Online Class Discussion #6 is open for comments November 6-12. Refer to the grading rubric for requirements on commenting:


In the classical music world, just as in other fields, women have been present and made significant contributions as long as the profession has existed. However, women as a group generally have not been acknowledged or lauded to the degree or consistency that men have been in the field. The emphasis on male musicians in the field (as composers, conductors, and top performers) paints a picture that making classical music is a man’s activity and that all the greatest achievements are done by men and by men only, and this has repercussions for how classical music evolves and remains relevant (or not).

[Side note #1: Men have obviously had some fantastic musical moments; we’ve listened to a lot of them in class. They just don’t have a monopoly on musical ability, and addressing non-male contributions and the difficulty women have in asserting their value in this field is the focus of this online discussion.]

[Side note #2: Everything that applies to women in this online discussion applies to other kinds of minorities, too. The content of this course has skewed heavily, nay exclusively, to music by dead white guys — this is a bit of a selection effect, since the topic of the course is Western music, and for the historical periods we’ve covered so far, the European population historically consists of approximately 50% dead white guys — but in addition to that, the social structures that benefit white men in European society, allowing them to become musically trained, present concerts, publish music, and earn money, are often the same structures that make the same activities difficult for their non-white, non-male counterparts.]

What is sexism?

sexism-rosieSexism refers to using a person’s sex as a basis for prejudice, discrimination, or stereotyping. It includes stereotypes such as women are kind and men are strong, and it begins early in life: baby clothes and toys are color-coded, blue for boys and pink for girls, although at the beginning of the 20th century pink was for boys, and some parents today reject this binary in favor of “neutral” colors like yellow and green. Sexism influences our perceptions of ourselves, our abilities, and our roles in society: boys who feel they have to be good at sports, or girls who think they’ll never be good at math or science. We’ve seen an example of this already in an entry Clara Schumann wrote in her own diary:

“I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose—there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?” – Clara Schumann, 1839

Sexism frames and shapes romantic or sexual interactions (telling women that they should smile more because it will make them look pretty, expecting men to be gentlemen who hold doors open or pay for dates) as well as our attitudes towards activities in which gender is not obviously an issue (perceiving male professors as being more intelligent or capable than female ones, questioning whether women can hold political office because they are too emotional or not emotional enough, arguing that women should hold political office because they are more compassionate). It’s also worth noticing that the sexist stereotypes and presumptions we as a society express are often contradictory and shift over time — they are not fixed, they can be changed, and they are something that we collectively invent based on what we believe, perceive, or need at the time.

[Side note #3: The terms “sex” and “gender” are often used interchangeably in day-to-day conversation, but they refer to slightly different things. Sex is biological: chromosomes, hormones, and sex organs. Gender is socially-defined: the way that we present masculinity or femininity outwardly in terms of behavior, clothing, and social roles. When we talk about sexism, we’re really often talking about gender-ism — interactions based on 1) what we perceive people’s gender to be, and 2) what we expect them to do as a representative of their gender. But “genderism” is an awkward word and a more subtle distinction than we need to make right now.]

Legal hurdles and socially-constructed assumptions about women have prevented them from rising to prominence in the classical music field:

“Gentlemen may employ their hours of business in almost any degrading occupation and, if they have the means of supporting a respectable establishment at home, may be gentlemen still; while, if a lady but touch any article, no matter how delicate, in the way of trade, she loses caste, and ceases to be a lady.” –Sarah Stickney Ellis (1812-72)

Musical training was often seen as a way to make women more attractive or marriageable, not a foundation for a professional career. And the domination of the professional music world by men is tradition, the way it’s seemingly always been. Such long-standing beliefs about the physical capabilities of women and men led the Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov to say in 2012 that women could never be real conductors because “The essence of the conductor’s profession is strength. The essence of a woman is weakness.”

Assumptions about what people of a particular gender can or cannot do, or should or should not do, create the social structures in which we live. In terms of the classical music world, such structures have the effect of maintaining the illusion that classical musicians could only be men. Here’s how this works:

  • If women are assumed not to be musical, professional, or competent, then they will either 1) self-censor and not pursue their musical interests, or 2) not be admitted into the best music schools or receive the best training.
  • If women not admitted into the best schools, they will have a smaller chance of building the network of peers and mentors that will help them secure the best jobs and reptuation.
  • If women are not holding professional positions of power, influence, or respect, then they cannot mentor or guide another generation of students to follow in their footsteps; they cannot be advocates for younger candidates because they aren’t seated on a school’s admission committee or a professional organization’s job hiring committee. There aren’t enough of them to exert their leverage to insist on equal pay, family leave, or other issues that an all-male governing board might overlook (but that would be a barrier for other women to enter or remain in the workforce).

Add to these structures any additional prejudicial beliefs about women or their abilities, and it’s not hard to see why there have been so few women in leadership or famous positions in the professional classical music world historically. (If you re-read these bullet points and substitute any other minority group — a racial, ethnic, or sexual orientation minority group, for example — you would also have an explanation for why this group of people traditionally has been excluded from the professional classical music world.)

An anecdote: Abbie Conant

abbie-conant
Abbie Conant

In one particularly egregious example of gender-based prejudice clouding people’s assessment of talent or ability, sexism derailed and marred the career of Abbie Conant. Conant is an American trombone player who played in the Münich Philharmonic (Germany) in the 1980s and 1990s.

