Its 2017 and women within the music industry (and behind the scenes) are still getting treated like shit on a daily basis. I can’t believe I’m writing an opinion piece about this, but the word needs to get out there to highlight some of the sad sacks of shit who still to this day can’t get it though their thick heads that women serve a purpose within the industry and deserve to be equally treated with respect like their male peers.
A little while back Aussie punk rock trio Camp Cope made headlines when they called out male punters who sexually assault female concert goers in the mosh pit and started the awareness campaign #ItTakesOne for those attending to do the right thing and to help stamp out this unacceptable behaviour. Seriously, whoever thinks its okay to touch anyone at a gig without their permission deserves a smack over the head with the rule book or to at least be banned from attending any gig, anywhere, until it sinks in that their behaviour is unacceptable. I for one take my hat off to the Camp Cope ladies and all the bands who have jumped on board to make gigs a safer place for women.
Unfortunately, behind the scenes at these concerts, not much has been done to spread awareness of the gender inequality when it comes to reviewers and photographers who are there to work/cover the acts for fans to view afterwards and assist promoters to promote later shows. Here at Wall of Sound, we have a vast number of female staffers from all over the country who produce some of the best work I have ever had the opportunity of laying my eyes on. Their dedication to the job (whilst unpaid and achieved for the love of the industry) is absolutely exceptional and definitely needs to be seen by the world. However there is unfortunately a downfall to their efforts with some promoters, power hungry venue staff and even bands not taking them seriously and talking down to them when they try to plead their case for why they should be there…
Take for instance a security guard who denied one of our photographers entry to the photo pit even though she had all the required documentation, appropriate photo pass access and met the criteria 100%. She was told she wasn’t allowed to shoot from that section and had to “brave the moshpit” at this heavy, hardcore show in order to get the shots she was approved to take. After explaining herself to the guy over and over again who kept denying her (but let in two MALE photographers with the exact same passes and access rights as she presented), it took myself having to confront the guy with the same information in order for him to actually allow her into the area.
Just recently we’ve experience yet another power tripping venue staffer (or security nut job) who thinks he’s above everyone else denying access to a photographer who not only presented all her required approval information to the front desk, but was also undermined and disrespected when explaining she was there to work, for free, and wasn’t in anyway shape or form trying to “score a freebie” to get in. Eventually after trying to explain the situation over and over again she was let in, but an experience like that can sometimes leave a bitter taste in your mouth and mess with your head which consequently can make you not focus to the best of your ability. However this certain photographer overcame the issue and once again put out some of he best work to date!
This is the kind of shit that needs to be stopped. Yes I can understand that mistakes like the above mentioned story can happen, it happens all the time. Its happened to me in the past, however after discussing the issue with the male at the front, all was forgiven without hassle and I was let inside. The same thing needs to happen for women who are giving up their time, money and sanity to cover these gigs and try to make a name for themselves in the industry whilst helping the bands, promoters and all involved make the tour/album promotion a raging success.
While I don’t have a campaign in mind to help spread the word, I encourage women from any/all publications who have been through similar situations to share this story, along with their own experiences and let it be known the type of shit situations you have to go through in order to be able to do your job covering these events. We are all for gender equality at shows and this is a continuation of that movement for all the staff who have had to deal with undermining pieces of shit who think they can get away with being disrespectful because they get off on feeling some sort of ‘control’ over everyone else.
Security are all for eradicating disrespectful punters from gigs… so why can’t the same be said for staff??