Women in music.
A topic I didn't think I'd cover at some point.
Simply because in my opinion, there's no need to highlight either gender.
We should all be able to have the same rights, same opportunities, same experiences.
But we don't.
It's a fact.
I'll be completely honest; this post took a lot of time to write. It's still nowhere near being what I'm completely happy with, but I felt the need to upload it anyway.
Maybe it's interesting for you to read about my experiences and thoughts.
My main goal is to have you think about what I'm trying to say. And to think further than that.
I want you to find or secure your opinion about this topic and maybe I can help you by telling you what I think.
For the first few months of being somewhat little part of the music industry, I didn't have to deal with any sexist comments or encounters at all.
I think that's what allowed me to feel at home in this industry; experiencing it the way most men do.
No trouble, no rude comments.
Please notice that I use the expression "most men"- I'm aware that sexism isn't something only women have to deal with.
The first few bands and artists I got to work with are some of the most wonderful people I know.
Even though I was totally new to this industry and I was incredibly young - they never treated me like I wasn't on the same level. And for that I'm still incredibly thankful.
But of course, the time in which I experience sexism, had to come.
Last year I went on my first tour as a photographer.
A band of four men I had been friends with for a while, took me on the road with them - because they genuinely enjoyed my work.
Two gigs in, comments such as "so you're the groupie?" or "with how many of them did you sleep?", started rolling in.
Whilst you'd think these comments would come from uneducated and immature people,
I was rather surprised to have a promoter ask me in very serious tone, if I got to hang out with two artists last year, just because I slept with them.
I think a lot of times women are expected to just laugh at it and be polite about it.
But it's about time that we don't do that.
It's disrespectful towards our work, our skills and most importantly, it's fucking rude to indirectly call a woman a slut.
I met male photographers who made it very obvious that they thought I wasn't on the same level as they were.
I also met a male photographer who emailed me, once he had seen my work, apologising for questioning my skills because of my gender.
I've had guys push or elbow me whilst I was walking through the audience to photograph the band on stage.
I've had a fellow male blogger tell me that I'm only successful because I look a certain way.
Apparently some people don't think that women understand anything about music. That they only care about fashion and makeup. And that they don't have the same skills as men.
But being a woman in the media/music industry isn't always difficult because of men, unfortunately, a lot of times, it's other women who throw bricks.
I remember shooting Ed Sheeran back in 2014. I had access to the backstage areas because I had worked with his support act beforehand.
When a few girls saw my pass, they started calling me rather unflattering names.
I also remember a gig I photographed earlier this year, where another woman thought she was the only good woman in the photo pit.
She "accidentally" hit me in the back multiple times and managed to always block my shots.
But why don't women support other women a lot more?
If anyone, we should be the first ones to cheer for each other and respect each other, right?
But not all of us do.
Because we're taught that there's only room for a few women in the industry.
Because we're being told that there's only limited spots available for us.
Because that's the way it currently is.
You think that's "just an excuse"?
Check out festival line ups, tell me how many female acts you find.
Check out the charts, tell me how many female acts you find.
This is in no way a "men hating" post.
I am lucky enough to work with some of the most talented, most wonderful and most supportive men that I think there are. Some of the people I receive most respect from, are men.
And I appreciate them dearly.
As a 20-year old woman, I can say that I want to be acknowledged for the work I do.
The talent I have.
Not for the way I look or who my friends are.
I don't want to be worried about what I'm wearing, because it might distract from my work.
I don't want to walk down the street, or into a music venue and be afraid of being whistled at, or worse - have a car full of dudes beep their car at me.
But then again I also realise that I'm leading a very fortunate life.
I am here, fighting for equality in the industry I work in,
when other women have to fight to be seen as an equal human being with the same right to be alive. To be seen and treated as a human, not an object that belongs to men.
Maybe it's a privilege that I can complain about these things, because that means I'm one of many women who finally get to be a part of this industry.
Maybe it's a privilege to be in this position, because it means we've created a situation that women before us may have dreamed of.
Many years ago, the women didn't have that opportunity, so we may all use it to make a change.
I hope any of this somehow found its' way to you.
If you want to talk about this topic, please feel free to leave a comment or speak to me on social media.
I want to listen and chat to you.
Thank you for your visit.
Credits // Text & Photography: Vanessa Jertschewske