^
Keep Westword Free
4

How not to interact with female musicians

Editor: Robin Edwards is a frequent Westword contributor who has played in several Denver bands. Her solo project is called Lisa Prank.

Sometimes I wonder what it was like before bands had Internet presences. Did creepy dudes just send their vaguely threatening messages to female musicians through the mail with locks of their hair? I've been thinking that might not have been out of the question ever since I received a Facebook message from a guy who went to one of my band's shows. He asked if he could be my stalker and added a goofy emoticon and a few "jk"s. I assume that was a way to hedge so that when I responded, he could pull the old, "I was joking! Don't be crazy!" card. Unfortunately, violence against women, which can certainly start with stalking, is a very real concern in our society, so it's not something you should joke about, especially with a complete stranger over the Internet.

I thought that threatening someone's personal safety was a commonsense no-no, but apparently that's not the case. So here's a handy guide with ways not to interact with female musicians. This is good advice for dealing with any human beings, actually, but it seems that these things happen at an alarmingly high rate to those of us who have the audacity to get on stage with instruments but no penis.

And no, your good intent does not give you a pass. Just because you're a self-proclaimed feminist, you have a Kathleen Hanna tattoo or you were "just joking" does not mean that your actions don't have harmful consequences. Prove you are a good guy by accepting criticism, apologizing and stepping back if you've said something offensive or creepy.

Don't assume she's a roadie/girlfriend/groupie If a woman is carrying a heavy-ass amp inside a venue, don't immediately assume she's there as support for the band. Use this assumption-less attitude in informing your interaction with her; don't immediately tell her she's not allowed backstage.

Don't offer music lessons This has happened to a surprising number of women I know. Here's how it usually goes: A dude comes up after a performance and says, "You know, I could give you [insert instrument here] lessons if you want."

In the words of Stephanie Tanner: How rude. Also in this category is giving pointers or advice on how your guitar should sound, as well as offering suggestions for improvement. If you want to help out, buy some merch.

Don't ask "Do you write your own songs?"

No, her boyfriend wrote them. See: Stephanie Tanner's catchphrase.

Don't say "You surprised me. You're actually good!" I think this is meant to be a compliment, but it isn't a good one. You seem to be saying, "At first I saw your female anatomy and thought, 'Someone with a vagina surely could not create music that I would like or relate to.' But, hey, you are a cut above the rest of your sex! Thank you for appealing to me!" Get out of here.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Don't compliment her appearance instead of her music Playing in a band is not the same as putting up an OkCupid profile. Playing music is not a desperate cry for dates. If you're thinking, "She looked so sexy up there" after she just played a killer guitar solo, keep that thought to yourself.

But don't worry! You can still interact with female musicians. Here are some good ways to do that: Be cool. Buy merch. Talk about the music. Interact like a human. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, "Would I say this to a dude in a band?" If the answer is no, don't say it.

Most of the people I interact with are sweet and respectful and wonderful. It's the stalker outliers who put women on edge when they're interacting with dudes at shows. In the words of Abraham Lincoln to Bill and Ted: Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes.

Tell Robin Edwards she's pretty good for a girl over on Twitter: @robinrobine

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.