Girls go BOOM : Girls putting girls on stage
Girls go BOOM is a flemish feminist collective. Way before SCIVIAS, they had already given themselves the mission of fighting for women to have a better representation in music, mainly in the punk/alternative scene. They organize gigs with female bands, but also talks, workshops, debates… all of that in the purpose of seeing more girls on stage, in front of the stage, or working behind the stage, and hoping to create a vertuous circle where girls can inspire girls to take up more space and finally own the musical landscape. Follow what they do on Facebook, and don’t forget to lead a little fight of your own everyday…
What we see in the music industry today is sadly very much a mirror on what’s happening in the rest of society. We live in a patriarchal system where certain structures are in order to keep almost all the power in the hands of rich, straight, white, cis men. And even though women are half of the world’s population, in music as in greater society we are a minority. Because we have a smaller share of this stupid power thing. There aren’t only a few women on stage, but also in the (sometimes smelly, sometimes fancy) backstage. Most of the people in the industry are men. That means bookers, managers, artistic directors, sound technicians, record label owners,… Except in communication jobs – cause you know where so good in things like talking and writing and stuff – the whole music industry is super male dominated (ironically, they never let us speak though). Could the fact that it’s almost always men deciding who gets on stage be a reason why we see so few female artists? Hmmm, my spider woman sense says yes.
Throughout history the public sphere has always belonged to men while women belonged in the private sphere. You did your manly man things outside (war! politics! more war!) while we did our womanly things inside. Just think about the Victorian cliché of the Angel in the House while the husband went out to work, wore a monocle and smoked cigars in the gentlemen’s club. And even though we’re not in the 19th century anymore, we still see that men claim all the space in the public sphere. From minister posts, to speakers on conferences, to CEO positions, to interviews on tv and yes, that spot on the festival stage. Seriously, have you ever noticed that when a woman and a man cross each other on the sidewalk, the woman almost always take a step aside to let the man pass? That’s because men have the privilege to literally take up space.
We need these patriarchal structures dismantled. We need more girls and women taking up space and letting their voices heard. We need to listen to experiences of women and other minorities. Did anyone ever think that we might also like to have pockets in our pants? We do. And you know, things like equal pay and the right to our own bodies of course. We need to rethink what power means and how we deal with it.
There’s too much shit in the world going on for us to only listen to songs of sad boys crying over their broken heart. We need women screaming over a distorted guitar for the right to abortion, we need trans people making beats and rhymes about their experiences, we need ballads from black people on decolonization, we need folk songs on how capitalism is fucking up the climate and we need to sing/chant/carol/shout/grunt collectively on how refugees are welcome.
We need more girls to the front. We need our non-binary and trans friends up there with us. We need more male allies and we need to work on the issues women are confronted with at the same time we’re tackling problems dealing with racism, classicism, fatphobia, disabelism, ageism and other form of oppression.
To do so we need to claim space and to make noise. We need to go, ahum, BOOM.Girls go BOOM