I think this entire issue has been blown so far out of proportion today. Is anyone actually accusing Kevin Lyman or anyone at the Warped Tour of being sexist? Is Kevin going out of his way to exclude bands with female members? Of course not. From my understanding of the article/interview, Kevin is simply choosing the BEST bands to include on his tour. In this case, the "best" is likely defined as a combination of bands that will pull crowds and sell tickets as well as talented younger artists that he believe have the potential to draw those crowds one day. Notice that none of those criteria involve gender in any way, shape, or form.
But that's the problem, right? Kelly, it seems that what you're really looking for is more in the vein of "affirmative action." The only actionable suggestion you provided in your write up is to include more up and comers with females in the group in lieu of similar-sized bands comprised solely of males. So, you're seriously suggesting that Kevin throw out the criteria mentioned above, where he is subjectively selecting artists based on merit/ability to contribute to the profitability of the festival and replace that with a quota based purely on the gender of the artists? Would female musicians even WANT to be included on a tour like this simply because they fulfill that quota?
This entire arguments seems moot to me as to your other point, there are simply LESS female musicians in this scene. Is it 50%? Hell no. I'd even venture to guess that if you gathered all the musicians from the last 25 shows I've been to, assumed 4 members in the band for a total of 100 people, there would be less than 10 in that group that are female. So how far off are we really from that 6%? If you're expecting anything close to 50% or even 30% for that matter I think it would be wise to stop arguing in vague ideologies and start looking at the real, specific demographics of this scene. I think I speak for many when I say that I don't want the quality of the Warped Tour to decline even further because Kevin is inviting bands with female members simply to reach some arbitrary quota and to exclude better male-only artists that deserve a fair and EQUAL shot at being successful.
He chooses the most popular. Not the best. Big difference.
I don't think that's true at all. You said it yourself that he's selecting more unknown up and comers. What do you think he's basing that on? They're not popular. However, it's my understanding that Kevin books certain bands based on skill and potential. You're suggesting he replace "skill and potential" with "female."
To make this claim you need to be able to show that the bands currently on the tour are selected based on merit+ability+profitability. The countless bands that have everyone go "who?" makes this a hard argument to make with a straight face.
I think it's disappointing you believe the quality would decline if great female bands were added instead the pretty mediocre lineup of "relatively unknown" male bands that currently dominate the bottom half of the list this year.
My point was that those bands that make people go "who?" are absolutely not selected for any reason to do with profitability and based on interviews I've seen/read with Kevin, he personally evaluates those up and comers based on who he believes are talented and have the potential for big ticket sales one day (merit and ability).
As for the decline in quality, I'm not saying there would intrinsically be a decline because of the gender of the members. What I'm saying is that as soon as Kevin stops selecting these bands based on quality (or merit and ability as mentioned above) and focuses on gender, it's common sense that overall quality would decrease. The way to maintain quality is to have the highest quality bands playing, regardless or gender. As soon as you focus on anything else, overall quality will naturally decline.
So lets assume you're right and he really is just picking the "best" bands. Does that mean you're okay with the state of the scene if only 6% of the "best" punk rock musicians are female?
Absolutely not. I'd absolutely support any progress in the scene to cultivate young female talent and be able to say that today 20% of the musicians in this scene are female instead of 6%. But I don't think the answer is excluding better male bands to fill a female quota. I think the answer lies in changing the overall perception of female punk musicians, but certainly not any of these "affirmative action" suggestions.
Did you read the article? I'm sure that Mr Lyman is very good at running a festival and making money. What I'm discussing is why he could possibly put his capitalist machine to the side for half a second and maybe consider doing something for the sake of helping social change.
Also lol at the people who think Warped Tour books the best bands. BrokNcyde 4 lyf.
Once again, I described "best" as profitability, ability, and merit. Many of the main stage bands only fulfill that first criteria in my mind.
