Experiences and perceptions of gender in the Australian music industry
Keywords:music, gender, sexual harassment, Australia, music industry, popular music
This article reports results from an online survey (n=207) about experiences and perceptions of gender from those working in the Australian music industry. Taking a feminist approach, theory on gender and hegemonic masculinity is used to discuss power in a gendered context in this industry. Literature shows women and girls experience a range of difficulties in the music industry worldwide, such as negative assumptions about their skill levels. The small body of research on gender and the Australian music industry has discussed topics such as the forgetting of women in Australian popular music history. Results reported in this article show that women’s worst experiences most often related to sexual violence or unwanted sexual advances; and men’s most often related to money. Findings contribute to the field by providing gendered analysis of self-reported data in an under-researched industry.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics). 2017. Personal Safety, Australia, 2016. Cat. No 4906.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Australian Human Rights Commission. 2018. Everyone’s Business: Fourth National Survey on Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. Sydney: Australian Human Rights Commission.
Bach, Theodore. 2012. ‘Gender is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence’. Ethics 122/2: 231–72. https://doi.org/10.1086/663232
Bayton, Mavis. 1997. ‘Women and the Electric Guitar’. In Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender, ed. Sheila Whiteley, 37–49. London: Routledge.
Beckman, Linda J. 2014. ‘Training in Feminist Research Methodology: Doing Research on the Margins’. Women & Therapy 37/1-2: 164–77. https://doi.org/10.1080/02703149.2014.850347
Bourdage, Monique. 2010. ‘“A Young Girl’s Dream”: Examining the Barriers Facing Female Electric Guitarists’. Journal of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music 1/1: 1–16. https://doi.org/10.5429/2079-3871(2010)v1i1.1en
Bows, Hannah. 2019. ‘How Can Sexual Assaults at Festivals be Stopped?’ BBC. Online at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48447964 (accessed 6 July 2019).
Brag, The. 2017. #meNOmore: An Open Letter to the Australian Music Industry. Online at https://theindustryobserver.thebrag.com/me-no-more/ (accessed 26 August 2019).
Budgeon, Shelley. 2014. ‘The Dynamics of Gender Hegemony: Femininities, Masculinities and Social Change’. Sociology 48/2: 317–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038513490358
Butler, Judith. 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London: Routledge.
Cech, Erin A. 2013. ‘Ideological Wage Inequalities? The Technical/Social Dualism and the Gender Wage Gap in Engineering’. Social Forces 91/4: 1147–82. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sot024
Coates, Norma. 1997. ‘(R)evolution Now? Rock and the Political Potential of Gender’. In Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender, ed. Sheila Whiteley, 50–64. London: Routledge.
Cohen, Sara. 1997. ‘Men Making a Scene: Rock Music and the Production of Gender’. In Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender, ed. Sheila Whiteley, 17–36. London: Routledge.
Connell, Raewyn. 2005. Masculinities, 2nd edn. Cambridge: Polity.
Conor, Bridget, Rosalind Gill and Stephanie Taylor. 2015. ‘Gender and Creative Labour’. The Sociological Review 63/1: 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12237
Cooper, Rae, Amanda Coles and Sally Hanna-Osborne. 2017. Skipping a Beat: Assessing the State of Gender Equality in the Australian Music Industry. Sydney: The University of Sydney Business School.
Corcoran-Nantes, Yvonne and Ken Roberts. 1995. ‘“We’ve got one of those”: The Peripheral Status of Women in Male Dominated Industries’. Gender, Work & Organization 2/1: 21–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.1995.tb00024.x
Davies, Helen. 2001. ‘All Rock and Roll is Homosocial: The Representation of Women in the British Rock Music Press’. Popular Music 20/3: 301–319. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143001001519
Denissen, Amy M. 2010. ‘The Right Tools for the Job: Constructing Gender Meanings and Identities in the Male-dominated Building Trades’. Human Relations 63/7: 1051–69. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726709349922
Donze, Patti Lynne. 2016. ‘Gender and Popular Culture: A Comparison of Promoter and Listener Preferences for Popular Music Artists’. Sociological Perspectives 60/2: 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1177/0731121416638364
Faupel, Alison, and Vaughn Schmutz. 2012. ‘From Fallen Women to Madonnas: Changing Gender Stereotypes in Popular Music Critical Discourse’. Sociologie de l’Art 18/3: 17–34. https://doi.org/10.3917/soart.018.0015
Federation of Entertainment Unions. 2013. Creating without Conflict: A Federation of Entertainment Unions’ Report Examining Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination in the Entertainment and Media Industries. UK: Federation of Entertainment Unions.
Feigenbaum, Anna. 2005. ‘“Some guy designed this room I’m standing in”: Marking Gender in Press Coverage of Ani DiFranco’. Popular Music 24/1: 37–56. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143004000285
Fileborn, Bianca, Phillip Wadds and Ash Barnes. 2019. ‘Setting the Stage for Sexual Assault: The Dynamics of Gender, Culture, Space and Sexual Violence at Live Music Venues’. In Towards Gender Equality in the Music Industry: Education, Practice and Strategies for Change, ed. Catherine Strong and Sarah Raine, 89–102. New York: Bloomsbury.
Fileborn, Bianca, Phillip Wadds and Stephen Tomsen. 2019. Safety, Sexual Harassment and Assault at Australian Music Festivals: Final Report. Sydney: UNSW.
Frith, Simon, and Angela McRobbie. 1991 . ‘Rock and Sexuality’. In On Record: Rock, Pop and the Written Word, ed. Simon Frith and Andrew Goodwin, 371–89. London and New York: Routledge.
Gaar, Gillian G. 1992. She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll. Seattle: Seal Press.