Orchestral auditions take place behind a screen so that the auditioning committee cannot see the performer; it allows them to hire the player who sounds the best rather than being persuaded by seeing someone they know, being affected by the player’s physical gestures, or discriminating based on gender or race. Conant won her position (solo trombone) with the Münich Philharmonic in 1980 and was approved by the other members of the orchestra during both her audition and her first year with the orchestra, but the conductor of the orchestra refused to let her play the role that she had won, instead insisting that she play second to another male trombonist because he believed that only a man could really handle the role:

“You know the problem: we need a man for solo trombone.” —Sergiu Celibidache, General Music Director of the Münich Philharmonic

Conant was officially demoted to the position of second trombone in 1982 by the Music Director (a position that requires substantially more work but earns significantly less pay), and she sued. Over the next 11 years, she and the orchestra were embroiled in a legal battle (involving court appearances nearly ever year), and she had to complete several arduous tests and tasks in order to be able to play in the position she had already won:

  • 1982: Orchestra leadership argued that Conant did not “possess the necessary strength to be a leader of the trombone section.” By her husband’s account, she “underwent extensive medical testing to measure the capacity of her lungs and the speed at which she could inhale and exhale air. She had blood drawn from her ear to see how efficiently her body absorbed oxygen. She stripped and let a doctor examine her rib cage and chest. She also solicited forty-three testimonials of her musicianship from guest conductors and other musicians.”
  • 1987: The court ordered Conant to play for another trombone professional to asses her physical strength, endurance, and durability. She was required to play a series of the most difficult excerpts from the orchestral repertoire, all of which were chosen by the Music Director. In her re-audition, which was more rigorous or demanding than any regular audition (including the one she had already won in 1980), she played each excerpt several times, altering her performance each time to meet the auditor’s instructions to vary the style, dynamics, phrasing, and vibrato. The auditor’s court report praised her playing fully (and also required a $2,200 court payment from Conant):

“She is a wind player with an outstandingly well-trained embouchure, i.e., lip musculature, that enables her to produce controlled tone production in connection with a controlled breath flow, and which gives her the optimal use of her breath volume. Her breathing technique is very good and makes her playing, even in the most difficult passages, superior and easy. In this audition she showed sufficient physical strength, endurance, and breath volume, and above and beyond that, she has enormously solid nerves. This, paired with the above mentioned wind-playing qualities, puts her completely in the position to play the most difficult phrases in a top orchestra, holding them out according to the conductor’s directions for adequate length and intensity, as well as strength.” —Heinz Fadle

  • 1988: The court ruled in her favor, and Conant was reinstated to her position of solo trombone. The orchestra, however, refused to pay her at a soloist level until ordered to do so specifically by the court.
  • 1990; The orchestra created a special lower solo category to pay her less than her other 15 (male) soloist colleagues in the orchestra.
  • 1993: The court ruled that Conant should be in the same pay category as her colleagues, finally allowing her to truly say, 13 years after joining the orchestra, that she was its solo trombone. Unsurprisingly, she then left the orchestra and accepted a prestigious (and less litigious) position at the State Conservatory of Music in Trossingen (Germany). The Münich Philharmonic hired a seventeen-year-old man who had no prior orchestral experience as her replacement.

Conant’s story is not unique, either. In the Pittsburgh Symphony, trombonist Rebecca Bower was similarly relegated to playing second after winning a principal position by a male conductor. French horn player Helen Kotas was the first woman appointed to a principal position on any instrument except harp in the US in 1941, but she left the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1948 after being demoted to third horn, and the orchestra currently has no women in principal positions. Tina Ward, a clarinet player, was complimented in her audition for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1970 precisely because she didn’t “sound like a woman.”

In the top orchestras in the US, women make up only 25-30% of the players, on average, a large increase from around 5% in the 1970s. The shift isn’t due to affirmative action but rather a switch to blind auditions (behind screens). Screens don’t hide the sounds of shoes or musicians’ breaths, so there is still opportunity for gender bias in the process, but the implication is that when gender is largely taken off the table, well-trained women are as competent as their male counterparts.

There is still a disparity in terms of prestigious positions within orchestras and the classical music world. Most conductors and most principal or solo positions in orchestras in the US, Europe, and Asia are held by men (except for harp, a position which is almost always held by women). Tenured professorships at prestigious universities and conservatories are more often held by men while women are more commonly found at smaller, less well-known schools or in adjunct positions.

Gender and musical meaning

In class we briefly touched upon the notion that a musician’s identity can affect the meaning we perceive in their music (Robert Johnson compared with Cream in the song Cross Roads Blues). Gender is an aspect of a musician’s identity that can radically shift the sense of meaning we take away from a piece of music. Here is an example:

Destiny’s Child, “Say My Name” (1999) — female singers

Sick Puppies, “Say My Name” (2001) — male singer

sexy-classical-music-albumGender shapes how people perceive and talk about classical music, too. Sex is more often used to sell albums for female classical music performers and reviews of female performers — and reviewers are mostly male —  often discuss what clothes they wore (which is almost never the case for male performers). Women are also more often and more harshly judged for their appearance:

Overweight men in opera, who sang lead roles, could pretty much expect to be judged on their voice and their acting, with no mention of their size. But a large woman would always be criticized for her size, often before any comment was made about her voice or acting. — Deborah Voigt, soprano

