Sunday, June 21, 2009
Why Don't Girl Groups Rock?
One fact about music has intrigued me. No all-girl bands have made significant contributions in the field of rock music. In fact, most girl bands are horrible. Of course, the Go-Go's and the Bangles proved popular. And, many girl-fronted bands like Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts have paved the way for other girl rockers. Still, no all-girl group has reached legendary rock status. Here are some reasons (serious and light-hearted) in no particular order for the fact that "girls don't rock." 1. Many females have an innate fear of electrical machines and appliances so soundboards, amps, and rock equipment just intimidates them. Big Marshall amps and heavy Les Paul guitars seldom enter the dreams of girls who like rock. 2. At about six years old, children develop a firm idea of gender instruments, and while boys prefer "cool" instruments, girls prefer instruments used in classical music. 3. Males like to pick up music in social and informal ways, learning by picking up tips from their peers, rather than by attending weekly lessons with a teacher. Informal training is most often used by rock players. 4. Males will often play certain instruments like the guitar or drums for street credibility. 5. Rock instruments, themselves, such as the electric guitar and drums are geared for creativity and rebellion, perceived more as masculine traits. 6. Males pick up rock instruments to get laid while girls dress up and make up to get laid. For a girl, outplaying the boys onstage isn't necessarily a shortcut to the male heart. 7. Playing in a rock band is a great alternative means for status and popularity for males not recognized in schools as extremely athletic jocks. 8. Girls just couldn't get along well enough to figure out how to make the insane drummer, ego maniacal singer, absent bassist, insecure guitarist, and redundant yet snobbish keyboardist get along and show up for practice and gigs on time. 9. Music is an industry focused on unleashing the id (demanding immediate gratification of its needs) and flattering the ego (seeking to please the id’s drive in realistic ways) , terrain that's challenging for most females. Ironically, males are attracted to music for the same reasons. 10. Females are twice as likely as males to say a body part is their best feature while twice as many males say their talents are what they like most about themselves. 11. In genetics, males are predisposed animals of the human species meant to be "wild" and "savage," while females are predisposed to be more civilized nurturers. 12. Playing the electric guitar (phallic symbol) is synonymous to sexual pleasure for the male, an orgasmic expression geared entirely differently in females. When Joan Jett went solo in 1980, she was told by record executives that a girl with an electric guitar and an attitude would never make it. Studies show women buy just 7 percent of all the electric guitars in this country, according to Music Trades Magazine. We live in a culture where the electric guitar, at least when it's played at full and distorted blaze, is considered unladylike. 13. Girls' hands are naturally smaller than most men’s, and they often have difficulty reaching around the entire neck of a guitar. That’s why many girls play 3/4 scale guitars. 14. Females have difficulty drumming because they don’t know how to grip the sticks, beat them hard, keep a wanking rhythm or how to get a good sound. Plus, their breasts get in the way. 15. Another reason females can’t drum is because they have too many brain cells. Drummers, for the most part, are morons, and the dumber they are, the harder they hit those skins. The more a drummer drools and smells like an animal, the more likely he is to be a savage behind that kit. 16. Girls just simply don't have the rage that makes rock, rock probably because it is testosterone-driven. Anger and rebellion are important ingredients of rock. Camille Paglia, a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia says, "For an adolescent boy, your guitar speaks for you, it says what you can't say in real life, it's the pain you can't express, it's rage, hormones pumping. Women can be strangers and all of a sudden have an intimate conversation. Boys can't do that. The guitar for a boy speaks to an aggressive sexual impulse and suppressed emotionality, the things that boys can't share, even with other members of the band. It's a combination of rage and reserve and ego." 17. Girl groups are either glamorizing sex appeal (physical appearance or fashion) or defending feminine equality over the substance of their material or the skills of their musicianship. Women on MTV are five times more likely than men to be wearing revealing clothing. 18. Much of the rebellious subject matter of rock is more believably delivered by the aggressive male voice. Testosterone-driven vocals symbolize the traditional rock sound. 19. Rock music is an industry in which females basically sat out, or were sidelined during, the first 20 years of its development. Sure, traditional vocal girl groups scored hits, but by the '70s, most rock sounds and styles had already been staked out by males. 20. Female rockers have long been forced to navigate an obstacle course that includes morons, hecklers and skeptics which has caused many to give up. "Take off your shirt" is one of the more benign taunts that an aspiring female guitarist is likely to hear onstage. Many rockers are pre-wired to criticize girl groups. 21. The market for guitar-wielding women rockers has never been huge, particularly among girls. According to David Segal, Washington Post writer, "The gender divide at live concerts is often pretty stark. Boys generally want to see men play guitar (hence Metallica etc.), and girls generally want to watch men and women sing (hence Christina, Hilary Duff). After a Metallica show a few thousand lads are pining for their very own black ESP Explorer with the deer skull inlay. Has anybody ever watched a Hillary Duff show and then gone shopping for a guitar?" 22. Katherine Thomas, the only woman named in Guitar One magazine's list of the top ten fastest guitar shredders of all time, cites a different reason for female rock ineptness. Mostly, she blames the women themselves-- for refusing to work hard enough, for lacking discipline and for lacking a certain part of the male reproductive anatomy (figuratively speaking). 23. Female bands lack musical competitiveness among band members, thus they end up with a mess lacking in conviction and full of trial and error. 24. Girl bands have at least a hundred songs about their ex-boyfriends: the second girls learn to talk, boys are all they want to talk about. The bands often shoot themselves in the proverbial foot with truckloads of repetitive and immature emotional songs.