Gill, Rosalind. 2016. ‘Post-postfeminism?: New Feminist Visibilities in Postfeminist Times’. Feminist Media Studies 16/4: 610–30. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2016.1193293
Glitsos, Laura. 2017. ‘Nice Girls Don’t Jive: The Rise and Fade of Women in Perth Music from the Late 1950s to the Early 1970s’. Continuum 31/2: 200–215. https://doi.org/10.1080/10304312.2016.1257695
Gray, Mel, Kylie Agllias, Leanne Schubert and Jennifer Boddy. 2015. ‘Doctoral Research from a Feminist Perspective: Acknowledging, Advancing and Aligning Women’s Experience’. Qualitative Social Work 14/6: 758–75. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325014565148
Harding, Sandra, and Kathryn Norberg. 2005. ‘New Feminist Approaches to Social Science Methodologies: An Introduction’. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 30/4: 2009–2015. https://doi.org/10.1086/428420
Hesmondhalgh, David, and Sarah Baker. 2015. ‘Sex, Gender and Work Segregation in the Cultural Industries’. The Sociological Review 63/1 (supplement): 23–36. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12238
Jones, Jenni. 2017. ‘How Can Mentoring Support Women in a Male-dominated Workplace? A Case Study of the UK Police Force’. Palgrave Communications 3. Online at http://www.palgrave-journals.com/articles/palcomms2016103 (accessed 15 April 2017).
Kimmel, Michael S. 1993. ‘Invisible Masculinity’. Society 30/6: 28–35. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02700272
Larsen, Gretchen. 2017. ‘“It’s a man’s man’s man’s world”: Music Groupies and the Othering of Women in the World of Rock’. Organization 24/3: 397–417. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508416689095
Leonard, Marion. 2007. Gender in the Music Industry. Hampshire: Ashgate.
Manhertz, Natalia. 2016. ‘Women in Medicine: Excluding Women’. Dissenting Voices 5/1: 63–77.
Mayhew, Emma. 1999. ‘Women in Popular Music and the Construction of Authenticity’. Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies 4/1: 63–81.
—2001. ‘The Representation of the Feminine, Feminist and Musical Subject in Popular Music Culture’. PhD thesis. Wollongong: University of Wollongong.
McCormack, Ange. 2018. ‘By the Numbers 2018: The Gender Gap in the Australian Music Industry’. triple j. Online at http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/by-the-numbers-2018/9524084 (accessed 27 June 2018).
Miller, Diana L. 2016. ‘Gender and the Artist Archetype: Understanding Gender Inequality in Artistic Careers’. Sociology Compass 10/2: 119–31. https://doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12350
Music Victoria. 2015. Women in the Victorian Contemporary Music Industry. Melbourne: Music Victoria.
Press, Joy, and Simon Reynolds. 1995. The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Raphael, Amy. 1995. Never Mind the Bollocks: Women Rewrite Rock. London: Virago.
Reddington, Helen. 2003. ‘“Lady” Punks in Bands: A Subculturette?’ In The Post Subcultures Reader, ed. David Muggleton and Rupert Weinzierl, 239–51. Oxford and New York: Berg.
Risman, Barbara. J. 2004. ‘Gender as a Social Structure: Theory Wrestling with Activism’. Gender & Society 18/4: 429–50. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243204265349
Schmutz, Vaughn, and Alison Faupel. 2010. ‘Gender and Cultural Consecration in Popular Music’. Social Forces 89/2: 685–707. https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.2010.0098
Shaw, Frances. 2012. ‘Hottest 100 Women’. Australian Feminist Studies 27/74: 373–87. https://doi.org/10.1080/08164649.2012.727270
Street, Amy E., Jaimie L. Gradus, Jane Stafford and Kacie Kelly. 2007. ‘Gender Differences in Experiences of Sexual Harassment: Data from a Male-dominated Environment’. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 75/3: 464–74. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.75.3.464
Strong, Catherine. 2011. ‘Grunge, Riot Grrrl and the Forgetting of Women in Popular Culture’. Journal of Popular Culture 44/2: 398–416. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2011.00839.x
—2014. ‘All the Girls in Town: The Missing Women of Australian Rock, Cultural Memory and Coverage of the Death of Chrissy Amphlett’. Perfect Beat 15/2: 149–66. https://doi.org/10.1558/prbt.v15i2.18363
Strong, Catherine, and Fabian Cannizzo. 2017. Australian Women Screen Composers: Career Barriers and Pathways. Melbourne: RMIT.
Throsby, David, and Katya Petetskaya. 2017. Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia. Strawberry Hills: Australia Council for the Arts.
VicHealth. 2011. Preventing Violence against Women in Australia Research Summary. Melbourne: VicHealth.
Wald, Gayle. 1998. ‘Just a Girl? Rock Music, Feminism, and the Cultural Construction of Female Youth’. Signs 23/3: 585–610. https://doi.org/10.1086/495280
Wall, Liz. 2014. ‘Gender Equality and Violence against Women: What’s the Connection?’ ACSSA Research Summary No. 7. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Walter, Maggie. 2013. Social Research Methods. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Whiteley, Sheila. 2000. Women and Popular Music: Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity. London: Routledge.
Wright, Tessa. 2016. ‘Women’s Experience of Workplace Interactions in Male-Dominated Work: The Intersections of Gender, Sexuality and Occupational Group’. Gender, Work and Organization 23/3: 348–62. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12074
YouGov. 2018. Harassment at Festivals Results. YouGov. Online at https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/kuck5zispj/PressAssociation_180606_FestivalsHarrassment_w.pdf (accessed 21 June 2018).
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.