Twitter erupted, Facebook erupted as band members and promoters denied their sexism. And cos Daniel and Jennifer had used statistics to make their argument it was all a great heap of awesome.
They had analysed the male/female/x make up of all the bands listed as performing at Indietracks 2012, then categorised the bands into being male, female or 50:50
This is how we counted performers at Indietracks. The process is based on the Ladyfest Malmö method.and with the help of lovely polkadot pie charts summarised the findings as
- A female act is an act where the majority of band members are female
- A male act is an act where the majority of band members are male
- A 50/50 act is comprised of half females and half males or equal members of males, females and trans people
Summary:Clearly since 51% of the population is female there must be sexism at work.
- 56 acts were booked in total.
- 38 were male acts
- 7 were female acts
- 11 were 50/50-acts
Similarly for individual performers at Indietracks 2012
It doesn't really represent the population.
- 159 were male
- 64 were female
- 3 trans or genderqueer.
But how badly should indiepop promoters feel about this? Is indiepop particularly sexist compared to other musical genres? I've always felt that indiepop is a broad musical church, inculsive of all genders and sexes. Compared to pop, punk, rock and metal, there are far more people in skirts in indiepop bands.
Anyhoo, So Tough! So Cute! only looked at the data for Indietracks 2012. Which could just be a blip, so I've poured over the old festival guides for Indietracks 2009, 2010 and 2011.
For performers, without investigating the privacies of trans and genderqueeriness
|Total female performers||75||58||59||64|
|Total male performers||138||143||120||159|
Its roughly 70:30 male to female, how much variation were you expecting? About that much?
That is remarkably consistent, considering all the thousands of indiepop bands who could possibly play, more often than not there's always 7 female bands and 11 50:50 bands
Personally I think there's something a bit off about calling Allo Darlin' a male band, since without Elizabeth Morris, they wouldn't be half as successful.
So, as I have access to the raw data, we can categorised them differently, thus:-
|Mixed mostly male||21||26||18||23|
|Mixed mostly female||3||3||2||4|
Thrilling stuff that doesn't really change the argument much, except that if promoters were being sexist in their selections, there would perhaps be more 'All male' bands.
There are, of course, flaws in the methodology here. Flaws such as Dan and Jonny from Pocketbooks who as a mobile rhythm section play bass and drums in a couple of different bands, most of them featuring female members, when considering Indietracks, do Dan and Jonny only count once or multiple times or as fractions adding up to whole people. Likewise Remi from Electrophonvitage/Sunny Street and as a solo artist, the Colin Clary/Lets Whisper/Smittens, and Simon Love, cos he's worth ten normal men.
On the female side there's Emma from Knickers, Owl and Mouse and Darren Hayman's band who's trying to make up gender inequality single-handedly.
What's to do?
I don't know.
As mentioned earlier the original piece didn't cover other music genres outwith indiepop, so I thought I'd venture into other worlds...
These are the details for The Didmarton Bluegrass Festival 2012
|Total female performers||28|
|Total male performers||118|
|Mixed mostly male||14|
|Mixed mostly female||1|
So thats most imbalanced than Indietracks, with overwealmingly male bands.