Stigma Around Teenage Girls in the Music Industry
Why is there such a stigma around teenage girls in the music industry and the artist they support? Does it come from a purely misogynistic mindset, or is there actual reasoning behind it? In this podcast episode, we discuss this and how this public view of these teenage girls can over time become damaging, and change the way that they look at themselves and the interests. Singer-Songwriter Eva Rose had a lot to say on this topic, seeing as her involvement in stan culture(as a one direction stan)while a teenager grew into her now a career as a singer-songwriter.
*Below is a transcribed portion of the interview*
Liana: I’m just gonna go back and talk about when you mentioned the whole One Direction aspect of it which really falls in line with what this is going to be about is like as a woman in the industry, like, why do you think there’s such a stigma around teenage girls in the music industry and the artists that they support?
Eva: Oh, okay, well, we live in a patriarchy so yeah basically misogyny.
Liana: Yeah. Well, my next question was do you think this stems from like, a misogynistic pov?
Eva:100% , The music industry is super misogynistic. I’ll tell you right now I’ll circle back to answer that directly, the question you just asked. In my engineering class, you know, we were doing using logic and Pro Tools. You had to test into it to get placed and I got into the highest level class, level four. And I was the only girl out of 30 people in the room. And that’s kind of a common theme I see. It’s like, I think people because we see so many, you know, female rappers ruling the rap industry in the music industry, so many female pop stars, like you see the charts and you see, like, overwhelmingly so many like amazing female acts and you think oh, there’s not misogyny in the music industry. But you don’t realize how, like, small how much of the minority how women are really such a minority within the music industry because like, only I’m pretty sure less than 10% of women are producers. Less than 15% of women are songwriters and only about 20% of them are artists and people just see the few that are killing it and think oh, everyone has equal opportunities like no. Because you know I’ve gotten shit from plenty of male producers, male songwriters, and male artists. Which kind goes back to misogyny, where they just don’t trust the opinion of women, they don’t think that if women like something it can’t possibly be of quality. It won’t be good. Which is why you know I used to get so freakin angry, like I said earlier I was a major fan of One Direction.
Liana: Oh yeah
Eva: I got it into my head some years of hearing guys in our high school being like “they suck” or like you know being also just like homophobic saying like “it's gay” its this and stuff. I’m like, Oh my God. And then I kind of got it in my head like, oh my god why do people think boy band music is shitty just because their music is actually bad? But because they think people don’t think that young girls have the ability to be like to be tastemakers or realize what is good. Yeah, and people think oh, because it’s pop, it’s just a bunch of teenage girls that like this and must not be good.
Liana: Or it’s like they like them because they’re hot.
Eva: I’ve had people ask, Oh, you were really into one direction? Is that like just a sexual thing? I’m like, I was freaking 14. It's like a really weird question to ask. I was a harry girl of course. Like I thought they were so cute. But I was like I was I’m not just sitting on my computer looking at pictures of them all day. Yeah, I was doing that. But also listening to their music. I went home and like how the fuck do you write a song, and I would listen to a lot of One Direction music. It wasn’t until I, you know, started working with songwriters here in the New York scene and other artists in the industry I was surprised to hear this from male songwriters like Oh, One Direction, their music is actually good. Like it’s actually well written.
Liana: The songwriters they had work on some of their songs are really good!
Eva: Even just like meeting people and working with writers. They’re like, Oh, Julian Bunetta, I work with him. He’s so awesome. Like, he’s an amazing songwriter who worked on a lot of one direction songs. Yeah. And also like, finding out my really good friend and collaborator from in LA. His aunt wrote on some of their stuff, and she’s like, wrote pretty much every hit of the early 2010s. So yeah, I mean, short answer long.100% because people don’t trust and just think that these young women are stupid.
Liana: I agree. And it’s like, wouldn’t you, I mean, you tell me as a musician like I would think the target audience you would want to have for a successful career wouldn’t it be teenage girls like, like going back to it like One Direction fans would camp out what days and like literal weeks outside stadiums to get tickets like they spent the most money and were the most engaged.
Eva:I don’t want to make this such a like a dichotomy between men and women. Thats so binary but I think it’s because women, in general, have society have no problem being showing emotional investment and being passionate about things whereas guys are not. I don’t I don’t think I’ve ever seen except for apart from you know, the heteronormative things of sports. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group that has, you know, predominantly male fans whose whose male fans would go who would be as passionate and as you know, revere them like if more They’re probably like, I don’t know, fucking metallic, I don’t know, The Beatles, The Led Zeppelin guys are like now.I think women are the backbone of this country, I think we go out of the way. And women really are the most supportive, or the most engaged. I just think as women, we just know how to love things. And we can express it like people will write off is like, oh, you’re over-emotional, you’re irrational. But it’s like, No, we just actually know how to express our love for things. When we want something to thrive, we will make sure that it does. And so I don’t understand why anyone would ever look at the fan base of, you know, a band or an artist like one direction and see that there are predominately female and say they suck. Like, look at their bank accounts.
Liana: look at their bank account, look at the charts, Obviously, something’s clicking.
Eva: Like pretty much every artists that I see, you know, who has had an impact like that, or has made such a splash in the music industry, you look at their fan base, and it’s predominantly women
Liana: And also, like, I think it’s truly like damaging to young women, who are fans of these artists and to constantly have their likes, hammered out in public just I feel like it, it definitely does something to you. Especially at a young age. Like I feel like it’s a really important part of growing up. To have a love for something, and it’s just really not healthy for that to just be like, really shat on.
Eva: Yeah, especially if it’s something that really matters to you. Like, I kind of realized this connection. Like for example, when I got so into One Direction. I look back at that time in my life, and that time was hard, really rough. I was going through it I was transitioning, when I went really hardcore into liking One Direction. I was going through eighth grade to ninth grade I was really like just, ya awkward years of life, you’re losing friends, you’re making friends. You’re figuring out who you are. You’re getting acne suddenly, it’s like what is going on and, that was kind of like the thing for me to really, I mean, I don’t want to be dramatic, but you know, kind of like your saving grace and be like, Oh my god,when you find passions that generally makes you happy when you’re kind of miserable in every other aspect of your life. And hearing people say you’re stupid for liking that. It’s really it’s like a personal attack.
Liana: then you feel embarrassed!
Eva: And it’s like, let people have fun! It's internalizing misogyny when someone tells you that. If you like this thing, it’s clearly stupid. Because only girls like it. And you’re cool only if you like the things that men like. It’s like men are the gatekeepers of a good taste. Even though now I’m like, I would never trust a man ever to give me my music taste.
Eva: it’s this cycle of like, you know, internalized misogyny in line with that pick me complex where it’s like, okay, yeah, what I like is stupid. So I’m just gonna conform the things I like to fit what guys like, so I cannot be seen as stupid when it’s like, that’s totally…. First, of an opinion, the opinion you’re trying that is making you completely change or reconsider your personality is not even valid now again with so I just think it’s really damaging and that’s why I don’t speak to men. I just kind of let it roll off my back. And you know, like, even my dad would be like, “Oh, this is stupid”, but then I’d be like, Listen, Dad, I know you are listening to One Direction. Oh, we know for a fact he knows the words to some songs like you can’t deny good quality music when it's actually good.