Some reminders before we dive in: There are three different kinds of comments you need to make in these online discussions in order to earn full credit. Refer to the assignment description you received in class (also available here). The most effective comments in this kind of forum are concise, clear, and supported. Instead of responding to every conversation question in one comment, try to make shorter, separate comments that allow other people to digest and respond to your ideas.

Online discussion #7 is open for comments March 19-25


 

In the classical music world, just like 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 composers, conductors, and top performers suggests that making classical music is a man’s activity and that all the greatest achievements have been made by men only. This implication has had repercussions for how classical music evolves as well as the challenges it faces in terms of remaining relevant in today’s world.

[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.]

Can music sound “feminine”?

Listen to the two works below. Does one of them sound more “feminine” than the other? What musical features seem “masculine” (i.e., manly or likely made by a man), and which seem “feminine” (i.e., womanly or likely made by a woman)?

Piece #1:

 

Piece #2:

 

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 need to be good at sports, or girls who think they’ll never be good at math or science. Here’s an entry the pianist-composer 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

clara young
Clara Schumann (1819-96)

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). Sexist stereotypes and presumptions are often contradictory and shift over time — like all aspects of culture, 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.]

Why does sexism matter in music?

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 (remember Online Discussion #2?). 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.”

James Baldwin’s “great force of history”

In many ways, this discussion is a deeper dive into James Baldwin’s assertion (there he is again!) that we are living within structures and systems that control our lives, without our even being aware of them:

“The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” —James Baldwin, 1965

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:

1. 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.

This leads to…

2. 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 reptutation.

As a result…

3. 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 group defined according to race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, 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

In one particularly egregious example, gender-based prejudice 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) over 32 other applicants 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. He 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, to Abbie Conant

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 assess 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:

“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. With her reputation affirmed, she then left the orchestra and accepted a prestigious 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. In 1941, French horn player Helen Kotas was the first woman appointed to a principal position on any instrument except harp in the US, 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 today, women make up 50% of the players on average, a huge 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.

However, there is still a huge disparity in terms of who gets to hold 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 Online Discussion #5, we discussed how the bodies we live in shape our interaction with the world, approaching this idea through the lens of disability. Let’s take that same approach with gender.

sexy-classical-music-albumGender shapes how people perceive and talk about all music, and classical music is no exception. 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 sounds are described. Composer Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980) 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

There also exists gender bias in terms of what music is performed on classical music concerts. In the 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. The 2017-18 season overall wasn’t much better:

  • Detroit Symphony, music by 46 composers (47 are men, 34 are dead)
  • Philadelphia Orchestra, music by 50 composers (49 are men, 42 are dead)
  • Indianapolis Symphony, music by 34 composers (34 are men, 32 are dead)
  • Milwaukee Symphony, music by 34 composers (30 are men, 26 are dead)
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic, music by 58 composers (49 are men, 35 are dead)

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.

When people compile lists of the so-called “best” composers of all time, they’re almost always all-male: like this one, or this one, or this one, or this one—or the list of “great” composers from our Online Discussion #6!

All of this means that young women and girls who attend orchestra concerts won’t see role models that they can follow, and the same is true for all minority groups: the message classical music is sending is that white men are the ones who are successful, a lesson that can be extrapolated to the world beyond music. And other non-women in the audience? They’re being fed the same message that classical music is a (dead) white man’s world.

Notable women in Western music history

Despite all of this, there are some notable women who have been excellent composers, performers, teachers, and conductors, and here’s a list of 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.”
  • Clara Schumann (1819-96) — A remarkable pianist and composer whose married life was wholeheartedly devoted to her husband, the composer Robert Schumann, and his professional needs, rather than her own career. In their house, he had dibs on the piano for his composition, and he could practice only when it wouldn’t bother him. Nevertheless, she premiered every one of his works that included piano and programmed his music on all her international tours, and when he was committed to a mental institution, she supported the entire family (8 children!) by touring across Europe well into her 70s and publishing critical editions of Robert’s works.
  • 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.

 

P.S. The first piece in the discussion was by a man: Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849), Nocturne Op. posth. 72 No. 1 in E minor (1827), and the second piece was by a woman: Clara Schumann (1819-96), Scherzo No. 1 in D minor, Op. 10 (1838). Were you surprised to learn the composers’ genders?

132 thoughts on “Music and gender (Online discussion #7)

  1. This was an interesting read. It was crazy to see sexism has always been prominent in the music industry. I remember when you asked us about why Mozart’s very talented sister wasn’t as famous as him. In short, the answer is probably due to sexism. Sexism in classical music is still prevalent in 2013 Marin Alsop became the first woman to conduct BBC Proms Closing Concert. I’ve attached a link where they take a closer look at the disparity between men and women conductors.
    https://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2013/10/09/230751348/what-is-classical-musics-women-problem

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, when we were speaking about Mozart and how his sister wasn’t as famous, it was probably because of sexism. It’s sad to think that just because of our gender we’re categorized. People automatically assume things just because of our gender.

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      1. I was thinking about the thing when professor Jones mentioned Mozart’s sister could been just as talented as him but did not develop a music career because of her gender

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      2. I agree with xstalclear music world and in general women in our society always seems to get shaded over for there work. I’m pretty sure there are more talented women musician than men who don’t nearly get the most credit and even pay in the industry. mentioning Mozart sister is a great example but during that time period women where categorized t

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        1. Sorry I clicked post comment by accident but to continue what I was saying women where categorize just to stay in their lane and even though we have made major strides to help women have a more powerful voice in our society women still get over shadow for some of their music talents. My question is do you think now in our time period do women get enough credit for their work?