Gender perceptions also affect the way classical music is described. Composer Missy Mazzoli notes that the same piece is often described using very different vocabulary choices, whether the audience thinks it was written by a man or woman:

“I have a friend, a composer, who told me, ‘When a man writes something lyrical it’s seen as brave and courageous, but when a woman does it it’s seen as sentimental and indulgent.’ This was in the late ’90s and she was commenting on how sexist the new music community was. I’d like to say that times have changed, but I think this is still totally true.” — Missy Mazzoli

composer-gender-orchestra-2014-15
Statistics for US orchestras, 2014-15

There also exists gender bias in terms of what music is performed on classical music concerts. In the current 2016-17 season, 14 of the top 21 US orchestras didn’t program a single work by a female composer; in 2014-15 of all the works played by the top orchestras, only 14.8% were composed by women. It’s worse in the movie industry: from 1999-2004, only 2.4% of the 500 top-grossing films had scores written by female composers; women are commonly only asked to write scores that can appeal to other women.

Notable women in Western music history

Despite all of this, there are some notable women who have been excellent composers, performers, teachers, and conductors. We’ve already discussed Clara Schumann in class (1819-96), but here are additional women that you might be interested in learning more about:

  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) — An abbess who, in addition to composing liturgical music, was also an expert on science and medicine and received prophetic visions
  • The Ladies of Ferrara — An ensemble of highly-talented noblewomen who sang in the courts of the Medici family (Italy)during the Renaissance
  • Francesca Caccini (1547-c.1645) — An Italian noblewoman who played lute and was also a singer, poet, and the first female opera composer
  • Barbara Strozzi (1619-77) — A singer and composer from Venice, Italy
  • Anna Magdalena Bach (1701-60) — Johann Sebastian Bach’s second wife, a composer in her own right, who wrote the manuscript copies of many of Bach’s works
  • Louise Farrenc (1804-75) — One of the best French 19th composers, Farrenc was the second-ever female professor at the Paris Conservatory, but she was only allowed to teach piano and not composition
  • Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-47) — An admired pianist and composer; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in a letter to her younger brother, the composer Felix Mendelssohn, wrote “give my regards to your equally talented sister.” Although people admired her compositions, the family persuaded her not to publish them so that she could continue to fulfill her role of being a “dutiful daughter and sister.”
  • Jenny Lind (1820-87) — a Swedish soprano referred to affectionately by the press and her fans as “The Swedish Nightingale” and who helped popularize opera in the US by being one of the first famous European musicians to tour in America
  • Amy Beach (1867-1944) — One of the first American symphonic composers
  • Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) — A French composer, conductor, organ player, and one of the most influential teachers of the 20th century. Nearly every major American composer of the early 20th century went to her studio in Paris to finish their training, among others: Martin Amlin, Burt Bacharach, Daniel Barenboim, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Ingolf Dahl, David Diamond, Irving Fine, John Eliot Gardiner, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones, Leo Kraft, Per Nørgård, Astor Piazzolla, Walter Piston, Virgil Thomson
  • Gwynne Kimpton (1873-1930) — One of the first female orchestra conductors. When she conducted the British Women’s Symphony Orchestra in 1924, the performance was not taken seriously and given harsh reviews. A clipping of one such review is available here.
  • Marian Anderson (1897-1993) — A Black American singer who was barred from performing in the US due to racism and instead made her career in Europe. When a concert promoter arranged a performance for her in 1939 at the Daughters of the American Revolution hall, and Anderson was banned from singing because of a whites-only clause in the organization’s contract; the performance was moved to the steps of the Washington Monument where she sang for 75,000 people.
  • Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-53) — An edgy and unapologetic experimental American composer
  • Jane Little (1929-2016) — A double bass player who, at the time of her death in 2016, was the longest-serving musician in any American orchestra, having held her position in the Atlanta Symphony for 71 years. She died onstage during a performance in May.
  • Jessye Norman (b. 1945) — An American opera singer
  • Marin Alsop (b. 1956) — The first female conductor of a major American orchestra (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, 2007) and the first female conductor at the BBC’s annual Proms (2003)
  • Claire Chase (b. 1978) — A flutist who began the successful new-music collective International Contemporary Ensemble, also known as ICE. She won a MacArthur Genius Grant for her entrepreneurial skills in 2012.
  • Some additional living, working female composers: Chen Yi, Unsuk Chin, Valerie ColemanGabriela Lena FrankJennifer Higdon, Bun-Ching Lam, Tania LeónMissy Mazzoli, Meredith Monk, Shulamit RanBelinda ReynoldsKaija Saariaho, Hilary Tann, Joan TowerEllen Taafe Zwilich

Also, here’s a free 78-hour playlist of music by female composers over the last 1,200 years, featuring the women in this list and others.

Final thoughts

Sexism hurts classical music — it creates barriers that prevent certain musicians from participating, from making music, or from becoming widely known. It also contributes to the sense that classical music is irrelevant in today’s society. Part of what makes classical music seem irrelevant is its sense of stodgy tradition, and one of the ways that this sense of tradition is expressed is in the ways women (and others) have been unwelcome in its world. It’s difficult — but certainly not impossible — to appeal to audiences if they can’t see a bit of themselves in the music, and classical music has been behind the times in terms of acknowledging, supporting, and celebrating the range of musicians in its midst.

