I have always tried to ignore the fact that there is gender inequality in almost all professional industries. The harsh reality is that women have to work twice as hard to receive half the recognition.
One of the first things my female boss asked me at my summer internship was, “Do you have a boyfriend?” I was perplexed that she would ask me a personal question like this. When I informed her I didn’t, she advised me that I should find one fast. She said that the girlfriends and wives of male clients I work with might be uncomfortable with the fact that their boyfriends or husbands work closely with a single woman. No matter how professional I act, other women can be skeptical of my motives. This infuriated me. The music industry is already dominated by men and they never have to prove that they aren’t using their job to find a romantic partner.
My boss also informed me that many of the men she dated, before she met her fiancé, were not comfortable with the fact that she was working closely with so many male musicians. I would never want to date someone who felt as though he had any control over whom I work with. However, I understand that it is a legitimate concern.
Gender discrimination rears its ugly head every once in a while and I don’t anticipate it to go away any time soon. One time I was sitting in class and my friend turns to me and says, “You know, when I’m a CEO and I act bossy, people will view me as a great leader, but when you’re a CEO and you act bossy, people are going to think you’re a bitch.” This has stuck with me ever since.
At my boss’s summer picnic, I met with John James Ryan Jr., tour manager for The Wonder Years, Four Year Strong, A Loss For Words, and The Story So Far. I had the opportunity to pick his brain and ask him about his experience as a tour manager in the hardcore/pop-punk scene. He gave me invaluable insight on the industry that I am extremely grateful for. I asked him if he thinks women have it harder in touring. He said “not anymore” and that all the women he has worked with are awesome. I found this encouraging, but I still felt somewhat doubtful.
My boss told me a few stories regarding colleagues treating her as if she was a subordinate to her equal business partner. Her partner would defend her, by telling people that she probably knows more about the subject than he does. She is strong, professional, and badass, and she doesn’t need anyone to defend her. Her wisdom and professionalism are insurmountable. There is no reason to suspect she is anything less than a HBIC. I was outraged to hear that even in the 21st century, she faced gender discrimination.
My boss was and still is my role model. She convinced me to never be passive, in order to prevent getting walked over. She taught me to be bold and proud and always use my voice. She told me weak men are the bane of her existence, and the more I think about it, the more it resonates with me. Hardcore music isn’t the easiest scene for women to break into, but that just motivates me ten times harder.
First and foremost, I want to be a successful professional in the music industry. I want to accomplish incredible things and be admired within the scene. I really want to make a difference in the lives of my clients and their fans. However, if I can inspire women to take risks by pursuing careers generally dominated by men, I will feel legendary.