Let me get this out of the way first. I hate that my gender has anything to do with people's interest in the kind of music I make. In a perfect world people people wouldn't care if I had girl parts or not and they would focus on the kind of music I make rather than credit or discredit me in some way because I am of the female persuasion.
The reality however is that in the 20 years I have been in bands, gender is still a big deal. Journalists and music fans alike STILL say and write absolutely unfair and obnoxious things that they would never say about a male artist. (for instance Adele whose voice is infinitely more interesting than what size clothing she might wear and yet people still talk about her weight when if she was a man, body shape would NEVER be mentioned) And so, even if I don't want to be treated differently as a female musician, I always have been and feel like I probably always will be.*
It is because of this first hand experience of being treated differently (and in fairness not always unfairly) that I have an extra sentimental feeling attached to other female musicians and their art. We as woman often have to brave sexism within our own creative community (from men and other women!) so by putting ourselves out there in the way that we do, we are almost like silent partners.
I realize this makes me hypocrite because female musicians are selfishly more important to me when I just stated than I would rather the world not focus on gender and let us just be humans. Female musicians have to be brave and strong in ways that men will never have to face within their scenes. Knowing intimately the hardships female artists face makes me look to them and their music to fuel my art. Whenever I have ever felt frustrated because I can't just be a musician, I have to also represent my gender and be judged in a unique way because I am a woman, all I need to do is listen to any of the other artists I love who happen to also be female, and I feel re-inspired.
I can't be sure I own more music by women than other music fans but I can say that these records mean a great deal to me and whenever I have the opportunity to share my personal collection of records featuring woman, I am honored and happy to do so. DJing these records gives me the opportunity to share something that has helped shape and inspire me as much as my family and friends.
I will be playing all vinyl and nothing but female artists during my Gallery 5 First Friday set (6/1/12 - 7PM @ Gallery 5 in Richmond, VA). You can read more about the event here.
Here are just some of the woman who wow me and whose records I plan on bringing:
* Examples of the sort of thing I have been told as a girl in a band. "So who in the band are you fucking?" "Show me your tits" (yes people really do yell that), "I hate all bands with a girl singer, no offense though." "You must be a lesbian (faggot, dyke....add your own slur here)" "All girl musicians suck."
I have also watched droves of people leave a venue when they see a girl (AKA me) take the stage only to return after a few songs when they realized my old band Dahlia Seed wasn't "pussy shit" as so many hardcore dudes assumed we were. Some of these guys would actually walk up to me after our shows and say "You were pretty good for a girl singer" and expect me to take that as a compliment.
Me circa 1996, final show.