Music Column: Male superiority in music dialogue should be combatted

Music Column: Male superiority in music dialogue should be combatted
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In 30 minutes and ten tracks, Whitney’s two frontmen, Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, take the listener through a brutal, bitter winter, made more depressing by two devastating break-ups. They shut themselves away in a Chicago apartment and came out with honest answers and questions that morphed into enchantingly perfect music. These two boys, partnered with four other fantastic musicians, including a brass player that heightens the band incredibly, create the most appealing sounds, which are accompanied by the most candid words. 

Last week, Whitney played at The Saturn in Birmingham. It was my second time seeing the band, with Julien playing the drums and singing at the center, an arrangement that makes me smile. This go-round was uniquely formative for myself as a listener. It was one of those shows that thoroughly dazzled me; my thoughts ran rampant as I stared in awe at Max and his guitar, a single unit. Max and Julien made the truest art that is honest, but purely them and the experiences that shaped them. I don’t mean to always mention this, but as a senior, Whitney encouraged me to be honest with the time that I have left at UA and to do and say the things that may seem like too hot of a take.

My hot take of the week: Girls do not need to have music, or the music industry, explained to them by the male population of this campus. I am rather exhausted with the amount of times I have had to prove my knowledge of music to a man when I’ve mentioned music, or an artist I enjoy. Recently, I read an article in The Telegraph, in which a woman explains that all her music preferences are the direct result of her relationships with men, including her father, brother, friends, boyfriends, etc. She goes on to explain that men are more vocal when they are passionate about something, which causes others to take notice, and men tend to be extremely passionate about their music tastes.

If this is the case, why can it seem like men never see this same passion in women when they make recommendations? I am constantly defending my music preferences, which I do enjoy wholeheartedly, but not when it seems that I am forced to explain my stance more frequently and with more urgency. I think music can be informative in regards to an individual’s personality, but not gender. When I’m asked, “You’re a girl, why don’t you like this song?” in regards to Taylor Swift’s new single, my face turns red and my blood pressure spikes. My gender does not affect the music that I consume. It just doesn’t.

Recently, when engaging in a discussion about music and the over-abundance of artists made prevalent through streaming services, a male counterpart began explaining the current status of the music industry to me. He began to clarify how these services have made music and artists so readily available. We were unable to get into the meat of this discussion because we had to go through this unnecessary explanation period that resulted in an oversimplification of the industry. The assumption that I needed background information before fully participating in this conversation made me irate. While I admit that I am not well informed of all genres, artists, and their histories, I have enough expertise to be a effective conversationalist about music. 

Music preferences and knowledge reveal so much about an individual that focusing on gender seems rather surface-level and amateur. An individual’s music tastes reveal experiences that have shaped them, their political views, their parents’ influences, etc. This information is much more pertinent than understanding someone’s music in relation to their gender. 

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