Friday, June 14, 2013

Maybe Guitars Should Be Sold With a Strap On, And a Strap-On

Being a woman is hard! Hide your nipples and your tampons. Fight cravings. Deal with PMS. Carry babies. Etc. Granted there have been great feminists who have opened doors, shattered windows, broken through glass ceilings, and then after they finished working out their PMSing, they made great strides for us women. But when are the feminists going to focus on the Women’s Rights Movement part about Women Musician Equality? There are a few places I like to avoid because they are not kind to, um, my kind, women; Church, dark alleys, construction sites (Sometimes. Sometimes I need the pick me up), and music stores. More times than I could count, whenever I walk in to a Guitar Center, or Sam Ash, or what have you, the sales guy (always a guy) asks: “Are you shopping for your boyfriend?” Uh, I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t need a man. Independent woman! Then I break into BeyoncĂ©’s Single Ladies dance routine. Lately, I find it better to disguise as a man when I go buy strings or drool over over-priced guitars. Exaggeration? Maybe, but dude’s clothes are way more comfortable and muffin top friendly. Do I fool them? Never. My hips don’t lie either, Shakira. To be honest, there have been those times when the sales guy isn’t so much trying to sell, but he is trying to school me on the gear. I don’t hold it against him that he doesn’t know I worked for a music store for many years (probably the only woman in a blah blah mile radius), but as a musician, he should know that I know the difference in electric guitar pickups. On my latest visit to the music store that will remain nameless, mostly because I don’t remember which one it was, I was perusing the songbooks section, and came across a book titled “How to succeed as a Female Guitarist. (The Essential Guide for Working in a Male-Dominated Industry)” As a female and a guitarist, I was upset and offended, but I not by the author. No. She meant well. I was mostly upset and offended that this book had to be written and published at all. Where’s the “How to…for Male Guitarist” book? When has there ever been a woman on a top guitarists list? When can woman jam out with man without man feeling superior and taking the lead? When will I be able to afford my dream telecaster? Does this sweater make me look fat? Why am I wearing a sweater in June? Why can’t I just get paid for listening to music? How many calories in eaten up resentment? It is true the ratio of female to male musicians is just under the ratio of female to male magicians, but why does female to male musician still come second to male? Why can’t it just be about skill? And what is the measure of skill anyway? Fast solos? Knowledge of chords? There are plenty of women that I can list who are better than a lot of the men out there. If I sound like a disgruntled musician, who happens to be a woman, it is because I am hungry, and probably PMSing. What’s today’s date? If you don’t want things to get messy, here are the demands: Leave us alone. Stop treating us like bass players. Recognize the talent. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. And look away when we eat. Just. Just look away.