-Dr. J.

Questions to get the conversation started:

  • How have you seen gender affect people’s behavior, judgment, or opinions in other fields?
  • In what ways do you think art and music can transcend or erase gender issues?
  • How are your experiences with music different than those of someone of a different gender?

118 thoughts on “Women in the classical music world (Online Class Discussion #6)

  1. I think art and music can erase gender issues by showing that there is no difference between males and females. This could happen by keeping males and females in the same music and art classes. Also for the number of women producing this art to increase.

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    1. I think that music and art (especially in a historical aspect) can uncover a lot about social gender roles in today’s society. Music can be an expression for the women who feel sexualiEd and objectified. Women and men are not exactly the same but their rights should be. The idea of gendered binaries should be broken and music is a way to start deconstructing it.

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    1. I agree with h when you stated that “art and music can erase gender isssues”because they can do this by incorporating both male and female u duets,band and ensembles even more and introduce them to be able to play any instrument they feeel they can play not because of there gender means they can’t play a instrument or right a song the same. With art now you could use both male and female to embrace the fact that the value of your gender is really who and what you choose to do today.

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    2. my favorite female musician is Beyonce. She is very powerful voice and the way she performs on stage is unlike every other artists in my opinion.

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      1. Yeah i think beyonce might be my favorite too. I really liked her in Destiny’s Child with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. I feel like in their time together they made a difference for women in music.

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    3. My favorite female musician is Rihanna because she shows us that females can do the same thing males can do. She shows this by doing it through her success and hard work. Just because you are a female composer doesn’t mean you should be treated differently.

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    4. Lady of Rage for her impact on hip hop working with dr dre and snoop dogg showing that a female can rap just as good if not better than other males.

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    5. my favorite female musician is Amy Winehouse. Although she has passed away untimely, her music still is very much a part of my daily playlist of must hear songs.

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  2. Decades ago women were considered as another slave in the men society. They were forced to do things that were completely crazy and humiliating . Women didn’t have any power over anyone no even their own kids. It is so upsetting how people at that time were completely blind and were able to hurt their own mom, sister or wife just because they were females . There were so many women who showed the capacity to be a composer, musician, but because society didn’t allow them to success in this unrealistic world where only men had the skills to be a musician.

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    1. I don’t think none is better than none it depends on the vocals of a person because a man good have a amazing suprano voice and a woman don’t depends on the vocals of the person and how he or she practice.i don’t think gender have nth to do with this.

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    2. I agree with h when you stated that “art and music can erase gender isssues”because they can do this by incorporating both male and female u duets,band and ensembles even more and introduce them to be able to play any instrument they feeel they can play not because of there gender means they can’t play a instrument or right a song the same. With art now you could use both male and female to embrace the fact that the value of your gender is really who and what you choose to do today.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I don’t think women can be a better soprano singer then a man since gender doesn’t determine how good of a singer you are but instead practice and training your vocal chords. Both of the gender whether their male or female fall into the middle categories but it depends more on the individuals talents regardless of genders and how well they sing whether their capable singing in soprano, altos, or mezzo soprano. Some individuals might sing better at certain vocal range then others and it’s perfectly fine because it may just be the way they are.

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  3. I believe that art and music can transcend gender issue since when a music is compose or a art is created the audiences I think won’t focus on who created the works but instead will primarily focus on the sounds of the music sounds or the impression of the art. This will show that the beauty of music and art isn’t based on the gender of the artist or composer but the skills they have and how much effort they put into their work. There are times when women instead of putting their name on their works will instead put a male pseudonyms to either protect themselves from prejudice or they just want anonymity, but this shows that it is possible to erase the gender issue since it shows that women have the same if not more skills in both music and arts then their male counterpart.

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  4. Why do you think some female artist use fake male name? Do you think it’s to protect their identity, remain anonymous or is there something more?

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    1. i don’t know if there are any female artists that uses male name but if they do, i think they do it because theyre afraid the society will look down on them and not look at them as strong as male artists.

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    2. I think that some artist use other names in order to protect their private lives and their personal identity. Some people don’t like having the professional work mixed with their personal lives or families.

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      1. There are many women who had used male name in their work with the most famous being Louis May Alcott whose famous work “Little Women” which was under her own name. She began her career under the name A.M Barnard and wrote many novel with the name mainly Gothic novels which was deemed unladylike.

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          1. Louis May Alcott used the name A.M Barnard because she wrote a Gothic novel which many in the public saw as too distasteful for a women to write. This is why she used a male name since people would be against her writing a book of this genre in public but afterward she wrote “Little Women” with her real name.

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    3. I feel like they do that because they think that they won’t success in this society if they use their real female name. As everyone knows women still consider less capable to performance same activities as men.

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  5. It’s sad to see that females don’t get to be in charge of many roles. I think if women were able to compose music they would have brought some unique color and different texture into classical music. The song “say my name” is totally different when heard through a male’s voice but I think also because it’s a rock version. If it was a softer version I wouldn’t mind a male voiceover. I feel that all human beings should be treated equally when it comes to career. If both men and women collaborated more often, gender issue would decrease because it’s both genders working together.

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  6. do you think Abbie Conant would have been a more successful musician if she was to stay with the orchestra? do you think they would’ve let her stay or demote her again when someone “better” came in to play?