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  2. when I listen to the 2 pieces of music that was playing I undoubtedly thought that it had to be the first one was a girl and the second a male it almost seemed silly that I had to guess something that seemed so fairly obvious I was very shocked to learn that as a matter of fact it was just the opposite I guess this is a great example of stereo typing without concisely thinking to yourself that you could be stereotyping you do it because its that instinctive thought of this sounds more rough equate that with boys the other sounds more deliquet so I equate that with a girl.

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  3. my question is even though at the time a lot of men were very sexist why did Abbie Conant need to prove her talent and go through tests its one thing to perceive a women a certain way but when she proved him wrong why was he looking for her to fail and making her erudition when the obvious talent was already there?

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    1. @chava19 i thought the same thing ! it seemed like her conductor didn’t want her to succeed. but after considering all the factors i want to say because it was just music standards at that time. meaning regardless of the talent/experience , the conductor believed the solo trombone position belonged to a male. even after Abbie’s departure , they replaced her with a 17yr old man with NO prior experience.

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  4. I was intrigued while reading this week’s discussion. It reminded me of last week’s discussion describing ” great man theory” .. basically categorizing classical music to one gender , MALE ! but not only that , of course we’re speaking about majority during those times, not minorities which sums classical music up to white males. while listening to both of the music clips provided, i really thought the first clip was more feminine than the second piece. the texture of the first clip was smoothing and charming, using slow melody reminds me of something feminine. while the second piece starts off dramatic, strong meter which reminds me of something masculine. Abbie Conant’s story felt a imprint on me. She clearly has the talent needed to be a solo trombone. After winning the position and court ruling, she still had to fight and prove herself. As mentioned in the discussion by Yuri Temirkanov, ” the essence of a woman is weakness.” But isn’t what Abbie demonstrated considered strength? I don’t think classical music would have the reputation it does if there were more woman like Abbie Conant. Stand up and FIGHT for your passion. Don’t allow anyone, especially someone, with prejudice feelings towards you. This discussion caused me to research more on diversity within today’s music industry. The results doesn’t have a significant difference compared to past decades. ” Of the 899 individuals who have been nominated for the last six Grammy ceremonies, 90.7% were men and 9.3 % were women. ” according to Ben Sisario titled Gender Diversity in the Music industry. Isn’t that absurd? I’ll attach the link for those who are interested in my finding.

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    1. Do you feel because of the statistics on gender diversity in the music industry that women might be less incline to attempt to change the industry? Or do you believe men have so much control in the industry that women are undermined on purpose?

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  5. My question is what do you think happened to cause the change in music history? As far as allowing minorities to learn, play or teach music ..

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  6. very interesting reading and i felt horrible after knowing that Abbie Conant has to go through a lot just for the fact that she is a woman . This is a universal problem in the developing countries it even more worse .
    I cannot deny the fact that she didnt move back she struggled a lot

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  7. My question is that why the males are so dominant . Why they think that women are more emotional or not emotional at all ? When can we come out from these differences and will make a better society?

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    1. hi @imagineraining525gmail.com I believe that male are more dominant because we always perceive them to be like that I think females had a part in enabling this wether it was on purpose of subconscious. male are more dominant because since as early as you can go back they are looked at as someone who is twice a women’s size someone who can protect us and leave all emotions aside. females are looked at as vulnerable and that we need to be dependent on a man so when u have these two kinds of aspects everything down the line falls in to place no matter what subject we discuss in history so even in the topic of music the male and female differences will come up wether its fair or not.they believe women will always need to fight for their rights because you can’t change a mans DNA I believe they are wired to feel more dominant and take over and its the world around us then can change peoples perspective but its something they acquired not something natural I also read an article about the male dominance.
      the link https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3440-explanations-of-male-dominance

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  8. This article was interesting especially because I’m a woman myself. It’s crazy to think that a few years ago women weren’t allowed to do certain things or they thought they didn’t have the potential to actually do something. In this article it said, “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?”” I feel like when you are the first one to come up with something or to do something we’re always second guessing on whether we should do it or not. We’re so worried about what society may think, or react to it. It’s frustrating how much women have to go through just because we’re women. Being a women doesn’t mean anything, we’re all humans at the end of the day.

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    1. I agree with this and how I was frustrated about how women were treated in the industry as well. Women at this time were either ignored because we didn’t live up to certain expectations or just treated unfairly. I agree that we as a society sometimes think too much of what others think of us and we’re all humans in the end.

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  9. My question is, why do people see women as sensitive and soft but see men strong and dominant? It has always been like this, and I wonder why? Men can be equally as soft and emotional as women are.

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    1. Well, I’m no historian but I’m pretty sure it’s because men have been deemed as providers throughout history. Since prehistoric days men have been the ones who hunted while women tended to the household. Although society has evolved since then, the idea of a patriarchal society has been firmly embedded into the culture. Just a thought though.

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      1. @xstalear You right and it’s sad. I always scroll down certain posts talking about this . I’m sure ya’ll have heard of the shaderoom You know , social media, where They randomly post questions and post celebrity gossip etc. I came across a post on Instagram where they asked women if a man is supposed to pay all the bills or go 50/50? Then you see woman stating that men should pay all the bills ? And comments like if he going 50/50 he’s your roommate or comments like get yourself another man etc. So how is it that not all but certain woman want to feel empowered and independent yet want a man to provide everything for her?

