ATP! Feature: International Women's Day
On March 8th, women’s rights and achievements are globally recognized and celebrated across the world for International Women’s Day.
Since the early 1900s, International Women’s Day has been a movement towards gender equality, including the right to vote, be trained, hold public office and receive better pay. According to the official International Women’s Day website, “The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices.”
Part of the success made in women’s history is in the music industry, where female-fronted bands, female musicians and female songwriters have begun to dominate. From Joan Jett’s all-female band, The Runaways, changing the male-dominated rock genre to Beyoncé releasing a “visual album” without a hint of promotion and selling 80,000 copies in just three hours. Kris Littman, Program Director of Chicago’s Fearless Radio, says, “It is an absolutely wide-open playing field; there are no barriers to what you can [do]… The only limit is your imagination, your creativity; your voice can be heard, your writing can be posted, the audience is there and you just have to be good enough to grab their attention.”
Alter The Press is proud to work with some of the biggest and best female musicians. In honor of International Women's Day, we spoke to a few of our favorite ladies who are currently rocking hard both on and off stage and asked them to share their perspectives on the music industry.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Cady Groves (singer/songwriter): My opinion on International Women's Day is simple: thank God for women. My favorite old quote..."the man may be the head of the household, but the woman is the neck! And the neck can turn the head ANY way she wants." Women have come SUCH a long way even since I was a little girl. I remember watching my mom transition with the times from a stay-at-home mom to a full-time working parent. It really gave me the courage to understand I had the opportunity to do anything a man can as long as I work for it!
Sydney Sierota (Echosmith): International Women's Day is huge. Girls need that extra love and appreciation.
Tay Jardine (We Are The In Crowd): I think it's great to have a day designated to women and their hard work. I wouldn't be who I am without the guidance of other women in my life.
Mindy White (STATES): It's a wonderful and inspiring day, to be able to celebrate and promote women's rights and gender equality, as well as celebrate the actual women that fought to make it all possible.
Mariel Loveland (Candy Hearts): I think it's unfortunate we need a day like that but at the same time I love that there's a day where women's talents can be showcased!
Jess Bowen (The Summer Set): My qualm with International Women's Day is that it suggests we only have one day per year to celebrate and acknowledge women around the world. Why do we need one day to recognize the roles that women have in society and the injustices that women still face? This should be something recognized every day. With that being said, I do think it's a great way to celebrate and focus on women’s achievements.
Who is your female hero?
Cady: My mom loved Alanis Morissette when I was a little girl because she gave her a sense of self-worth. So I would have to pick Alanis as my woman hero because without her and her music and fearless outlook, I wouldn't be the writer I am today.
Sydney: Zooey Deschanel is my biggest female inspiration. She's so rad and unique.
Tay: I'm most inspired by the women in my family: my mom, step mom, grandmothers and sisters. They've all taught me how to value myself and stay determined. My sisters especially are always there for me when I need a friend and that's the most admirable; to have people there no matter what or when. I'd love to think I can be that for others.
Mindy: My biggest inspiration is my mom. Although I do look up to past leaders and a few celebrities, I've personally seen and known of the struggles and the fight that my mom has had to battle throughout her life, along with the courage and the heart that she's always kept first in order to keep going and stay strong for others; whether it be for her family, friends, or complete strangers. That's what we all need in our lives, a positive force to move and take action for good.
Mariel: My biggest female inspiration are single mothers, honestly, who raise children alone and still work hard to achieve their dreams. That's something that I don't know if I'd ever be able to do if I was in the same situation.
Jess: My biggest female inspiration is my mom. She moved to the United States when she was 20 without her family to pursue her master’s degree. That takes courage and independence. I have so much love and respect for her!
What do you love about the music industry? How has the music industry changed since the beginning of your career?
Cady: The music industry has unfortunately changed about a ZILLION times since I've been in it. I curse it and I love it: I love it because it gives tons of different artists the chance to shine, and I curse it because it moves so fast sometimes that I feel like it leaves a lot of artists in limbo. I do love that currently in music there are so many women on top and it's very empowering.