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  7. I think anyone of any gender can create good music, Long time ago they will be biased against women, but now I think everyone if there are music talent then you can create good music.Music is no gender, music is an art, you can let everyone accept.

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  8. Is music really important to gender? I know that everyone has a different view, what gender affect of the music?

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    1. I believe that the effect gender has on music and art is mostly seen through the lenses with which we view it. The gender we identify as has an effect on how we listen to the music and the effect the piece has on us as individuals. We each look at music in our own way by connecting the content to our own past experiences and to what we find most important. Gender identity plays a role in how we view the world and interact with it, whether we realize it or not. As such, it also affects the way that we listen to music and interact with the piece. We single out important aspects of a song and find which aspects speak to us and which do not. The aspects which speak to us can be different depending on the individual. This effect works much in the same way for the individual composing the music, as they connect their individual experiences with the world, affected by their gender identity in the same way that the listeners’ is, into their musical compositions. So, whether we would expect it to or not, our gender identity plays a substantial role in the way that we listen to music and interact with it.

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  9. Gender has definitely affected people’s behavior, judgment, or opinions in the working field. Even though we live in the 21st century, there are still many professions that prefer a man over woman. For example firefighters, engineers and also in finance like wall street. As history has showed us, most women has always had to work twice as hard as a man to be recognized in society. Do you believe that an artist or any professional should be judged by their gender or by accomplishments?

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    1. artists or any professional careers should be judged by their work and effort. Although we still live amongst those who judge by our genders, i believe that it’s wrong and shouldn’t be judged that way.

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      1. I believe that an artist or any professional should not be judged by their gender but by their accomplishments. Women works just as hard as men does and it wouldn’t be fair to judge them based on their gender.

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    2. As a female living in this century I truly believe that any professional shouldn’t be judged for their gender, because I think that you can have more intellect and more accomplishments then a man, so they should be hired based on accomplishments.

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      1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Someone’s hard work and accomplishments should speak for itself rather than their gender.

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      2. you have a good point there. i totally agree with you, they should hired people base on their education status not there gender.

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    3. Another example of a profession that prefers men over women is being a president til this day we have never had a women president, why is this so? why does society see that only a man can run the job of a president? I personally don’t think any professional should be judged based on their gender even women and men should are capable to do the same thing, there is no book that states only men can do this or only women can do this but this occurs still in society.

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  10. I have seen gender affect people’s behavior, judgement and or opinions in other fields. An example of this is nursing. Dan Diamond states, “But looking at salary data, I learned something new on “National Equal Pay Day” this week: Even in nursing, which is dominated by women—male nurses are outnumbered almost 10:1—men make more. The average salary per year in 2011 was nearly $61,000 for a male nurse, and just $51,100 for a female nurse.” https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/blog/2014/04/why-do-male-nurses-get-paid-more . This means that male nurses are not treated as equally as female nurses. This is the same concept as what was talked about in the blog that female composers aren’t treated as equals to mean.

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  11. Gender affected a lot in other fields over the years, from fashion, family tradition, education and playing sports. From personal experience, I used to play on a all boys soccer team, and every time i got injured badly, I had to unwillingly be subbed in a male teammate even if i was not hurt or if i was okay with continue playing. Some boys on the team wouldn’t play the same with me if we were partnered up, for some of the skill tactics I was made to play I had to play against another girl to be “equal” in strength. At the end I kind of ended up showing them that I can play the same way that boys on the team play. I was judged a lot from being on the boys team, and people asked me why wouldn’t I join a girls team. Art and music can be used to erase gender issues because from the little article above, women started to realize as the years went by that they had the same potential that the men did in that area. In the Art and music area women can erase the gender issues, by creating something from a women perspective, something that different from the men, or maybe something far more better then a men perspective. Its a good area to cause change in because art and music is more of an expressive area, women can express themselves in ways that men cant or wouldn’t even think of. My music choices are very soothing and calm, although the pop isn’t always calm, most of the time it is. Seeing the difference in music with my brother, he is a very loud, rap, trap listening person. We listen to different types of music and like different kinds of artist. My brother mostly listens to male artist, while I listen to female artist mainly. Do you think their is still sexism in todays music/art world, even if we have a female running for president? Would music/art be better if we didn’t know the gender of the artist?

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    1. No I don’t believe that music or art would be better by hiding the artist gender. I think we would be belittling or devalue the artist hard workthe appreciation towards that person skills. Gender should not affect one’s talent in society. Its sad that we are in the 21st century and issues such as gender is still a barrier for some people in our society. Do you ever feel that issues such as sexism or gender control are truly ever resolved in society or has been done away with?

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    1. Many it just depends on what genre you are talking about. but for example Aritha Franklin, Amy Wine house, Janet Jackson, Maria Carey the list is endless when it comes to females that have changed and made a major impact towards the music industry

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    2. Just to name a few, some artist that has made an impact on the music industry are Pasty Cline, Aretha franklin, Carol King, Dolly Parton and Madonna. The list can be very long. In today’s world women has worked very hard to prove themselves and make a name for themselves.

