The Guitar Magazine -“Woman Tone: Is the guitar industry sexist?”


Some thoughts from Alice

MIA Members Anthem Publishing, publisher of both music-making and music-listening magazines, have utilised their title ‘The Guitar Magazine’ to feature a timely, socially responsible piece on whether the guitar industry is sexist.

This article, cleverly named ‘Woman Tone’ (which is how Eric Clapton described his sweet, harmonically rich guitar tone on various Cream Tracks such as “Sunshine of Your Love”) is written by Thea De Gallier and is another important step in creating and facilitating conversation around sexism in our world.

As some of you may know, I am advocate for making the industry better represented, be it with age, ethnicity or gender. We have previously featured articles on this issue, including my response to a mass media article named ‘Girls, Guitars and Sexism in the Music Industry’. Read it here.

The industry as a whole is certainly making some encouraging movements, including The ISM and The Musicians’ Union launch of the industry code of practice; a set of principles to ‘tackle and prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination in the music sector’ (read more here). Plus, NAMM have recently launched The Smart Women in Music (SWIM) Fund in the US; a fund designed to foster and support female industry professionals at various stages of their careers (read more here)

‘Woman Tone’ by The Guitar Magazine talks about Tish Ciravolo of Daisy Rock Guitars and her efforts to “level the playing field” for female guitarists and bassists of all ages (previously interviewed by us here) and gets input from the brilliant Helen Varley, who looks after the Gretsch, Charvel, Jackson and EVH brands as Head of Specialty Marketing at Fender EMEA.

Simon Lewis, Managing Director of Anthem Publishing says: “It’s a real crusade of mine that women get a greater voice in the industry both behind and in front of the mic”

Chris Vinnicombe, Editor of The Guitar Magazine says: “It’s a piece I’ve wanted to commission for several years now and I’m pleased that we’ve finally done it. To be honest I’m often frustrated by how much casual sexism I hear from certain corners of the industry”

Here’s an excerpt from ‘Woman Tone: Is the guitar industry sexist?’

Historically, the industry has often presented women as a prop. The NAMM show’s ‘booth babes’ aren’t seen with such regularity these days, but they’re still there. Rolling Stone’s annual 100 Greatest Guitarists lists recycle the same male names year after year, with only Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell deemed worthy of inclusion on the 2015 list (which also only had four women on a judging panel of 59).

Influential female guitarists from all genres – Joan Jett, Orianthi, Nita Strauss, Tracy Chapman and Jennifer Batten, to name but a few – often find themselves relegated to ‘best female’ lists (although Strauss has just become Ibanez’s first female endorsee). Guitar World only stopped filling its Buyer’s Guide special with bikini-clad women in 2016, while Revolver’s ‘Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock’ feature was killed off with the magazine’s change of ownership last year.

Read the full article here: