35 Conferette Panels: It's Hard Out Here For A Woman.
The panel for "Women and Power in Rock and Roll" was a high point among the yesterday's events at 35 Conferette, as an impressive lineup of female musicians, scholars, and music industry pros -- all with their own dynamic personalities and personal insight into the triumphs of women in music -- discussed the issues that the gender continues to collectively face in the music world.
And the panel wasted no time in cutting straight to the chase: Record Hop frontwoman Ashley Cromeens in particular cut right to the heart of the issue of sexism in the music industry when she recounted a tale of a disastrous radio interview in which she was asked, "How did you get into the band, being a girl?"
The negative stigma that women are band accessories and not actual musicians continued to be rehashed in story after story.
"Women are supposed to be pretty" said Jennifer Seman, of Shiny Around the Edges.
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But what if they're not?
The panel praised innovative female musicians like Janis Joplin and Patti Smith who were able to disassociate themselves from expectations of what women should sound, dress and act like when performing onstage, further distancing themselves from what is considered to be traditionally beautiful and creating music of a different vein -- one that is not always welcoming to the women who choose it.
As for the panel: What female musicians do they find most inspiring? The answers ranged from PJ Harvey to Tina Turner, along with a few surprising answers.
"I really like what Beyonce does" said local favorite Sarah Jaffe. "She's able to perform like she does, in six inch heels, and just work it."
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