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    2. @kcatagua19 I know it’s crazy its always been like this since the days of creation and it has been a mentality that lasted for centuries. In addition women is always looked at as the weaker sex.

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      1. Yes, it works both ways. Men are expected to be tough and not to cry and they are looked down upon if they do ‘feminine’ things like ballet, figure skating or gymnastics. People also find stay at home dads to be a weird thing because it’s usually moms that stay home.

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  10. I was frustrated about how women were treated in the industry of course. We often have to live up to certain expectation or we’ll be ignore or called out for not being one way or being the other. If we don’t meet certain expectations, we are boring. If we exceed those expectations then maybe we’re doing “too much” as women. I’m not saying that this is always the case in the music industry but I have seen it happen a few times to a few women. It’s not great to see what women like Abbie Conant had to go through for respect from others. Women can often be put in a box and this is something I hope changes.

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  11. My question would be why is there expectations for females in the industry that people don’t hold on males? I don’t think all musicians that are females are being treated unfairly but what are some expectations we see often being held on women instead of men as well?

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    1. Because for some people of our society, men have more freedom (not being judge) on their expectations on what what they do or should do.

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  12. Wow this is crazy to think in whatever field women are always left on the back burner, reading this brings back memories to when I watched the Grammy’s this year and there was only one female artiste that one any of the big awards that was presented and it was Alessia Cara for Best New Artiste. Every other category that was presented was one by a male, sad that this is still going on in the music industry.

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  13. My question is do you think the audience and the people that are listening to the music is a reason why men are still so dominant in this industry?

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  14. Listening to both peace of music was a fun experience. it was obvious that it was done by two different people of two different sex, a male and a female. I learned about the music industry and how it sometimes leaves our women behind, or make them underappreciated. It shows that the industry expects a certain things from female and not from males

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  15. because its a male dominant society even in my culture people pray for more boys then girls.i hate it

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    1. It’s like back then it wasn’t enough to be human to earn the same liberal rights as men. Women had to sit back and watch other succeed while they took care of the children.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Music, writing, bussines or even driving ( in the case of the Middle East), most countries and races; from early years to present, the idea of “who can or not” because of their sex, is an issue that it is still not over. This week online, remains me of Christine de Pizan, an Italian French late medieval author. The problem with stereotype, is not in a profession, skill or talent, the problem is in society’s idea of what a woman ( or could also be a man) is able or not to do. As the many female names in the list who have been excellent composers, performers, teachers, and conductors, we (including women) can see women’s future is much more than dishes or cooking, which is already great!. Any type of education, bussines, skill or talent would not make from her a less woman, wife or mother (which is also fine if that’s what she wants). In any culture and time, women are able, capable and smart enough to be successful in their community or even better, leave a legacy in theworld.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I find this piece of reading interesting. when I first listened to the 2 pieces of music, I was able to tell that the 1st one was more feminine and the 2nd one was masculine. It was sad knowing that Abbie Conant had to go through so much just because she is a woman, and it makes it more interesting because I am a woman and I can only imagine how she was feeling.

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    1. I think gender does matter. Gender plays a role on the development of an individual. The hardships each gender faces in society varies from one gender to another. Based on a person’s struggle you hear different stories or feel different emotions. For example, in the song “Telegraph Ave by Childish Gambino” you get this chill this song that kind of sounds like a party song, where the lyrics can be overheard easily. However, when the same song is covered by Daniela Andrade you get a more serious vibe that sounds more meaningful. The cover sounds like something you would hear performed at a coffee shop.
      Below is two youtube links of the songs mentioned above:

      Liked by 2 people

  18. For me I think women was treated bad in this industry and I didn’t like that because they have feelings just like everyone does and I feel like you shouldn’t stop someone from doing what they want to do .

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  19. Honestly, I am a bit surprised that the gender of the composer of the two pieces I guessed was right. At first, I questioned myself “how can you tell if something is made by a man or a woman?” I tried taking a further step and try to understand how the song is constructed. The first piece sounded very depressing, dramatic, and had a slow tempo. The second piece sounded upbeat and had a fast tempo that fluttered. My first impressions on the first piece were “lol, if I had to guess… this is was probably made by a dude. It sounds sad and boring.” My first impressions on the second piece was “hmm, this is kind of like of those dancers with the frilled skirts dancing.” I think I associate upbeat vibes with women because, I just feel women are better at being “happy” and men are more on the depressing side.

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  20. We always hear about your usual Bach, mozart ,and beethoven etc. What I found most interesting was the amount of women composers listed that I’ve never even heard of .

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  21. Women right have come along way. We as women have come so far from being silent to actually having voices on large issue matters. It’s ridiculous that professional composers were only men, and women have been on the sidelines for hundreds of years when it came to music. Music is a form of expression and we weren’t able to be heard on a large scale, talented or not. It was just unfair.

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  22. Where are women going as artist now ? I mean they have to be half dress to keep there appeal we have so much further to go.

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    1. Although there are women that do take that route of having to be half-dressed I still see female artists that prefer to just have more emphasis on their music such as Rapsody and Noname so I’m guessing there will always be people, in general, that will compromise as well as people that will make sure they keep and own their integrity.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. So I tried to run and conduct a short experiment while playing fortnite at my friends house so I was just going through different beats, using Wondagurl and MurdaBeatz instrumentals and I’d ask them if it sounds masculine or feminine. I got one person going with the idea that music can be analyzed to be masculine or feminine and that I had one friend that had opposite viewpoints, stating that music can’t necessarily sound masculine or feminine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a really cool thing to do! To be honest I feel like it doesn’t matter of the Gender, everyone regardless of that is going to view different things regardless of their gender. All of people’s different mind sets are what causes all of this. Not gender in my opinion.

