Remove ads, unlock a dark mode theme, and get other perks by upgrading your account. Experience the website the way it's meant to be.

Are Mis-Gendered Band Names ‘Ironic’ or Sexist?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, May 21, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Kayleigh Hughes, writing for The Establishment, on the topic of mis-gendered band names:

    Women and nonbinary people are desperate to see ourselves in, well, any kind of pop culture. We’ve created organizations around the world such as Girls Rock Austin, Gender Amplified, and Girls Inc to try to work toward a future where seeing women making music, working in tech, appearing onscreen, or working behind the scenes is normalized and not othered. So, when members of dominant cultural groups take terms used to describe us or our bodies, such as “girls” or “pussy,” this works against that goal by pushing us out of even lingual spaces. Even our words aren’t ours anymore; they’re being snatched back and reappropriated by those who already have so much.

    If you’re thinking, “oh god another think piece,” I would beg you to reconsider and give this a full read, it’s well researched and well argued.

  2. clucky

    Trusted Supporter

    bye Felicia
    Luroda, Contender, LWS and 2 others like this.
  3. y2jayjk

    Trusted Prestigious

    go back to reddit, pls.
    Jake W, Quin Stack and Tim like this.
  4. y2jayjk May 21, 2016
    (Last edited: May 21, 2016)

    Trusted Prestigious

    Really well done article. I've always thought Strawberry Girls was a weird name as well.

    I am ready for an all female band to be called Whiny White Males and take over the world.
  5. y2jayjk

    Trusted Prestigious

    ah yes, the poor white mens
    AelNire and Carmensaopaulo like this.
  6. clucky

    Trusted Supporter

    from the article:

    A girl band using a male term in their band name doesn't have the same effect as a boy band using a female term, due to the difference in the representation found in the wider musical scene. Gender is not a binary issue where swapping the sex of everyone creates an identical scenario.
  7. y2jayjk

    Trusted Prestigious

    naiiiiiiiiiiled it.
  8. ChicagoBowls


    I see the research done most of this article but she could of did more research on the bands she referenced. Hard Girls and Cheap Girls was just named from one of their influences. And possibly some of those guys in the mentioned bands don't identify as male.
  9. Ryan

    Might be Spider-Man...

    I'm voting for "all the good band names are taken"
    Raku likes this.
  10. skogsraet

    Trusted Supporter

    I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion but I think as feminists we really need to pick our battles. As important as microagressions are and it is absolutely necessary to call them out as we see them in our personal lives, I don't think this trend (which I don't think is even popular enough to call a trend) merits this much attention. Firstly because it's not widespread enough but mostly because it's art.

    I'm a female musician with punk and indie leanings, so let me bold enough to say that I am the demographic the author seems to be concerned about. To sum it up it seems the concern is that in band names, even girls are boys, much like theater of hundreds of years ago that shunned women to such an extent that men were cast to play female roles. Except this is a completely different situation, and if I really wanted to, I could start a band called, say, Whiny White Men. Strawberry Girls, Cheap Girls, Mean Girls, they're not stopping me from doing so. If anything, they're setting a precedent.

    What is the author really worried about happening because of these bands names? That women are going to feel excluded? I might be disappointed if I thought I found an all girl band and it happens to be all guys, but this is the 21st century. If I'm that disapponted, there's Google, SoundCloud, Spotify -- let's not pretend like it's that impossible to find an all girl band.

    Music bands are art projects and I believe the band name is part of the art. I agree it's careless and ignorant to name a band Slaves and Black Pussy sounds to me like fetishization of black women, but Mean Girls? Are we really going to let it bother us because they happen not to be women? Yeah, it's a weak attempt for humor or irony and personally I feel band names should have more thought put into it, but this is a way of degendering band names and all the better for the guys who came just to ogle women. Hopefully they won't make that mistake again and there's one or two less assholes in the crowd for a genuine all girl band. I really don't see the problem with this.

    Sorry my post is long, I'm drunk and I can't seem to organize my thoughts any better.
  11. Stephen Young

    Regular Prestigious

    Hard Girls has a pretty well thought out response to this on facebook:
  12. skogsraet

    Trusted Supporter

    Thanks for sharing this. Never heard of Soft Boys but I don't think Hard Girls warranted inclusion in this article given this statement.
    Raku likes this.
  13. skogsraet

    Trusted Supporter

    I don't want to beat the dead horse on a deleted post but I think it's hilarious that this article is what did it for this user when another article about Scrabble was posted within hours of each other. Very telling that the feminist article is the one they just couldn't put up with because it isn't "music news"
    Luroda, Robk, Penguin and 2 others like this.
  14. Snoblin May 21, 2016
    (Last edited: May 21, 2016)

    Goblin Person Prestigious

    This article definitely has good intentions, but it weakened her argument for whether all feminine language used in band names, for groups consisting of cis males, was considered an abuse of power, sexist, or "ironic," when she chose to focus the majority of her article criticizing bands for using different forms of the words girl or pussy. It would have been a far more interesting article if she could have used more examples of diverse language that conveyed the patriarchal abuse of feminine language like the article proclaimed.

    I also don't think it's right to dismiss every single band name that contains feminine language, belonging to a group of white men, as an abuse of power due to either ironic or stupid origins. (Though if they are of ironic or stupid origins, then yeah, it's definitely a bad thing.)

    I doubt Joan of Arc chose their band name because it was "Ironic" or because of "Stupidness."

    Still, it was a fun (edit: and educating) read. I wish people would put more thought and effort into choosing band names. I know all too many groups that made up their band names on the spot with no real regard for how it could be perceived by others.
    Kizwiz, Carmensaopaulo and Raku like this.
  15. When I post articles I think are interesting, I do so because I think they're interesting - not that I always agree with every single point made or don't disagree with others, it's because I think they're interesting and worth reading (be it movies, scrabble, or long form pieces). I am totally ok with people disagreeing and not finding them interesting, and not reading them, I don't expect 100% of what I write to be interesting to 100% of people. However, I am not ok with posts that do not discuss the contents of the article but instead attack people: the writer, other posters, me, groups of women, or even dismissing issues as "tumblr." Those that wish to engage in that kind of commentary should seek other websites to do so. Discussing the arguments themselves, or talking about why you learned something, and the merits or shortcomings is what the comment section on these articles are for ... they are not for making it clear you didn't read the article in question but wanting to get in a personal dig at someone instead.
  16. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    yup, came out to post this too.
    the comments on there were horrid
  17. Shrek

    can't be made fun of Prestigious

    Ya know, I almost said this multuple times on some of the "Welcome" posts, but your presence, openness, and willlingness to respond on here is one of the reasons I've been proud to be a member for 10+ years. I'm not saying I think you are always right, but you're always respectful & well researched, and it's one of the many reasons I hold chorus in the same esteem as many of my favorite artists.
  18. iCarly Rae Jepsen

    run away with me Platinum

    this is reconsidering me liking The Barenaked Ladies, before anyone says I should have done that long ago
  19. Eric


    This is a good statement. Sucks that a lot of the comments are so shitty. AJJ's drummer left some pretty dumb comments
  20. clucky

    Trusted Supporter

    this reminds me of when I was like twelve and my parents got really freaked out because there was a banner ad on one of the websites I visited for the barenaked ladies.
  21. palebluedot


    That's the first one I thought of. Off-topic, but what a band!
  22. AshlandATeam


    When I was in high school, I thought it would be funny to name a four piece band 'The Cold Cut Trio.' I thought of this while working at Subway, and the joke - which probably doesn't need explaining - is that the band name is funny precisely because we would be neither sandwich meat nor a band made of three people. Dumb joke, but I stand by it.

    So I get why a band would say 'lol, we're white men so let's name our band Black Woman!' and not see why it's offensive. To them, it's just saying 'this is something that we aren't,' and that's funny.

    I'd guess that if sandwich meat were sentient and able to play music, they may say 'hey - why is it funny that we're a band?' Which seems like the obvious response from women artists - why is it a joke that a girl band would actually exist and be punk rock or whatever?

    This may not make much sense to anyone else, so I'll just put it like this: if people could take a step back and try to exercise the most basic, small amount of empathy for other people, they'd realize why their actions are hurtful. I believe these guys who all say they don't mean anything by their names. And I believe other women who say 'meh, it's not a big deal.' But I also fully believe that if we could put ourselves in the shoes of other people that aren't us, we'd also understand why some people ARE hurt by descriptions of who they are being used as satirical jokes. In other words, if someone says 'it's just a joke,' there has to be a punchline; and it sure seems like the punchline to some of these band names is 'wouldn't it be ridiculous if women were in bands, making music?' And the tiniest bit of empathy should make it obvious why that's hurtful.
  23. Taketimeandfind


    Very well said!
  24. skogsraet May 22, 2016
    (Last edited: May 22, 2016)

    Trusted Supporter

    I highly doubt any man or woman is reading so much into these band names that they decided the meaning of naming your band something feminine is supposed to insinuate that women in music are a joke. That is a huge leap. The humor these bands are reaching for is in the surprise of the band actually being male.

    I think whether or not anyone is hurt by this depends on their own, subjective interpretation of a band name. We've been conditioned by bands like the Beach Boys to think that the name of a music project had something to do with the artist but that's an inflexible and limiting interpretation and it's increasingly inaccurate considering the huge numbers of artists who've undertaken pseudonyms (Marilyn Manson, for one) and the trend within electronic music and by producers to name the music as a project, not a person (kinda like Jack Ü). You're asking us to assume a lot here in order to reach the conclusion that women in music are a joke.

    Is anyone actually being hurt or oppressed by this? Aside from the initial disappointment aspiring female musicians might have at the lack of representation, even the author of the article is merely speculating at the possibility of oppression and what people might think or feel, and that's completely fair -- we should absolutely examine these things carefully and have empathy as you said, but I don't think it's fair, in this case, to limit creative expression on the foundation that "some people might get hurt," because the reasoning is just too far fetched in this situation. I also think it's a disservice to audiences to decide, for them, what may be hurtful. I can't speak for all women, but the women I know are strong, intelligent critical thinkers whose passion for art won't be diminished by a mildly insensitive band name.
    Raku likes this.
  25. jellyfishfossil


    One Week is still my jam. I may only like it because it was in a Digimon movie, though.