Jodi Biddle

Music and the construction of female identity – Brisbane’s street press

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I started this article with the intent to turn the focus from writers to writing. The introductory paragraph went like this:

Music and the construction of female identity

Look, I’m getting a bit tired of the self-referential debate that’s going on surrounding music writing and sexism. I have never felt the intrusion of my gender in any discussion about music. I believe this is because, largely, the identity of writers on the Internet has become less important. I have never been accused of ‘female’ writing; shit writing, boring writing, wrong, misinformed, excellent, entertaining, funny, strange or annoying writing, but not ‘female’. This is because as a writer, I don’t matter. What I’m saying does. In the age of superfast information, of aggregators and Pitchfork, the old juggernauts of tastemaking have lost their place. (Sorry Everett! You’re a dying breed.) [We all die eventually – philosophical Ed.]

Because Collapse Board is a publication attempting to create discourse surrounding Brisbane music, I was going to focus my article on examining the way language is used to present women in the street press. Until I encountered a problem. There are none! Female writers are definitely visible. But they’re writing about men, almost exclusively. Where are all the ladies? I hadn’t thought about it at all before. Of course there are plenty of female musicians, even in Brisbane, but especially across the broad, generalised coverage that street press provides.

I was going to talk about the language of the street press, which necessarily deals in clichés because of its casual nature, but I couldn’t cull enough quotes from Rave, Time Off, Scene and Tsunami to create a meaningful argument about how we as writers discuss women because we just don’t. It seemed ridiculous when triple j’s Hottest 100 of All Time didn’t contain a single female artist, but really, truly, we don’t talk about female artists nearly as much as we do male.

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