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  24. I agree with your point about sexism destroying the reputation of classical music. I saw some of the album covers with the women hiding their naked parts on the NPR site and the sight of it looks outrageous. I think that many symphonies in the world need to put on more single works created by female composers, especially in this time when women are getting more attention than ever in the news.

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  25. It’s kinda sad when we think classical music is so sexist even now. We don’t notice but there really isn’t that many female conductors and to think women are just as talented as men but are but are given less opportunities is really pathetic. I was very surprised to learn gender also affects the way classical music sounds are described. Sexism really hurts the progress music I can’t stop thinking about all the talented women that could have contributed to make master pieces. Here is a list of the top 19 female conductors of orchestra http://m.classical-music.com/article/best-female-conductors

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  26. My question is sexism more prominent in classical music than any other style of music ? Do you guys feel other styles of music don’t put down women as much as classical music does ?

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  27. This was a very interesting topic. I thought it was kind of odd though how women couldn’t participate in making certain pieces of music because of things like sexism. Also I found it odd how someone wouldn’t be able to see them self in a form of music. I feel like all music people should have a self reflection of them self.

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  28. My question is do different genders and sexes when it comes to music generally have the same mindset on music, or is it different?

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  29. In my opinion i believe that piece #2 was possibly the feminine one and piece #1 was made by a man because of how high the first piece was and how woman are when it comes to music. Men are more lower when it comes it music.

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  30. My response to nboss86’s question is i think men and women mindsets are almost the same but people have brainwashed some to believe that music from women should be a certain way and music from men should be a certain way. That is why men and women just make music the way everyone think they should just because of their gender.

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  31. This article shows the mentality that has been hammered into our minds for generation. Music is not immune to the different stereotypes that fill the world. It shows how woman do not have the same advantages as men. It shows how talented women were passed over because of their gender.

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    1. I dont think gender has the same impact on the industry today. Honestly I feel the women who are artist are often more popular than the male artists out at the moment. I feel at this point in time we’ve came along way but still more work can be done, every once and a while a female artist comes out or produces great music that pushes the whole gender forward in progressing in the industry.

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  32. In my opinion, I thought this was one of the best discussions this semester. Gender equality is a big deal and is a big problem women face today. It feels like us males held women back a little from being great which is the harsh true but for those women composers that still made a way to publish their music and be heard is dope. The Abbie Conant case really caught my attention, she auditioned and won her position and had to sue and fight for it in court 10+ years just because the conductor said a male should have been the solo … just crazy.

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    1. It’s crazy how so much of the issues that were mentioned in the writing is still persistent in the world today. I feel like it is such a wasted chance and opportunity that we never got to hear what many of the female composers had back then. It is a shame that many of them were equality as talented as male composers, but they just weren’t given the same opportunity. This idea that we share is similar to something Dr.J spoke of in her writing. She tells us that Sex sells and this is a problem that still persists in today’s music. We expect the next break out female pop star to be extremely attractive and we won’t settle for any less. It is with these standards and restrictions that we place on female musicians that make it so difficult for them to be on equal standing grounds as men.

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    2. I agree, it’s blasphemous. No reason to discriminate her whatsoever. SHE proved she was as talented as anyone else, and she did not back down when she was unrightfully demoted, she fought it because she wasn’t gonna put up with the “male dominance” that have surrounded her.

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  33. Very important discussion we had this week. I feel like Dr J said it all, I most strongly agree with her final paragraph so I’ll start there.. I think a huge reason why the people I encounter day to day (black & latino youth) don’t have any interest in classical music is because we don’t see black or latino classical music ‘anything’ for the most part.. its all quite tricky because “maybe you’re not looking hard enough” but, should I have to look hard for something to capture my interest? All I know is my own personal interest came from searching inside; I tried to figure out why I love and feel the violin so much. One day about a year ago my girlfriends little brother was watching Tom & Jerry which was one of my favorite shows as a kid and I realized no one ever talked in that show, it was all narrated by what I would call classical music but kept my undivided attention throughout. And the same goes for Looney Tunes. In this way I was able to find what I enjoy in “real” classical music and it was cartoons that bridged the initial gap.. But if I didn’t look at things that way there would still be a gap and for most of my peers there still is and for women I can only imagine how frustrating it must be looking at the world and seeing men able to dominate in every area without restriction. The only solution I can think of is we all must fight for what we believe in and stand up for ourselves independently. If people want to support you thats fine but if they don’t then thats fine too because you are doing this as a fight for yourself and your own greater good. This becomes your life purpose and we must go against every “norm” that we desire to change. With the example of women in music it takes 1 fearless woman to stand up and decide to be a classical music composer or a rapper or both then work harder than anyone else before her (cause she’ll be the first) and once she gets there she can decide to spread her story. The great part is she doesn’t even have to because now theres a 10 year old girl who just discovered her and she’s going to work just as hard and doors have now been opened for her. It only takes one person to open the door for millions of others to see, and once they see they will follow and open their own doors but, it starts with that one fearless person.

