Independent music mag Wonka Vision has published its first “Women in Rock” issue. Inside are interviews with female musicians, engineers, and managers that touch on the difficulties women face in a sexist industry.
Wonka Vision has an administrative staff of 90% women, yet they still notice a great deal of sexism in the rock genre. However, the greatest imbalance is no longer among the performers, but rather in the production and distribution of music. In her editor’s letter, Ellen Thompson writes: “The disparities the notable women in the following pages are bitching about have more to do with what’s not meeting our eyes and ears. It’s the disparities in the boardrooms and recording studios of record labels and in the lighting booths at clubs and venues.”
There seems to be a lingering stereotype that the only women who hang around backstage are either groupies or girlfriends. Photographer Cindy Frey says that women’s talents are frequently underestimated, that it is assumed they have slept their way to the top: “often people think that women in the music business are sluts who got their job because they slept with guys.”
However, Kate Hiltz, a band and tour manager says that things are getting a little better for women in rock: “I think it used to be more of an issue than it is now. I used to get a lot more comments like ‘whose girlfriend are you?’” While this is not exactly great progress, hopefully “Women in Rock” will at the very least shed some light on the many women toiling away backstage.