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  12. i found it very interesting at the fact that ” Musical Training ” is what was used to make women look more attractive and marriageable but not able for them to peruse a career in the field, seems kind of hypocritical. and saying women can never be real conductors but still having them play any role in music makes no sense, its like someone telling you go outside but when you go only stay for 5 minutes why do something and put them on a restriction if they are going to do it shouldn’t it be completed to the fullest of their abilities.

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  13. what do you think was the major event that changed the perspective of men towards women being able have or complete the same abilities as them musically ?

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  14. in todays world we can say everything is unisex for women and for some men. We can see that everyday a girl and a boy with the same sneakers, same clothing etc.. mostly women can wear men stuff but men cannot wear women stuff because it is only design for womens. Also back in the days, pink was for girls only, but now everyone wears pink even to me, i wear pink shirt i dont care its just a nice color and i love it, but if someone tells me pink is for girls i respond to them with “real men wears pink”.

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  15. i think women are better off singing some kind of song and men are better off singing other kind of song. for example, i think women are better off singing soul song because their voice are soft and low, but for men their voice is heavy and loud and if they try to be calm with it, it would not get as close as to women voice.

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  16. Lauryn Hill, to my knowledge was the first significant female rapper, and after her success many other female rappers followed in he footsteps. Now the doors are more open then ever to women in hip hop and in some cases artists like Rhapsody and Noname Gypsy have filled a void in the genre with their music. Not only have modern female rappers gotten rid of stigma in the field, they have actually created an under-saturated market for female emcees, where they are desired because they are unique, there are different from the rest and bring something new musically.

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  17. Dr.Jones, my experience with music compared to males is the same. I learn the same material as they do, not one gender has an advantage over the other. Unless we are being thought by 2 different people and completely different material our experience will always be the same,

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  18. Are female musical artists held to a higher standard than male artists? Now that there are more female artists in the public eye, are they criticized more harshly than male gendered artists are?

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    1. I feel like they are. Since women had to fight to get to where they are, I feel it adds more pressure. I can imagine people listening or watching women perform just to see if they would fail.

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  19. It’s insane that Conat had to go through so much hardship just to play what she was approved of. The sexism at that time still exists today. Usually people low-key feel that woman are not equal to men when it comes to many tasks. Usually when the crowd is big is when these people come out to speak their sexist words. I’m always hearing people saying that women belong in a kitchen then doing something a man would. If the skill is there, then gender doesn’t matter.

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  20. Do you think women today are still struggling with the same problems as in the past? Even with all the women suffrage.

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    1. I don’t think women today are struggling with the same exactly problem’s as the past because were living in a new generation, but I do believe that there still an underlying issue of equal opportunities’ with men. Even though wave made progress over the years there’s still an elephant in society when it comes to women being as equal as men in all aspects.

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    1. I believe that the reason Why are some female musicians not popular back then is because female musicians weren’t popular, but that has all changed now women are more popular now as artist in the music industry.

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  21. Interesting post speciallyin these times where sexism is big a issue in this recent elections. I think equality between men and women are very important since the many years ago when women didn’t have the same rights as men like the women suffrage in favor of ratify the 19th Amendment which gives women the right to vote. Is incredibly but despite we live in the 20th century women still face sexism even in areas like jobs, schools and competitions. But, still Women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucratia Mott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rosa Parks and even Hillary Clinton made history showing that women are smart and capable as men.

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  22. I feel like gender use to have a major affect on music until record lables started noticing their talent. Woman really didn’t see there glory until the 80’s and began to take the industry by storm. Female artist such as madonna were just as big as Michael Jackson and proved women can have an impact.

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  23. One way art and music can erase gender issue is music and art bring people together and that can start a conversation about a art piece they see are a song that they hear. Another way is male and female come together to create songs that’s good and that could stop the issue with gender.

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    1. Great question! I do believe females are still experiencing sexism in the work industry because there are still limitations that women can do and can not do.

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      1. Yes I do feel like females in the music industry are still affected by sexism. When you look at most female artists today you find that they are mainly praised by their physical appearance’s. From music videos to photo shoot these artists are sexualized. The media focuses more on how hot females look using their bodies to grab attention rather then the actual talent. Sex sells and when it comes to music as a female you need the look to sell the music. Many people with great talent are overlooked because of their appearance.

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  24. I believe that sexism not only hurts classic music but in limits a person creativity while making their only art in the form of music.
    .

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  25. When looking at how gender affects our success it is fair to say that women have progressed in obtaining our deserved rights. Sadly, the problem of sexism is something that is still relevant. Both in everyday life and in media women are portrayed as inferior and looked at with a scopholiac view. This election only proves that the scopholiac male gaze is still a problem. Music and art are great expressions for this oppression. Many great women expressed their power in being feminine through their art. I think the binaristic ways of looking at gender can affect the way we listen to music. Although this is not always true many times it works on a subconscious level. This is why it is important to blur the binaries of the “two” genders.

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  26. Do you think female composers of the classical era could have been successful had they passed on music they composed for others to play under a male’s name? Maybe Clara Schumann really was the one who composed the pieces that her husband Robert was known for and we just don’t know.

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    1. Around the claasical era, i believe female composers would be successful if they passed it on to a male’s name. Back then female did not really take a big role and men believed women should just stay home and watch over the house while their husbands or father are away to work.