    I would like you all to ask yourself this question; what is your life purpose and how are you going to get there?
    Remember in this world nothing you dream of is impossible, it’s just not in front of you yet but you can have it you just need a vision a plan and a strong belief which will make the hard work worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh (disclaimer: I am very aware of Childish Gambino’s old music but the recent album flew over my head) so yesterday at work Redbone by C.G came on and I heard it when the song first dropped but I thought it was a womans voice and heard no rapping so it confused my brain and I decided to put it to the side until it caught me in a moment, like yesterday. After banter from my co-workers I was made aware that it’s C.G’s voice throughout the song… then I looked for the live performance and was like “yeoooooo”. If you don’t know who/what I’m talking about here’s the link to the live performance..

      Dr Jones please could you let us know in class the name of the first piano piece we listened to here. I don’t know which sounds more “feminine” but the first one made me feel something and the second one just sounded nice. I never really thought of feminine sounds in music other than a womans voice but now I’m interested in what sounds would be used.

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      1. It’s included at the end of the post already — The first piece in the discussion was by a man: Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849), Nocturne Op. posth. 72 No. 1 in E minor (1827), and the second piece was by a woman: Clara Schumann (1819-96), Scherzo No. 1 in D minor, Op. 10 (1838).

        Chopin’s musical persona is typically introspective, tender, deep feelings… He played in intimate spaces (salons) and was famous for having women faint over him while playing. His musical style was encouraged by his audience.

        Schumann is the musician quoted early on in the post: someone afraid of being a musician at all but who commits herself to being serious in the traditional sense, and perhaps this formulaic/exercise-like quality of the work makes it fall flat for you.

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        1. Ahhh so Chopin was allowed to create freely making his work more real and emotion based and Schumann had all these other pressures which impacted her work in some ways forcing. Yeah I liked her piece too, for me it was just more ear pleasing than soul grabbing.

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  34. This was a very interesting read and it addresses the elephant in the room of where are all the famous female composers? In class, we learned about all the influential men of classical music, but where were all the women? Not to undermine the value of the work of these great men, but it seems unfair to the ladies that only men were acknowledged. Upon reading this week’s online discussion, I somewhat understand why women aren’t featured as much as men.

    Firstly, I really like the fact that we have “masculine” and “feminine” sounding music. Not being completely sure, I would assume that Piece #1 was composed by a woman, while Piece #2 was written by a male composer. The clear distinction that I hear between these two pieces is how loud they were. Piece 2 sounded loud and strong, while piece 1 was gentle and soft. Can the stereotype of women being gentle and men being brash be translated into the music that they composed?

    Secondly, I think the idea of females taking a backseat to males transcends the musical word. Take for example the paragraph that talks about sexism. People had the mentality that women would never be as good as men in learning and in sports. This idea crosses into the realm of music. It is the stigma that lingers which causes people to feel like women can’t be as talented as men in composing music. This idea reflects on the quote spoken by Clara Schumann. She believes that she has the talent to be a composer, but the world doesn’t feel the same. It is with this harsh reality that the world believes in that she begins to devalue herself. She doesn’t believe she can be the one to change the world’s views.

    Lastly, I was really bothered by the ideas presented in the section “Why does sexism matter in music?”. Some of those points that were listed just made no sense to me. It seemed like they viewed women as weak and fragile, which is why they weren’t even give the same chance at composing. For example, one of the points stated that they feared instruments would disfigure a woman’s face. They went as far to say that instruments resembled phallic objects in the mouth of a woman. These claims are purely subjective and have nothing to do with how well a woman could play or create music.

    Sexism is what creates faults within the world of classical music. It creates walls with its superficial standards that men had for women. It robbed talented women composers a chance in the spotlight and only cleared the stage for male composers. These women were shackled by the stereotypes that men had set up unfairly.

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  35. After this week’s discussion we should all be aware that women are just as talented as men if they were just given the same chance. They live with stereotypes and restrictions that stopped them from sharing their talents with the world.

    My question this week is “If classical women composers were given the same opportunities as male composers, do you think they would be able to have the same impact as some of the famous male composers we know today? How do you think the classical music world would be different? Do you think we would still celebrate these Women composers like how we do with male composers?”

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  36. The fact that gender can shape how people perceive and talk about all music is pretty discriminating. Receiving judgement for how skinny they are, or the type of clothes they wear really dignifies how much women really are “appreciated” in the music industry. Reading from a male perspective, these women have the knowledge and will power to accomplish more than their male counterparts. Gender inequality is incredibly derogatory, for example in the Abbie Conant situation of being demoted to 2nd trombone player just for the simple fact that she is a woman. This goes to show that gender inequality does in fact still exist, but it seems to be hidden very well.

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  37. When do you guys think gender inequality will finally be put so side? What event has to take place in order for women to gain their simple rights?

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    1. I was wondering the same thing. In my opinion i think it would take many events not just 1 but if i had to say 1 event a female president would be a great impact for gender inequality. A women leading one of the most powerful and richest nation would be a great statement. Also when thinking about it we live in NYC a really diverse place where many different people come from all around and we are making some headway here but in many other places in America its not like that. There are many uneducated people who dont understand how gender inequality affects all of us.

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    2. I think it never will because we will always have close minded people. But what I feel could spark a change is if strong successful women got together and built with each other it would show the world they are here for a reason and deserve respect. I’m not saying they’re already here but the way we look at them isn’t right right now.

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    3. It is going to be so hard because that way of thinking is so deep inside some people’s minds. They were most likely raised in a certain way that their parents tell them what women should and shouldn’t do… Therefore, they go on their whole life with that mindset. Although, it is definitely still true that some people grow to be more open-minded and accept new ideas, but I doubt it will happen any time soon because gender inequality is always going to exist…sadly.

