Women in rock & why the ditching the term ‘female fronted’ matters.

Let’s just get one thing clear here.

The term ‘female fronted’ is an insult to the rock and metal community and it needs to fucking go. Ever since the inception of The Runaways, women in rock have often had to deal with being little more than a gimmick. The idea and sadly often accepted perception is women are “less than” because they are women and lack the aggression of their penis carrying counterparts or you know, something like that.

The term ‘female fronted’ only further solidifies these claims by creating a sub-section of rock and metal. You can’t just see a band as simply a band anymore, once there’s a woman involved you’re an alien from another planet and you should be viewed as such. I mean, do you see anyone calling Gojira a male fronted band? Hell fucking no you don’t.

So why does it matter you might be asking. Surely it’s not that big a deal. Right? Well on the surface, it probably appears harmless enough. But once your band becomes lumped with the tag “got women in it” anything concerning your art is totally and utterly invalidated. Your creative output becomes diminished to the point of not even existing because it’s just about your gender. Fuck that you suffered, you’re a woman, that’s more important.

So who can we blame for this?

Well, first there’s the record labels who perpetuate this idea into the wider community. There’s not a single day which goes by without me hearing about or receiving a newsletter from a label where they use the term ‘female fronted’ as a descriptor for *insert band*. Then there’s the marketing itself which usually requires the women to get naked because hey, sex sells right?

Then there’s the journalists who choose to use this term without caring about who it may affect by using it. Who constantly focus most of their attention in interviews on the specific gender of whatever woman is in the band. Just take a look at the recent Code Orange coverage where we’re still asking the age old question “What’s it like to be a female in a band?” which to me is as concerning as it is predictable.

So do you know what it’s like to be a female in a band? I don’t personally. But if you go to any comment section where a woman is in the band, go to see a band live which features a woman – well I guess you’ll soon find out what women have to deal with on a daily basis. Because most of it is just invalidating, sexist trash.

Ultimately as Don Draper from Mad Men once said “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Well it’s up to us to change the conversation. We shouldn’t sit idly by and let this continue to be perpetuated by marketing teams and lazy journalists with nothing interesting to say. Women deserve to be recognised for their art and only their art just as much as men do – they deserve to be treated as equals and if you think they are already; well you’re dead wrong.

Fuck female fronted.

Embrace art without the constant obsession with gender.

Kaydan Howison


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About KaydanHowison (170 Articles)
Final year university student in journalism, part time photographer and writer for Wall of Sound. Primarily here to make you cry and tell it how I see it.