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  27. One major area of gender bias that i struggle with on a daily basis is Women in positions that are designed for safety. Men are always the ones people go to for providing security before anyone else. Like why would you think that a woman is not capable of physically protecting you with the same training that a man has? There are countless companies that specialize in cyber, personal, and national security that are all owned and operated by men. There is 1 company in the United States of America that was started, funded, and still operated by a woman. that company is currently providing security for several major institutions in Atlanta.

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  28. Sexism has played an unfortunate role in our society. In the past, sexist views were much more prevalent, while in more recent days, these views seem to have diminished a great deal. However, this does not mean that they have vanished entirely. The unfortunate truth is that some people view women under a much more critical lense than men. As stated above, there are also cases of women being denied the right to perform music professionally due to an image of them as their husband’s “property” withholding them from a professional career of their own, or due to a woman in this profession conflicting with the socially accepted image of a “domestic woman”. As we all know, this logic is inherently flawed and thankfully, has been less prevalent in more recent events. Females are not only allowed to have professional music careers, many being revered for their music, but they are also allowed to express themselves in their own individual ways. Many of these artists have pushed past (and for the better) the concept of a “domestic woman” and proven that they can stand on par with the male musicians of today.

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  29. My music doesn’t depend on my gender. Like most people I have a very diverse palette of favorable genres and not because I’m a female. The same could go for males. In society, it’s mostly likely that genres such as rap are geneally listened to males while genres such as R&B and Pop are only listened to by females. & that completely wrong.

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    1. Do you think it’s better for one gender to work alone in their groups or are mixed groups better at performing?

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  30. Why do you think society selects genres by gender? Does it have to do with the exceptations that society has provided each gender ?

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  31. Honestly, I believe music and art has nothing to do with gender. From my point of view, all genders listen to the same song, be it a pop or rap music. Music is mostly based on people’s personal taste or their favorite type of genre of music they enjoy listening to. When it comes to music gender does not matter, however, gender does play a big role when we are dealing with lifestyles such as sports, toys, clothes and beauty.

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  32. I’ve seen gender affect people’s behavior, judgment and opinions in many other different fields . I have a friend who attends City College and is majoring in Electrical Engineering. She told me when she first attended her classes it consisted of mostly guys and she was surprised to see only few female in her class. Most of the people in her class looked at her differently and she would get asked questions about why she decided to major in engineering instead of pursuing a career in the nursing field or health care. I think the reason behind that is because people have different expectation for women and believe we’re not capable of doing what men can do.

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    1. Though there has been a change in the amount of women gaining recognition in the music industry, and there are many prominent female artists working today– the industry is still very much dominated by men. Men still hold a stature of power due to a society which has placed them there. It’s still much easier for them to be taken seriously. They are also much less sexualized in terms of getting recognized, making a name for themselves, getting jobs, and their image put out to the world. Not only as musicians, but even more so as producers or those apart of the business aspect of music. There are many cases which their power is apparent, and forces women under them to produce a certain image, make certain music, and so on.

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  33. They say that females are emotional beings. Do you think a female artist can captivate an audience better than male artist?

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    1. I dont believe that they will be more captivating just because they are females. A composer or performer can for sure be more captivating than other, and it is possible that it happens to be a female, but I dont think either side is more capable just because of their gender.

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  34. Sexism is alive in all different fields– causing many restrictions and difficulties both socially and structurally. The “glass ceiling” often gives the illusion of equality, but then you hit the metaphorical glass which is the restriction of the prejudice that works against women– as well as minorities. It’s terribly sad that we live in such a patriarchal society which judges ability based on someone’s gender rather than their ability. This is prevalent in work forces from business, to consignment, to film, to art and so on. Historically, many of the artists who gain recognition are men. There are also instances where a man has takes credit for his wive’s work– because it would be taken more seriously or perceived better. There’s a movie based on event such as this called “Big Eyes” which highlights this problem. In the film industry, many women have been sexualized before the ability of their craft– made to do things in order to get roles instead of it being based solely on their ability. Also, most often paid much less for the same work as their male co star. In business situations, women compete with men less competent than themselves for jobs– and often lose the position to them. This along with still being paid less for the same or greater jobs. It’s sickening that this gap still exists and prejudice still plays such a large role in the lives of so many.

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    1. I agree with you completely! It feels like people that see a difference in people with a different appearance have such a narrow way off thinking. As artist we should be more open minded and not have the same mental restrictions as the rest of society.

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  35. How have you seen gender affect people’s behavior, judgment, or opinions in other fields?
    Every individual is different in general However gender often plays an important role in discribing the Quality of Indivduals, determing how individuals behave in pubic. Gender is separated bAzE on specialization .

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    1. I believe it’s makes is a little predictable because gender is fluency by music. Individuals
      Can make a general observation base on gender referring to what type of topics listeners are going to be receiving

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    1. it allows certain artists to get ahead of others simply based on physical traits. In classical music, this is not the case; in fact as stated earlier, beauty standards are used to devalue women, however in the modern music industry, beauty standards are used to advance women. With the advancement of technology, recording equipment can make any person sound exceptional, so the “artist” only needs to look pretty. Remember: sex sells. It’s unfortunate, but in today’s society, it is the sad truth that we all have to accept.

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    1. I think women in the music industry are burden to keep societies idea of beauty. You find many artists investing money into fashion and cosmetic’: from tummy tucks to shoes they’ll spend a fortune just to look beautiful.