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  38. For the beginning of the two pieces of music, I feel that no any sexism feeling in the music. I never have the sense of ” sexism music”. But the true thing is people change the viewpoint depends on the gender of the composers. I actually feel people changed the concept in modern society. In the past the famous composer or famous artists always be male; in modern life, female are more popular in arts and music field. When people think about music, especially arts, the first concept is that those are for girls. Even some people think it’s not manly enough if boys study arts and music. So I can feel the concepts are changing with time goes by.

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  39. Its a shame that gender has played a role throughout all of history in almost every profession. Imagine how many more Mozart’s or Beethoven’s and countless others(memorable composers) that were never discovered or had raw talent that wasn’t polished. Also in other professions too. Im glad we live in a time where we are more aware of these issues and are slowly transitioning for the better. It is still far from being equal and i hope we get there sooner. I have a mom and sisters and one day i will have a wife and maybe even a daughter and i would hate for them to have to face this type of discrimination in any part of their lives.

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  40. I think this was interesting to read. We know how sexism hurts us as a society while we continue to grow and learn, sexism can stunt us due to predjudice and discrimination. I think everyone has dealt with some sort of sexism at least once in their lives. I myself have had to deal with sexism, for explain at my job where I deal with technology, I’ve run into countless people who think I don’t know anything just because I’m a female. I didn’t get to where I am at my job by not knowing anything but studying products and software and doing a lot of problem solving. If I let that constant sexism hinder my growth I wouldn’t know what I know now. I let that push me to strive for even more greatness.
    I think sexism in music is hard to avoid. For example, woman in the Hip Hop industry. In most cases that aren’t taken as seriously as their male counterparts. The sexism that woman have to overcome to be able to receive the same amount as their male counterparts as well as the types of venues they perform in. Most popular well known rappers like Cardi B and Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma are like rays of sunshine in our male dominated industry.

    My question is, what are some ways that you try to combat sexism?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel that the best way we can combat sexism is through raising awareness. By raising awareness we can acknowledge an existing problem and work on finding ways to fix it together as a society.

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    2. By encouraging my younger siblings and teaching them that they can do anything a male does through diligence. I also support the female musicians as there are many talented artist. Alicia keys, Jazmine Sullivan, Rapsody to name a few. I think its more important to support woman musicians who aren’t as well know as a Nicki Minaj or Cardi B but are equally as talented.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. The question that came up in my mind is that will we ever get to a point where everything is predominately female? Will it be an issue then? To some people with old and skewed views perhaps, I personally dont think so its just means more competition in many different fields were ultimately will lead to greater strides and innovation.

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  42. Thus far, this has been my favorite blog post. This idea of sexism spreads out across so many facets of our society. The saddest realization about sexism is that it’s 2018 and it still exists. This blog posts details women musicians from centuries ago dealing with sexism and yet it’s still rampant today. I read an interesting article the other day, concerning sexism in the musical industry – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.glamour.com/gallery/female-artists-on-sexism-in-the-music-industry/amp – I believe Nicki Minaj summed it up best by saying “When I’m assertive, I’m a bitch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss.” This article also includes thoughts on sexism in The music industry from artists such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Solange, all powerful, female artists. It is truly sad because women are discriminated against and face defamation in all aspects of the music industry. If a woman in the music industry is not being portrayed as less than her male counterpart, she is being included in lyrics that aim to make her seem less than and objectified. As Dr. Jones pointed out in her comparisons of T.I and Brian Mars’ songs, women are always an afterthought. This is extremely sad because women have to face this discrimination from century to century and it doesn’t seem that we’ll be able to evade this, especially with what’s going on in our society today.

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  43. One question I pose is, had Beethoven, Debussy, Wagner, etc., been women composers and composed the same exact music that they all did, would they still have not gained recognition? Would your perception of them change? Why or why not?

    Liked by 1 person

  44. I never really thought of specific music sounding more gendered because men played a wide variety of different melodies before, including soft sounding music as well as more aggressive music. As for appearance, some male rockstars in the 80’s created a subgenre of rock called ‘glam rock’ or ‘hair metal’. They would dress more feminine and wore make up. So they some what defied gender norms. https://www.allmusic.com/style/hair-metal-ma0000011902
    Other musicians criticized them on their focus on appearance rather than musical talent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I genuinely feel like it’s diminishing but not at the same time, when you ask someone who their favourite artists are, most of them time they will be mostly male.

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    2. There are too much reasons for discrimination.
      If discrimination stems from ignorance, education is the best way to eliminate discrimination.
      If discrimination is due to misunderstandings, then propaganda is the best way to eliminate discrimination.

      However, it is a pity that not all discrimination is justified.
      For example, territorial discrimination, gender discrimination, and racial discrimination may all be unrelated to love and hatred, both because of rational people’s consideration of utility maximization.

      The degree of gender discrimination will be reduced, but it is impossible to disappear.

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  45. I feel that the fastest way to bring about change is by “voting with our dollars”. After reading through the section on Gender and musical meaning I feel that we as consumers can help bring about change by actively seeking out and supporting orchestras and films that program female composers.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. This was such an interesting read, I made the connection of our in class discussion about Mozart’s sister not being as “famous” as him even though she was talented, this was sadly probably due to the fact that she was a girl. In the two pieces that we were supposed to listen to in the beginning; I undoubtedly thought the first one was more “feminine” than the second, for some reason I just got the visualisation of a man playing the second piece, in my head.

