ONLINE EXCLUSIVE — Feminism and Music

James Jaskolka, Assistant Online Editor

While the music scene may be predominantly male, women have played a significant role in recent years. Aside from celebrities like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, females in bands have done their part in both the mainstream (Paramore, Silversun Pickups) and the underground (Tigers Jaw, The Forecast).

In Writing’s Toni Pennello has had negative experiences as being a female in a band (pick up this week’s Beacon for more on that), and it appears as if she isn’t alone – other woman-rockers have voiced complaints that echo Pennello’s.

Emily Sheerin, vocalist of the Philadelphia based band Eleby, recalls a particular show last summer where her gender (and particularly her looks) became an unwanted focal point.

“A few guys were complementing our band and predicting we’d have a lot of success and kinda attributing it to my appearance,” she said.

“It just really pissed me off, because when we discuss a male fronted band how often is his appearance even brought up? Let alone considered a factor in critiquing them?”

Sheerin continued, saying she wants people to care about the way she sings, not the way she looks – an occurrence, she said, that happens too frequently in the music scene.

“I’ve seen too many bands with a girl member and she may be absolutely incredible at her instrument but after the set all I hear is comments about how ‘hot’ she was….I’m not up there thinking about how I look when I sing and I don’t want the crowd to be either.”

Danni Candido, who plays bass in the Scranton punk band Ooze the Dial, has yet to see any misogyny or other negativity regarding her gender – in fact, she describes her experiences as positive.

“I think it makes the band stick out a little,” she said. “People remember seeing a female bassist on stage and I usually get a lot positive feedback from it. People think it’s kick ass when they see girls on stage rocking out.”