The music industry has a reputation for sexism. We’ve all heard stories from the #MeToo movement, horror stories of women being harassed or abused by men. However, though less egregious than harassment, bullying of women in the industry happens far too often. Note, the point of this article is not to beat up on men, but rather to call attention to the sexism that so many of us have experienced.
I’ve had far too many bad experiences being bullied, demeaned, talked down to, even yelled at, sometimes by men I’ve worked closely with for years. Some examples: I was at a writing session with a (male) producer and topliner. The topliner had suggested a line that I wasn’t really feeling, so I made an alternative suggestion which we both liked. Right there in the middle of the session, the producer asked me to step outside, and then proceeded to scold me and say that I was not to offer any suggestions and that we were going with the toplier’s suggestion whether or not I liked it. On the next session, he brought in a different topliner who asked if I had any song ideas, which I, being prepared for the session, did. The producer walked away and refused to participate in the session. After the topliner left, he told me I was to sit quietly in the corner, offer zero suggestions, and let the topliner and him write songs without any input from me.
Another example: I was talking to the (male) member of my team who had set up those sessions, sharing my experience. This man literally yelled at me over the phone, was so incredibly demeaning, telling me I was wrong and I honestly have kind of blocked out some of the specifics from my memory because it was horrible. I remember my mom was walking by my room while I was on this call and she could hear through the phone this bullying and was horrified. The next day he acted nice and normal—I don’t think he even remembers that conversation.
A manager I had previously worked with refused to collaborate on ideas. If I ever offered a thought contrary to his idea, he would get mad, and say I should listen to everything he said, he knew better, and make me feel stupid by saying “whatever, it’s your career (phone hangup).” It turned into a situation where I could choose to either not give my opinion or prepare to fight for it.
And finally, the most recent experience I had was in a Zoom cowriting session with a male topliner (whom I’d worked with several times before) and a male producer. (I’ve had similar experiences as this one in the past.) The producer did not care that I was a pop artist and insisted on making a hip-hop vibe track, ignoring my input. Both ignored any suggestions I gave, pretending not to hear me, and then repeatedly, the topliner would make the same suggestion I’d already made several minutes later and take credit for it—and then use it in the song!
These are just a few examples of some of my experiences. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with so many wonderful men as well! But this kind of bullying and sexist behavior that so many of us have experienced is not ok. If you are a woman in music and have felt bullied, you are not alone! Just remember, it’s ok to stand up for yourself. And men, if you observe this happening, please help change this behavior by calling it out. Let’s change the music industry’s reputation.
Written by Audriix :
When it comes to pursuing her passion for music, Audriix is nothing less than a force of nature. Growing up in northern California, the singer/songwriter begged for violin lessons at age two, took up the instrument just a year later, and soon moved on to also mastering piano, viola, and singing (eventually adding guitar and drums as well). Having started writing songs at age six, she later self-produced her first batch of material in the midst of earning three degrees from Stanford University. Through it all, Audriix has developed her own unforgettable voice as an artist: strong and self-assured, thoughtful but light-hearted, clear-eyed yet infectiously hopeful. On her full-length debut Status Change, Audriix brings that voice to a brightly edgy brand of pop built on massive choruses and effervescent melodies. Website : https://www.audriix.com
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