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    1. To answer your question i think it isnt wrong for women to produce music on their own they are just afraid to do it because they will feel no one would take them seriously mostly because at the time and maybe even this time we are living in a world where everything i controlled by men who they think have the upper hand in things.

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  47. I like how it clarifies the slight difference between the terms “sex” and “gender”. And it is important to know the difference before we even define “sexism”.
    Though I want to point out that gender does shape they way people perceive music. I definitely don’t like how the idea of women should only be doing certain things blocked them from achieving great things just as men did. They should all be given the same opportunities and expectations as men and I feel bad for those who had to suffer through this. However, there are still so many parents, in the world today, that expect their little girls to only do or learn “things that girls are supposed to do”. For example, at the swimming place I work at, some of our parents stop their boys from learning dancing because “it is not for boys”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree: male or female, everyone should be a given the equal chance to take on a role. When I was manager for a gym, and I needed to hire more employees, I would sit down with the senior manager and we would take a look at resumes but have each other block off the names because we wanted to look at the experience everyone had first in order to give everyone an equal opportunity regardless of gender and age. Its the small practices like that, or the behind the screen auditions that give everyone an equal opportunity.

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  48. After reading through the post I was deeply saddened to see the statistics on the percentage of female composers in classical music, and the music industry.

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  49. Sex discrimination is a very annoying thing
    Whether it is European skirt(Excessive pursuit of thin waist)
    Or China’s foot-binding(Excessive pursuit of small feet)
    From the color of skin to the difference in the country
    Concept is difficult to change
    Discrimination is difficult to completely eliminate
    Especially the idea that an adult has already formed.It is very important how to teach correct ideas and thinks to the next generation.

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  50. Just like the four important parts of music
    People’s educational background, discrimination, how to treat discrimination, discrimination and victims
    Which part is more important?

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    1. How to treat discrimination is more important because theres something bigger than the lesson and info it provides. It takes a person who isn’t biased and with pure intentions always, to handle said matter. If not that is the blind leading the blind. Theres something big on how to treat discrimination. People need to be careful because that listen trickles down to educating the youth too.

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  51. Although women weren’t appreciate capable to do certain things it all have changed. In society today women work in the early generation they weren’t require to work either to be a president. Today’s society prove women are able to do as much a man can do

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  52. I found it astonishing how a woman had to go through a lawsuit of over 11 years with the orchestra to play the role that she initially won. Not only that, but the fact that she went through some ridiculous breathing and strength tests. There was no reason so do an audition behind a screen if you’re going to put someone through that. Kudos to her for fighting for not only fighting for her well earned soloist position, but for the patience she had to have to go through those test and lawsuit; I fully support her. This can relate to just about any job position. If you earned the position, then it is yours, you have to champion it and maintain it and simply prove everyone else wrong. I also want to add that I feel as if this is a major issue in classical music and maybe not in other genres. Take R&B as an example, I think that there are an equally amount of men and women in the industry and yeah sure its a “softer” genre that some might consider feminine, but both men and women have made names for themselves.

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  53. We dictate our actions today by the course of our history, at least for the most part. Therefore, why is it that sexism is not seen as much in other genres of music?

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  54. Very enlightening article. As much as I hate to admit. I’m guilty of stereotype, as I assumed that the first piece of the article was a woman and the second piece was made by a man. The reason being, that the first piece of music sounded more feminine to my ears. I’m well aware of the inequality of gender that still exist today and I agree that our views on roles of sexes are conditioned at an early age by media, etc. I think about how society would view a woman playing a guitar rather then playing a harp? As mentioned in the article, a majority of harp players are women. It was fascinating to read all that woman composers, musicians have overcome and concerning to know the criticism and mistreatment they have endured till today.

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    1. I’m glad that you realize your faults because that is always the first step. We all know that we can’t get anywhere if we don’t know where we are coming from. In order to move forward as a people we need to get rid of these gender roles and love and respect each other equally.

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    1. I think people do believe it’s a dead white mans world because we are taught 1) very little about musics and the arts and 2) what we are taught is basically old white man produced.

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    2. Classical music is not dead in the white mans world because classical music is considered bougie to the ignorant. It can show class, culture and status which is something society groups with white people. As if other cultures or races don’t have standards…
      White mans world will never be dead.. that phrase should be though.

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  55. While reading this weeks blog post, I’ve observed the labels placed on women (The word ‘women’ being a label) appear similar to “ with men/man”. Female is another example of this. Individuals in society want to disminsh gender roles and seteortypes but are failing to realize that everything we subconsciously do or say has trails of historical ideology. We cannot change our language however, we can attempt to think before we speak with offense terms or phrases. Doing such a thing may create new ideologies for the next generation where they will no longer view music and the arts as a mans world.

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    1. What do you think is the first step in breaking these gender roles? And do you think that we as a society now are even capable of such?

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  56. In general I fond this article very intresting from sexist right down to notable women in western music history. It’s sad how women are being placed when it comes to classical music but it’s nice to know that it’s still possible for them to conquer that just as they conquer other aspects. I believe one day some woman will do so because from then to now women have come a far way proving their abilities, skills and talents.

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  57. Do you believe the obstacles woman musicians have overcome will become an advantage somewhere down the line? Will it make them better musicians and more prepared to handle adversity in the future, or will these factors remain a constant disadvantage for woman?