That's my point, you can't make an argument that move the goal posts just to fit the status quo. To try and say there aren't plenty of bands that have more ability than the 10px font bands on the Warped bill I find nebulous at best.
This makes the presumption that the current "quality" of bands on Warped Tour is the absolute peak and apex of musical greatness. That I disagree with greatly. Claiming most of the picks are based on "quality" doesn't work when you look at the bands picked ... you can't tell me with a straight face those are the most "quality" bands making music right now.
Don't get me wrong, I couldn't care less for the majority of the acts on the tour these days and I'm certainly not arguing they display any sort of quality. But I think those bands we're referring to aren't really the issue here. Kevin is going to bring Falling In Reverse and Breathe Carolina every year regardless because they sell however many tens of thousands of tickets. I think the more interesting argument has to do with Kelly's suggestion of handing out "small stage" spots on the tour to female bands in lieu of potentially better bands that deserve a shot but only have male members.
In general, I think it would be refreshing to spin this discussion to how can we encourage young females to start bands of their own and try to develop a more female-friendly ethos. Maybe let's start by taking a hard look at the misogyny in the metalcore scene and baring certain acts from the tour because of their anti-female attitudes. I just don't think the answer lies in any action plan involving hand outs to female musicians based purely on gender.
WHY ARE THEY BETTER BANDS? Do all bands exist in a hierarchy of talent? As I've said before, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of bands who aren't particularly more talented than one another. Making the effort to choose bands with female members from that pool of bands does not mean you're knocking amazingly talented bands off the tour. It means that, in the way one does when choosing one band over another, you are combining one of their characteristics with with their talent and picking them because of it.
I simply don't believe gender/race should be a decision-making factor at all. Are there fewer African-Americans than Caucasians in the scene? Absolutely. Is anyone proposing that Kevin actively select bands with African-American members over any other ethnic makeup? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. I don't see why your "suggestion" is any different.
But you kept using the words merit+ability ... you made a direct statement that the "best" acts were being picked.
See, you just did it again here -- "potentially better bands" -- go look at the Warped Tour line-up and tell me with a straight face that the cream has risen to the top and these male-dominated bands really do represent "better." If the quality of these artists is basically a non-issue, because we can admit that 1) it's subjective, 2) it's not a high-bar to jump over -- then any argument that a "better" band would be overlooked is basically a nonissue. I right now can point out "better" bands than most of this tour -- it's virtually irrelevant. You've tried to paint it as though Kelly's suggestions would dilute the quality of a bunch of bands that aren't particularly dripping with quality in the first place -- that's why I think your argument doesn't work.
One way to develop a more female-frendily ethos is to not shout down the women that raise issues and start associating their concerns with "hands outs" and "affirmative action." It's to not make it seem as though if they're on a bill they're taking the spot of a "better" band. It's, above all, to listen.
To your first point, it's clear bands are selected for different reasons. Falling In Reverse is an awful band that sells tickets, whereas, a band like This Wild Life, at least in my mind, represent a relatively unknown but skilled band that could sell a significant amount of tickets one day (look at Blink when they first played). Kelly's suggestion was centered on giving unknown bands with female members a shot over bands at that same level with only male members.
As I stated in another post. I simply don't think gender should be a factor when deciding who to give opportunities to. Don't get me wrong, I think Kelly's article is well-written and I do believe there is a real issue with the treatment of women in our scene but frankly it seems lazy to suggest that the only way to solve the problem is by maintaining a quota. I don't mean to defeat the issue, as that's not my intention, but I think the problem is ingrained enough in this scene that there's isn't a quick fix. Like I said earlier (and to avoid knocking down a suggestion with no alternative), I would recommend Kevin taking a hard lock at the misogynistic bands on the tour and reconsidering their inclusion in future years. I think it would speak volumes and send a strong message that the largest festival of this type doesn't stand for the poor treatment of women.
So, we should continue to allow women to never get a shot at success because 1) they're female 2) they're not pretty enough to look good on posters for emo boys, in order to preserve a world where choosing bands for festivals 'isn't based on gender'?
