WHEN READING up on Chrissie Hynde’s new album, Stockholm, I came across a lot of colorful descriptions of Hynde in the media: “Pioneering feminist.” “Rock diva.” Even “sex kitten.” The danger of using adjectives like these is that they send the message, intentional or not: “Not bad for a girl.”
People often ask me why Electronic Musician doesn’t publish a “Women in Music” issue. While we strive for diversity in our content, we prefer to profile people who have earned success on their own merit, not just because they fall into a certain category. Otherwise, the implication is that these individuals need some kind of special treatment or deserve recognition that they wouldn’t have earned in a bigger playing field.
Gender is only an issue for people who make it an issue. Certainly, there’s an imbalance in the studio world, but we see this disparity in every technical field, and it can generally be traced back to early education, where girls are not always encouraged to explore math and science.
And while segmentation may work to empower, say, girls in grade school, it does everyone a disservice to praise people solely (read: conditionally) based on their gender, race, or age.
Let’s agree to stop using unnecessary labels and focus on talent, which never needs a qualifier.