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  58. When I listened to the first piece I thought it was really calming and almost slowed down time as I was walking home. It definitely would be the one to give a “feminine” impression. I did not think that myself being a feminist would even automatically presume something to be made feminine or masculine because of how strong or vivid it is, so naturally when I started the first piece I almost told myself to try and imagine it as “feminine” regardless of how it was. The second piece was masculine anyway, and when it wasn’t it gave an image of a superwoman or a black widow like character, still displaying masculine yet “sexy” traits so I’m not sure if it even fits into one category.

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    1. I always wondered why I’d never really hear about female artists and composers as much as the men in history. I always thought that it was because they weren’t assertive enough or they were censored. Even the greatest of the women in those times once discovered still don’t get the rep they deserve because of all the time that has passed and all the knowledge passed down for centuries to men making it seem like the great men they know were the only great people around. It’s more like a nice history story to brag about since everyone knows the names of at least Mozart and Beethoven, and it keeps the culture living to only talk about those big guys then maybe, just maybe, mention a bit of the lovely little ladies.

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  59. “All the greatest achievements have been made by men only”
    How can we as a society begin to teach the next generations history of the arts created by women, people of color etc?

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  60. I’m really curious as to how music is made to be either masculine or feminine? Does it have to be made by a man to really be masculine? I know for sure women can make masculine songs and men can make feminine ones but do they imagine/feel their idea of masculinity when makin it or does it just happen?

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  61. I am not surprised that women could have faced diversity in the music world. I laugh bc. it never ciest to amaze me how much men think they’re superior to women and can’t fathom that we’re all equal. Honestly if it wasn’t for women, would they really exist ? Guess that goes over their head.
    The type sexism Contant experienced was sad but expected. Her career is competitive. Everyone believes they played their piece well and out performed the last auditioner. I am happy that she went through great lengths to prove that she deserved her seat and credit. Even though her actions fell on deaf ears and blind eyes, she still did something moving. Her actions did not go unnoticed. There was a sense of pride I felt reading the paragraphs on her. A ” you go girl !” type of vibe.
    Thanks for sharing !

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  62. Reading this online discussion I got to the part where it asked if music can be “feminist” and off the bat I thought that was sexist to say. Its crazy how theres labels that are put on not just with women but in general and I guess its sad because at the end its music that unites many, yet not many seem to see that. I would say to pay attention to the craft its self because thats whats being presented and it (the music, the art, the craft) shouldn’t be seen with a lesser value because of who created it.

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    1. Yes. More than I’d like to even admit. People in general are too timid to appreciate someone else for their talents and will not put their pride aside. Dont have me explain how shameful and disgusting it is to watch how a man acts when a female’s talent blows him out the park or even if a female shines better then he did in a task. Its sad.

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  63. Question: Has any boy in H2 experienced sexism before ?
    Question: Was any boy in H2 bothered when reading the challenges and opinions Contant, Ellis faced and the list of noble women in music history ? Or did anyone read through with no emotion…

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    1. I definitely felt a way reading this it sucks how much females went thru in the past and even in today’s society smh

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  64. This was such an interesting blog. I am astounded by the journey of Abbie Conant. It is absolutely ridiculous to even think that because of the fact that she is a woman, she had to endure physical testing to show that she was competent enough to blow air in a metal tube as her male counterparts. They really tried to shoot her down in every single way possible. I am so glad that she won this arduous battle of 13 years. It’s so crazy that even after they proved she was more than capable of being 1st trombone, they still tried to create a entire other title to give her so that they wouldn’t have to pay her. It is ludicrous to think that a man would go through so much trouble just so that a woman would not get what is rightfully hers.

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  65. What makes the great force of history? according to James Baldwin “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” Meaning that anyone can carry the great force of history it does not matter what gender you are male or female, it only matters that you carry on the burden of what you are trying to accomplish. There are many notable women who have done the great force of history, such as Fanny Mendelssohn, Jenny Lind, etc.. However because of sexism women were only perceived as being weak, and were only given societal roles and were perceived as nobody’s. But the great force of history applies to everyone not just a single gender unlike the great man theory, It applies to to women but it still downgrades them such as if they are not accepted into the best schools then they cannot do anything with their life it is utterly disgusting and outrageous to ebven say a thing because WOMEN HAVE MADE THE GREAT FORCE OF HISTORY!!! just as the women in NASA who have went against the odds of the great force of history.

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  66. My Question is if the great force of History did not berate women so harshly would we have seen some more notable women in history?

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    1. That is a great question. I think that more women would have been recognized in a more timely manner for their achievements. We should rewrite some of our history books to include more women that have not been recognized for their achievements.

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  67. It was a really interesting read because of the many different points that it makes and has so much detail and how sexism was really a problem and still is a problem. In music sexism is a real problem and effects how artists make music. like back during Mozart’s time women weren’t very recognized and respected in music, such as Mozart’s talented sister. She was very talented and great at playing music but she wasn’t recognized for it because of the difference in respect and acknowledgement that mean had over women during that time period. I think this was super interesting and offered a lot of knowledge about the music industry and how it is based off of sexism and how that really effects the music industry.

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  68. My question is just how much does sexism play a role in the music industry?, and are their any pieces of music or musicians that really exemplify the topic of sexism in their music?

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  69. @musk, i do believe that their are genres that have sexism in them but i don’t think that their are any that really glorify it. i definitely think that it is an issue and something to be fixed. i believe that in music it should not be who its coming from but the music itself.

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