Sydney: I love that the music industry is constantly changing. Change is refreshing and necessary, especially when it comes to music. The music industry has become more and more accepting as time goes on. Super cool.
Tay: You know, I actually have seen it change. When we first started touring I remember there being shows where I would get locked out because the venue thought I was a fan or someone's girlfriend trying to get into the show for free. I feel like there is less questioning these days. That may be partly because our band was much smaller then but I think I can tell a true difference in people's reactions now. I definitely have the women in the music industry before me who have paved that path to thank.
Mindy: When I first started touring, there were very few popular rock/pop/indie bands with female lead singers. I've always been a 90s kid, idolizing No Doubt, The Cranberries, Garbage, The Cardigans, and so many more bands with female lead singers, so it was odd to me. Unless you were in a neon mini skirt, with your boobs hanging out and singing bubblegum lyrics, you weren't popular or respected (ironically). But since the last 7 years, things have dramatically changed. I honestly think a lot of that was due to the help of Warped Tour exposing these female-fronted bands. Most of the biggest female-fronted bands had toured Warped Tour prior to blowing up, and I think that's because those kids attending the festival are so eager to hear new music, and when you're able to play a super tiny, hot pink, half-truck half-stage and still sound amazing and have the best time ever, people take notice. And they did.
Mariel: I think that there is certainly more awareness about sexism in the music industry but I still encounter it almost every single day on tour.
Jess: The real question is: what don't I love about the music industry? There are so many talented people, both men and women, who create this authentic form of entertainment and share it with the world. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this industry. I have learned and grown so much from touring and meeting new people every day.
What would you change about the music industry?
Cady: The only thing I would change about the industry is that I never know what it's going to do!!! Someone send me a sign, dangit!
Sydney: I love this industry, but everything has its own flaws. The music industry has become a bad example, especially for girls. Every magazine cover is all about how much skin can be shown without getting too much crap for it. The more skin you show, you better you are right? (Joking.) Since when did our bodies define our value? That's what is wrong with the industry. The wrong message is being delivered.
Tay: In general I really wish more bands would support other bands. It's a small percentage that I see but it really bothers me when I notice it. The music industry, especially ours, is so over-saturated making it more competitive. But what some people don't realize is that if we all support each other we would only help the greater life of it all. I too often see bands who I've crossed paths with DM me asking me to tweet about their release or something and without question I always support and usually I don't need anyone to ask me. It just seems like an unwritten law to me; A common courtesy. Band etiquette? But then when it's that same band’s turn to support us...it's silent or this passive aggressive competing. Now I know some people may be thinking ‘well maybe they just don't like your band’ or ‘she really wants attention, they must be doing something wrong’ or ‘wow, someone's got a lot of doubt’. It's not that at all. I am confident in what I do. I'm also not even the kind of person that feels comfortable asking someone else to give us a shout out or whatever. I do not and will never rely on other bands or people’s success just to build We Are The In Crowd. That I see all too often as well but I won't get into that. I wouldn't expect support from a band that I've never interacted with, so this isn't a cry for help either trust me haha. I see this in interactions with bands that don't even include WATIC. I just think we could all benefit from each other by supporting instead of stepping on each other's toes to feel taller. This music scene is really strong right now and I would love nothing more than to see it flourish in the way it deserves. But it ain't gonna do it alone.
Mindy: If anything annoys me the most about the music industry, it's that there are few legitimately talented people at the top. I must say, not to jinx it, but I feel like it is slowly getting better. But I would love to see more real artists, with true talent, passion, and creativity rise to the top and take over. Music never used to be this way. People used to actually SING, and didn't need smoke and mirrors and tracks to pull it off live. Music nowadays is missing that captivating element. I hope we can get music back to the days before auto-tune, before music turned into a straight sex show and gimmicks, before people claiming they wrote songs (to seem sincere) when they actually bought them, before cheap stunts. And consumers have to do their part as well and not buy into it. Support real artists.
Mariel: There are so many things I would change. I would just like to be taken seriously in instances where if I were man, I would not be talked down to.
Jess: In my biased opinion, I would like to see more female drummers. There just aren't enough of us out there!
- Gina Catalano