Girls In Music

It’s shitty.

It’s utterly shitty.

You grow up in punk rock, and hopefully the dumb sub-sect of uncool cool kids at least let you be who you were in some respect.

I realize now… I was so lucky.

I grew up in Vancouver, a place where I didn’t even realize that I was different from anyone else who was playing music at the time.

I didn’t notice that I wasn’t the same gender because no one treated me any differently. I’m sure people noticed…ya, I was a girl. A girl fronting a three piece political punk rock band. Why didn’t anyone tell me? I thought it was because it wasn’t an issue. At least I hoped as much.

It took traveling across the country and then across the continent and then across the globe to realize: Dudes are shitty. Dudes in Bands? The shittiest.

I was lucky that my drummer was my best friend and my bass player was either a) in a relationship or b) engaged or c) married. I never saw the side of touring dudes that is sadly, reality.

You watch T.V. and you think: “There is no way it’s actually like that. Not these days.”

At least, not in punk rock…

Right?

That is what I thought.

Boy, was I wrong.

I thought I’d be the last person to pander to a demographic as archaic as gender. “This one’s for the ladies!” That stuff is ridiculous. Have we not evolved beyond that? What year is it for crying out loud!

So I thought…

It still happens. It is still happening. I see you backstage and I want to ask redundant questions like “Who raised you?”

Then I have to remind myself: I was lucky. I wasn’t raised in D.C. or Miami or L.A. or hell even Seattle. Is it location that is defining us? Who amongst our daughters are now safe? And by safe I mean…equal.

I always thought the people on my side, my team, the people in punk rock would at least stand up for the girls, if anything, because we were equals. Finally, I realize…was that in only our minds?

Was it only in my mind?

So I am backstage and I see you, ladies. I see you because, you know what? There aren’t many of us. There aren’t many of us singing songs and there aren’t many of us who are allowed to sell t-shirts and there are even fewer who are doing sound and acting as tour managers and techs. I’m sorry to play the gender card but now, half of my life later…I see why we stand out.

And I want to treat you the same way that I was treated. Like it isn’t an issue. Like you are one of us. But less and less you are in the band. More and more you are not the sound person, the tech or the tour manager. You’re not even selling t-shirts. You’re just hanging around.

I want to hand you a microphone and say “Here! Take this thing! Go do something with it! We have a responsibility!”

Because I realize I was lucky. And I wish I could thank the mothers of the boys who never treated me any differently. And I wish those boys were still being raised, across the country, across the continent, and across the globe.

Billy the Girl.