Wait, what? I think you missed my point. All I'm saying is that isn't the real goal here a scene where bands are selected regardless of race/gender? Your only suggestion is promoting just the opposite.
Since it's difficult to talk about this article (and the ones related to it, as well as the issue in general) without talking about feminism, I wanted to share this quote:
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”
I don't think we need to to hurt or alienate males from this scene in order to accommodate females. But can we all, at the very least, agree that Warped Tour could be doing a better job than they are right now? I don't know Kevin Lyman personally, and thus I can't speak on his behalf, nor can I comment on his intentions/agenda, but I think we can all agree that more can be done to get women more involved, or make them feel more comfortable about getting involved.
I don't have a solution or answer for this situation, but having these discussions is a good place to start, because change is only possible when people’s concerns and aspirations are heard, acknowledged and acted upon. And that's possible only via communicative or open dialogue.
I would love to have a respectful discussion about this, because I highly doubt that any of you hate women, and I would hope that you would want them to be more involved.
Very well said. I think we all agree there is a problem here and the misogyny in the scene expands far beyond the confines of this festival but there are certainly ways that someone with as much decision-making power as Kevin could influence the scene to be more accepting of females, whether they be musicians, fans, etc.
(I am trying to clear all of the snarkiness and sniping that have been a part of this discussion)
I guess where I sort of differ in perspective is what the desired end result is.
I don't believe that Lyman takes gender into consideration when he picks bands for Warped. I don't even think he really picks the bands at all. But assuming he does, is he cognizant of the gender make up of each band? Do you think he looks at anything more than record sales, touring history, and shit like Twitter followers? Do you think he knows who Ice Nine Kills is,, what they sound like, and who is int he group?
I doubt it.
So what action would he be taking away from the suggestion that he needs to find more female musicians? That he start taking gender into consideration? Is that what female musicians really want? To Neko Case's point to Playboy, she has succeeded because she makes great music, not because she is a female.
I don't know, I am rambling.
Agreed, specifically to your point about the wishes of female musicians (who I believe are the only group that hasn't come out of the woodwork to comment on this thing).
How would female musicians feel about being selected for a tour solely because they are women? How would they feel about being a part of this "initiative" and to quite literally fulfill a quota.
Furthermore, would that even make a difference? Someone stated that bands CHOOSE not to play Warped because of the misogyny and other social issues that are perpetuated. Why not try to make Warped a BETTER place for women rather than simply inviting more to the circus?
OH MY FUCKING GOD WOMEN CAN BE CHOSEN BECAUSE THEY'RE GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO INSTEAD OF BEING IGNORED BECAUSE OUR SCENE LARGELY DOESNT HAVE RESPECT FOR WOMEN ARE YOU LISTENING TO ANYTHING I HAVE SAID
I think in this case it's you Kelly, who isn't listening. The suggestion in your article dictates that if there are two identical bands in skill and merit, Kevin should choose the band with female members. That is quite literally choosing the band solely for their gender.
I don't know, I see where you are coming from, and agree on alot of it. But, I guess what I am trying to say is if Lyman was blatantly against women bands and women I would be the first to say there is something that needs to be done. But for the sole reason he only has 6% women bands on his tour, I don't think you can say he is oppressing or mistreating women, or that he is a sexist or whatever.
Just to be clear, because I'm seeing a lot of misuse of statistics, I believe the original estimates were that approximately 20% of the bands on the tour have at least one female member and that 6% of all musicians on the tour individually were female.
And I asked you to give me a way where you can solve the current issue of constantly choosing men over women when they have the same skill level? All men are chosen over all women as it stands. I'm asking that some women are chosen over some men.
As I've stated previously, I believe the answer lies in addressing the overall misogyny in the scene and creating a place where more females feel comfortable starting a band of their own rather than just rewarding the current group of female bands for their gender. More women playing music, means more women playing festivals, if merit is the only factor (which I think we can agree it should be).