GIRLS TALK project, is about the treatment of women in the music industry!
Morning Amy, thank you for taking time out today to talk about your project and associated website. Let’s start off with What was your motivation behind your project ‘Girl Talk’ The idea started back in 2017 when I went to a fundraiser gig for Safe Gigs for Women at Gwdihw. I had not heard of this organisation before this. The event featured female fronted bands and artists, and when I photographed them, I felt a connection to the women and the cause. As a photographer when shooting a band, a big reason behind taking the pictures is to show the meaning behind the music. I wanted to do something more than just take photos. At Safe Gigs for Women, everyone is really busy with their workload as they are all volunteers so it is hard to work with them definitely on a specific project. Therefore, I changed the project idea slightly to focus on individuals’ experiences, where I began with advertising the project on Instagram and Twitter. About the same time Ladies of Rage emerged in August. This group focuses on women in underrepresented music genres including grime, drum and bass and hip hop. This made me realise how male dominated the industry is, there are women making music across every genre yet only the men seem to get recognised, unless a female is sexualised and therefore gains more attention (unfortunately). From the local to international live and recorded scene. A few of the girls in the project were found through the Ladies of Rage group, but also through my work in Cardiff’s music scene over the past few years. I had an Exhibition at The Moon on Womanby Street in Cardiff of the 13 final portraits, tied into the Ladies of Rage showcase event. It was interesting to have my portraits up on the wall as the girls performed, to show that things are not all they seem and there is more to the story regarding sexual assault in the music scene. Having done the project and talking to women, I realise that it will take men to change it. Toxic Masculinity is a massive issue and needs to be addressed.
Explain what you mean by Toxic masculinity?The definition is split into two parts. One side is that men shouldn’t/can’t show emotions as it is not seen as masculine. This leads to aggressive behaviour including sexual aggression. It’s a massive issue when you think about lad culture – men playing up to one another and not considering the consequences of their behaviour. To change this, bands with male members playing to crowds that are predominately men need to spread the message across that this isn’t acceptable.
Men seek to be dominant and have the power which creates violence and aggression that is masking their true emotions. There needs to be a cultural shift where women and men meet and communicate where women are not seen as people not as sexualised objects. This would create a safer environment for both men and women.
But there are a lot of bands at the moment in the rock scene that are beginning to address these issues: one being Dream Wife. They have a song called ‘Somebody’ where their chorus says ‘I am not my body I am somebody.’ The song addressed a slut shaming walk / protest in Reykjavik, Iceland and the band make a conscious effort at their shows to bring the ‘bad bitches’ to the front so women can enjoy themselves and safety is promoted.
What Changes Would you like to see to move Girls Talk, Safer Gigs for Women forward
There are some many things at local and national level that needs to be done. Girls, need to be supportive of each other and stop pitting themselves against one another. In music to have festivals and gig nights that are a 50/50 gender balance and to give more opportunities for sound, lighting and stage management to women is really important. This would change attitudes and the audiences would experience a different approach. This approach would help musicians and techs prove that you can do this as a woman.
Did you know this approach is happening In Sweden,Music Tech Fest September 2018?Wow, that is interesting.
Doing this project working with women I have experienced a nice vibe being with them as it has been nothing but a positive experience. It has highlighted that men’s behavior needs to be changed and bands have a platform where they can change how they interact with the crowd as a start by how they speak about girls and how they promote the ‘lad culture’. Like asking the audience to turn to the person next to you and kiss them, fans react the same way and do as they are told and with this, space is invaded when it is not asked for or wanted. This fuels this type of behavior across the wider community. It is not women’s fault it is happening. Rape culture shows that the fault does not lie with the woman, who is the victim in the crime. With men changing their behavior reacting to situations differently society can be safer and fairer.
This Project is part of your final year at University what happens next?
I am planning to continue to work with Ladies of Rage Group and make a magazine, with a mix of content, documenting events and have issues like this in it so follows on quite nicely. I have worked mainly in Cardiff with some amazing women and groups that are working to make a difference. Music is a good way to connect women with their experiences and overcome what they have been through by sharing their message with others who may be going through the same thing. Read it here: