Turning Teenage Girls From Fans Into Rock Stars

Illustration for article titled Turning Teenage Girls From Fans Into Rock Stars

Plenty of girls love music. But how many young women actually pick up instruments and make music? Jessica Hopper hopes to inspire: She just published The Girls' Guide to Rocking.

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Her book provides instructions on everything from choosing an instrument to naming your band to booking a gig.

Hopper, now 32, feels that things have changed for aspiring female musicians since she picked up a guitar in the 10th grade. She looked up to older women like the members of Hole and the Breeders. But now, with Taylor Swift, Lily Allen and the like, young women can be inspired by their peers. "There is a lot more wide variety of examples genre-wise, and examples of personality and women in rock-and-roll than there were when I was younger," Hopper explains. "The thing that girls today have is a different set of examples of what is possible for women in music."

It's interesting that while both males and females listen to rock and hip-hop, these genres are usually testosterone-fueled, in terms of who is generating the tunes. (Pop, often considered less serious, is where female artists tend to flourish.) Plus, the stereotype of the teenage girl is that she's the screaming fan — not the one on stage rocking out. So how do you encourage a spectator to get in on the game?

"I just really wanted to urge girls to see that they're part of a continuum of women making music, whether it's Kim Deal, or Liz Phair, Amy Lee from Evanescence, or Demi Lovato, to whoever it is that they look up to," Hopper says. "I started going to shows when I was around 15, and I was going to shows almost every week, but it wasn't until I saw one with a woman playing in a band that I thought, 'I could be doing this too.'"

Teaching Girls How To Rock [Philadelphia Inquirer]

DISCUSSION

eleanor-abernathy-old
Eleanor Abernathy

I feel exceedingly bad for young girls not having anyone to look up to anymore - I really don't see any women making good music that would be accessible to your average 15-year-old. When I was 15, it was Courtney Love who inspired me to pick up a guitar, and Liz Phair who inspired me to write my own songs. I hate to get all "ah the good old days" but really, what is there right now for girls?

Also, I'm sure she covers it in this book, but let me tell you, nothing can prepare you for the reality of how difficult it is being a woman in music. Unless you're someone's girlfriend or sleeping with someone, you will face opposition at every turn and it can be really, really discouraging. You have to want to play music REALLY badly to keep doing it sometimes.

Yes, I has a bitter.