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  36. Yes gender does affect peoples behavior, judgement and options. For instance People will most likely take a male Ceo seriously in comparison to a female because people tend to associate men as leaders . There’s been many cases were men are intimated by women in power. Women in the workforce often have to prove themselves and work hard in order to make it. I think that with art and music it can expose a different outlook on women and what their capable of achieving. Artist such as Beyoncé, Celiene Dion, Whitney Huston, Mariah Carey really displayed and exemplified possibilities for women today. They worked hard and mastered their craft making their way up to the top. For me my experiences with music for they most part has always been personal my gateway to release emotions and overcome difficult times in comparison to men who just listen to music for the fun of it. At times I find myself vulnerable really connecting to the music and that’s what makes it so personal.

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  37. Gender can have a significant affect on what is expected in your field. One of the things I’ve noticed and have been guilty of is expecting male hairstylists to be homosexual. I prefer to go to hair salons over barber shops because of how meticulous and how different the experience is but at some point I came up with this preconceived idea of male hairstylists. This is obviously not true, as I have figured out for myself, and it really saddens me to realized that I have taken part in this.

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    1. I believe at this point it may pose as ignorance on our part. We learned a long time ago what women were truly capable of but I believe we are not always open to accept it. The election this week may be an example of sexism, but of course that could just be an opinion.

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  38. yes I have seen gender affect a persons judgment I believe that’s where the term double standard came about explaining there are certain things a male can do that female can not. woman can be equally are or even more strong then guys especially in todays society. people have biased opinions even with the election alot of people definitely judged a woman becoming president

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  39. @josiehand25 personally for me looks don’t mean anything when it comes to music if your able to make a good product people well love it and listen to it regardless.

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  40. Unfortunately, people tend to take men more seriously because of the stereotype that men are more aggressive and socially superior. Although for the most part, men value and understand the importance of women especially when it comes to their work ethic. In a work setting, women have to work harder to earn respect simply because of their stereotype. With the gift of art and music, we can get rid of their negative stereotype and show they are just as productive as men. If anyone works hard enough and knows their craft well then there is no reason why men or anyone else should judge their work. As a man, it has definitely been different because I notice women that play an instrument are usually more prepared and more on top the music than I am. To me personally, women seem to be able to focus better and do things even if they don’t like it.

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  41. in other fields like sports, you’ve seen gender play a big role in how our society looks at man and female. A women’s Sparks game may not gain as much viewership as a Laker game. Theirs a huge difference in the salary as more times than none, man gets paid more. This is still true in the music industry today. Its been well documented how that “this is man’s business” motto still lingers around, pretty much any form of profession, but entertainment in particular seems to prefer man as their face. Though many females are just as capable of being just as great or better.

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  42. Think Kesha for a second, now do you believe since classical music that women in music are treated as equals compared to men, or is it still an extreme uphill battle ?

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    1. I think woman have a much better place in music today as woman musicians are just as if not more popular than male musicians.

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      1. Definitely. Now sexuality is revered especially in women’s case. For popular music, it isn’t even about the music anymore, just the “artist” acting sensually in the music video. A lifeless, generic song with an overtly sexual music video will generate a lot more profit than a masterful song with very little (or none at all) sexuality within its music video.

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  43. I have seen gender affect an artists work in Frankie Knuckles a gay composer of “house” music. This music was only shown in gay clubs as he did not want to publically reveal his sexuality. Eventually “normal” people snuck into these clubs and posed as gays in order to experience his music and made it more popular into “house” music as we know it today. I’m not sure how different my experience of music is than others because I don’t look at an artists gender/sexuality nor let it affect my judgement of them. I personally feel that at possible other men and woman (or what they identify as) may have a mixed set of bias and non bias against certain other men/woman (or whatever they identify as) and may or may not form opinions based on gender.

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  44. Still, we must not stray from the true focus and that is classical music, where sexuality should not be a feature at all—simply the music should be judged, nothing else. Throughout history, men have this superiority complex which is tied in with the mindset of “Men are just made to be stronger” however, many of us misuse the term of strength quite frequently. Yes it is true that we are not necessarily equal, but we are equally important, however this should not be a precursor for male dominance over the female population. At the end of the day we are all human and in terms of activities that require intellect over physical conditioning, we are all pretty much on the same playing field. However at the same time, we are all best at different activities. What we don’t realise as a species, is that the adversarial role that we have taken on the basis of gender is actually what has been holding us back since our inception. If we simply set aside our differences, then we could do great things, but humans are too proud to admit that they need their fellow brethren to advance in society. Pride and narcissistic ways will be the downfall of us all.

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  45. I believe the only way to eliminate gender roles is to change our expectations of how music is presented. Why do we crave so much sexual content nowadays? Isn’t that what pornography is for? We need sex in our films, in our news, in our magazines, in our music…heck even in our daytime television! I am not against the act of embracing sex, however everything has to be in moderation. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Now we have associate our sisters with sex—we cannot differentiate the two. When our brothers see a women in media, we hope that she would perform some sensual act for our pleasure. It’s utter madness, and disheartening to say the least. We boast about how civilised we are and yet we are not far from the ‘savages’ that were our ancestors. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Music must be independent of external distractions; it must exist for the sake of existing. For something to be art, it must have no purpose other that itself. If music is utilised as a back-marker to publicise sex, then it is no longer art.

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