Sh*t People Say to Women Musicians

Growling fire Pj Harvey

Growling fire Pj Harvey

Being part of an all lady rock n’ roll writing group makes our write-ups late nights filled with wine, wild stories, and candid hearts.

A beautiful bassist/rock n’ roll publicist in our crew once shared a story about her childhood that made us all a little jealous.

She was 14 and looking for musicians to start a band. She postered the local record shops with posters of her music tastes and phone number with hopes of finding the music partners in crime she’d been looking for.

Her phone rang, but the voices on the other line weren’t interested in her Bass. Didn’t even really believe she could play it, and even if she could, not well enough to play with them. They wanted dates.

“Man, wish we had your problem”, we giggled, we thought it was hilarious. But she was pissed. She genuinely wanted to make music and nobody took her seriously, they just wanted to make sweet music together. This was just the beginning of a lifetime of silly things that have been said to her or about her since she started playing her instrument.

So when Steph Guthrie put out this call for Things People Say To Women Musicians on her twitter feed…



turns out my music girl friend wasn’t alone. People saying stupid sh*t to female musicians is a trend.

“Girls can’t play bass because they’re not technical.”

“I almost had a show for you with [female artist], but decided against a woman opening.” – booker

“I bet you’re buying the blue tambourine because blue is your favourite colour.” – music store employee

“This headshot won’t work for your poster… You need a body shot!” – agent

“You must’ve dated at least half your band.”

“Want a Betty Boop strap to go with that new guitar?”

“There are no female music producers because women can’t understand the technicalities involved.” “[Names a female music producer]” “She must have had a guy helping her out.”

“Just shut up, smile and sing, honey.”

“Are you shopping for your boyfriend?” – male music store employee


YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I subjected the email I sent to my bassist friend. This led to a discussion about how I play a little piano, a little violin, basic guitar, and sing when I’m sh*tfaced, but never started a band because I bought into the belief reflected above that I wouldn’t ever be as good as Zeppelin and if I couldn’t play Zeppelin I shouldn’t even try. All this while I idolized multi-instrumentalist, music producing mega babes PJ Harvey, Bjork, L7, Shirley Manson and more.

“Fuck that”, my friend replied “most bands start not knowing how to play instruments, it’s practice and touring and failing and trying that eventually makes you Zeppelin.”

Now she’s going to teach me how to play everything from Ramones to Zeppelin on the guitar while we sit on the beach with a bottle of wine and our notepads. Just like our rock n’ roll writing sessions, but with a sexy new detail, my Gibson Les Paul.

Thanks to a conversation that started about Sh*t People Say to Women Musicians, more women who love playing music are breaking out their guitar cases and making tunes.

To read more hilarious and infuriating sh*t people say to women musicians, check out Steph Guthries blog




Tags: , , , , , ,