Recently Megan Seling wrote an article called “Warped Tour’s Woman Problem” in which she talked about the lack of female musicians booked on Warped Tour. She was met with both praise and criticism, as many people dissected the business reasoning behind the ratio of male to female musicians on Warped Tour while ignoring the points made by Seling. While some of these were well thought out and reasonable arguments, I have heard comments like “I ******* hate feminists”, “Wouldn’t girls rather watch a band like Sleeping With Sirens anyway?” and many more that I will not repeat here. The misogyny that followed from her article is the problem, the reason why there are so few female musicians on Warped Tour, or successful in music in general.
One thing that people have responded with is that there aren’t enough women making music to be booked on Warped Tour. First of all, a ton of no-name male bands have gotten slots on Warped Tour while far more successful female bands have been ignored in the booking process. Kevin Lyman showed in the interview above that he is ignorant towards those successful acts, and while I do not think Lyman is a misogynist whatsoever, it does show that he is unaware of what is going on beyond his scope. Second of all, why aren’t there more women making music? There are lots of answers to this, but the most important is that when a woman takes the stage, a typical male will demote her to an object before a single note is played. Now I’m not naive, I understand that attraction happens, but audiences should not let this overshadow the music. The music is much more important and it is discouraging to women who work so hard to be heard to be converted into nothing but eye candy by any fans. Every woman that enters music gets put through this criticism, and the moment they reach success, they get the new criticism of it being solely for their looks, as if they aren’t the same listeners drooling over said women, ignoring what’s important in the first place.
It even happens to women trying to attend a concert. Women can’t crowdsurf without some moron trying to grope her as she passes by, as if her decision to enjoy the show as much as everyone else means she’s fair game to touch as you please. This is sexual assault. The reason why “punk” has been a “boys club” so long is that women always feel like they have to be on guard. They can’t seek the same comfort men do from the music scene and environment because time and time again, there have been constant threats surrounding them. The reason why so many men choose to ignore this? Because it doesn’t happen to them on a daily basis.
Women deserve to feel welcome and safe. They have the same right to the luxury that men do, and while Megan Seling may not have been directly addressing this as much as the booking procedure to Warped Tour, it is the underlying cause to why her article has to exist in the first place. It is time for radical change in the music scene and it must begin with us – the casual listeners, the fans, the promoters, the booking agents, the performers, the journalists, the bloggers, the photographers, every one of us. It may take time, but all good things do take time, and we need to make a conscious effort to acknowledge what is going on and proceed in the right direction as a society, not just as a music scene. There are probably better people to write about this than a 23 year old male, but sadly most people would probably ignore them, and that is what needs to stop.Opinion article in response to “Warped Tour’s Woman Problem” by Megan Seling – Written by Dustin Harkins