant barriers for women so they need special help!”   That’s not equality and if you are trying to balance things out by creating such a concept of “equality” by using unequal specific preferential treatment, your logic is seriously flawed.  Just like affirmative action, the ends don’t justify the means. (No, “white privilege” wont work here. Genocide bitches – I win in the oppression Olympics.)


Lyman goes on to “defend” himself and points out that the Warped Tour has an “all girls” stage for 11 of the tour dates this year…  HOLD ON for a second. Can you imagine if there was an “all male” celebration day and special privileges for said males to rectify the gender gap in teaching at the local elementary school to make the bare 5% on average of male teachers in public school? People would flip shit and you can bet your ass the NFL wouldn’t come up with a masculine color for the month to commemorate the male struggle in the school system.

Unfortunately, Lyman has been turned into an object for wrath for a problem he didn’t cause.  I as well as every other person who has the slightest idea of Kevin’s character know he has never passed on a band just because they had a “female” in the band.  Simple supply and demand is the problem here, if you want to call it an actual problem.   Bands that play, especially the main stage, are brought onto the tour because of their fans and following.  Kevin, the opportunist closet misogynist that he is, has already tried an all girls spin off tour which FAILED.    But apparently this is because women have an uninviting environment created for them in punk music and are held up to unrealistic standards.

Newsflash: There is a reason Katie Perry and Paramore draw than every punk, metal, hardcore band in general – much to my disdain – let alone if there is a woman in their ranks or not.  The demand and audience has to BE there.   There is a reason there is a higher demand for One Direction then Selena Gomez – simple demographics.

It’s not Kevins fault or his lack of promotion for “female” bands that teenage boys want to mosh to metal-core breakdowns or screaming teenage girls want to drool over Sleep With Sirens’s lead male singer whose high pitched tenor voice disturbs me.  On that note, how many girls on the Warped Tour this year would rather see Kellen Quinn from SWS singing than Emily Whitehurst, Warped tour veteran and former frontwoman of Tsunami Bomb and Action Design that Seling quotes alot in her article? Cool, now I sound like a Kevin Lyman fanboy. Negative downvotes for that.

This had me scratching my head:

“Now that I’m not really involved in punk rock as much, I’m finding that most shows I play have other women on the bill,” says Whitehurst. “It’s possible that there truly are less women playing in heavier bands, but it’s also possible that people who like heavier bands assume that women aren’t very good at it. I never hear it anymore, but being in Tsunami Bomb, I can’t even count how many times a dude would come up to me after a show and say ‘You guys were really good! I don’t usually like girls in bands!’

Really, can you make that assumption?  Ask almost any metal head and you would find it pretty rare that they would just assume a girl couldn’t play well in a metal band specifically because of their gender – even on Metalsucks.  I personally love specific kinds of female vocalists, but can it really be blamed on Kevin Lyman that a huge percentage of Warped’s Audience – emphasis on girls here – would rather see Sleeping With Sirens because of Kellen Quinn then see some female fronted local punk band?

Two “female” friends – using that word makes me feel like some sort of analytical researcher lacking humanity – however had some points to make about a facebook post/objection to the above quote of Whitehurst. My friend Katie – a very smart homeschooled girl, so you know shes good – had this to point out:

“In the article she used personal examples of men making thus exact assumption. There’s really no reason for a poll when the evidence is everywhere. For every guy who enjoys female vocalists there is one who considers a strong female group a to be as rare and mystical as a unicorn, and another who flat out refuses female vocals”

I still however wonder, can one really make those assumptions? I’m not so sure I see evidence for it everywhere or its just that certain activists have told us there is evidence for it EVERYWHERE.   My friend Mary make’s this point – and note she was in a metal band and yes, it was genuine with plenty of screaming.

 In my opinion it’s a little of both. Or perhaps that in media women are so stereotyped that people’s initial reaction is that bands with females wont be as heavy or as intense. In a lot of cases this turn out to be true, but I don’t think its because of a lack of ability, I think females lack confidence to get out there and realize what they can do.

I still think its bullshit to call Lyman out for something he has actually tried and for getting angry that he points out that the bands on the tour are determined by fans, support, and following.  If we want to get more women into bands on the tour – specifically heavier ones – its going to take a hell of alot more than just giving them a stage or promoting the hell out of female bands to attract an actual fan base and following. Don’t people realize how hard it is for almost any music that isn’t pop, hip-hop-, or country to compete with drawing a female fan base – specifically from a younger demographic – when punk, hardcore, metal, ect is the music in question?  That right there is one of the reasons why there is so few female “involved” bands, let alone good ones that attract alot of worthy attention.

Just my rants and thoughts, but feel free to leave me any death-threats.