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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Female artists should use their talents over mere looks

    As they say in advertising, “sex sells,” and women in the music industry are dressing in more revealing ways than ever. But male performers don’t have to parade around as sex objects just so they can showcase their talents, and women shouldn’t have to either.

    Simply turn on the television or watch a recent music video, and you’re bound to see women who are sexualized and half-naked, dancing provocatively and submissive to the dominating male.

    Rihanna’s risqué fashion choices, Miley Cyrus’s “twerking” performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and Katy Perry’s sexually-driven performances lead young women to believe that showing off talent requires them to show off their bodies, as well. Even women powerhouses such as Lady Gaga and Pink, who are vocal supporters of women’s rights, show a lot of skin.

    Even in a sea of half-naked music videos and sexually-driven performances, there are many women who have broken the mold and dedicate their talents, not their bodies, to their work, which is a refreshing change.

    The second annual Southwest Terror Fest is in Tucson from Oct. 10-13, and women musicians there will be rocking the stage just as much as their male counterparts, defying stereotypes and owning their presence in metal rock.

    “In a lot of other genres, the edgiest a woman can get is expressing her sexuality, but with metal I can explore themes and ideas that are considered very unladylike … without selling my body to it,” said metal singer Shanda Fredrick, who performs for Demon Lung. “[Men] should be open to hearing a female perspective and women having a sense of creative freedom.”

    The opportunity for women to perform at the Southwest Terror Fest without revealing too much of their bodies is a breakthrough in a male-dominated genre. They don’t need to dress provocatively or cater to the male gaze to draw a crowd; they rely on pure passion and talent for music.

    “Over the years I have noticed a huge increase in the number of women playing in bands,” said drummer Abbey Apple, who will perform with her band Oryx at the rock metal festival. “Now it seems women are getting their place in the scene and are no longer just in the audience.”

    Talent should always trump looks, and as more women performers come out of the audience and onto the stage, the more normal it will be to see talented artists who don’t rely heavily on appearances.

    “Something where there’s an obvious physical divide between men and women, I can fathom people judging men and women on different scales,” said Micki McCargar, bassist for Eight Legged Horse.

    “When it comes to being a musician, or any kind of art skill, it’s all about what you produce. That thing, that rare thing: talent. That’s what it’s all about. Gender becomes irrelevant at the point where talent begins.”

    It shouldn’t be shocking or unconventional that women take the stage at the Southwest Terror Fest, and women have the same right as men to draw a crowd. The sexual freedom women have now is liberating, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be used a tool in the entertainment industry.

    “My hope is that one day it won’t be about ‘She’s good … for a female musician’ and more about ‘That person is a good musician,’” said Apple.

    The women musicians performing at the upcoming Southwest Terror Fest defy conventional standards and are an inspiration.Hopefully women outside of the genre will soon follow suit.

    Sex may sell, but talent should be the focus.

    Kalli Ricka Wolf is a journalism junior. Follow her on Twitter.com/@kalli3wolf.

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