International Women’s Day came and went this week. It’s a day that reminds us to celebrate the achievements, talents and ideas of women worldwide; a day where men are reminded to appreciate women and women are reminded to support each other rather than bring each other down. A pretty good day, right?
But the underhand, underestimated and unappreciated role of women in the music industry can’t be solved overnight. It’s a real issue that women in music- including the alternative scene, which most of us would like to think of as an open-minded space- continue to face, being scrutinised more for their appearance and sexuality rather than what they are actually capable of as musicians. We’ve listed just five (of the many, many awesome) rock bands with women who kick ass and, if you haven’t already, International Women’s Day is the perfect excuse for you to find out all about them.
Becky Blomfield is the glue that holds British alt-punks Milk Teeth together, anchoring the band’s live shows with her understated performance. While some might find the role of fronting a band a daunting one that poses a lot of pressure to act up to the part as much as possible, this lady would rather just do what she does best- play music. Grasping her bass and singing into the mic through messy strands of dark hair, Becky Blomfield is all about the music, allowing herself to sink into her own little world instead of playing up to the eyes that are on her, and that deserves an applause.
Against the Current
Just because a woman is attractive doesn’t mean she can’t be more than a pretty face- just look at Against the Current’s Chrissy Costanza. She’s aesthetically beautiful, of course, but the confidence she exudes is where her real beauty lies. Many of us would turn to jelly at the prospect of opening arena shows for, oh, let’s say pop-punk giants All Time Low– but not Chrissy Costanza. She didn’t let being the only female on an entire tour hold her back, and instead smashed out bold, energetic performances and a larger-than-life personality night after night without even a hint of fear. Be brave, ladies.
You might not have heard of them just yet, but give it a little time and we’re pretty certain you will. Describing themselves as noisy pop-rock, Scotland’s Vukovi are one of the tightest, coolest and most interesting new bands to watch live and that is, in part, down to vocalist Janine Shilstone. Her feisty attitude is matched by a fierce voice that completely consumes the tiny venues in which this band currently play. If you still can’t see any further than how a woman looks when she has pipes like Janine Shilstone then you, my friend, are part of the problem.
Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive often dons a baseball cap, sports jacket and cargo pants when she hits the stage and, although some commend her for going against superficial expectations, we don’t think it’s a deliberate move from the singer. Watching her perform, it seems more like she simply wears what she feels comfortable in and what outfit best equips her to do her job- throwing yourself all over a stage can’t be easy in high heels, anyway. Jenna McDougall shows us that you don’t have to act or dress like a “girly-girl” to be a successful woman in the music industry; being yourself is enough.
Half of punk rock four-piece Petrol Girls is made up of the female species, and that has definitely worked in their favour so far. Liepa Kuraitė and Ren Aldridge perform as part of this London-based feminist punk band, fighting for equality with their music. With songs that sing of oppression, gender roles and societal pressures, Petrol Girls are using their art to make a difference and, consequentially, have taken on an active role in changing how we see not just women in rock, not just women in music, but all women, everywhere. That’s worth celebrating, right?