I never intended to turn this into a series of posts, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot since I started this blog, and I see so little mention of women as music fans online. I did, however, find a post from Anwyn from Popular Demand that really hit home:
"I love writing about music, and sometimes I think I do it well. (But the confidence comes in intermittent flashes, it’s not a constant, guiding light. I have several male music writing friends who really and truly do think they’re wonderful writers – and some of them are – but it’s more that they feel entitled to believe that, no doubts or questions."
I, too, love writing and talking about music, but I always feel as though I need to pass a series of tests before I can prove that I know my stuff. Or that what I'm saying or writing is silly and superfluous or just plain wrong -- like Juno trying to convince Mark of Mott the Hoople's brilliance as he smiles and nods condescendingly. Part of that is that I've never been fully confident in my writing, but it would be naive to deny that the lack of female voices critical in music or cultural criticism is hugely influential in how other women see themselves as thinkers and critics. It doesn't help when respected pop culture pundits dismiss women's fandom as less serious than men's.
I should clarify that when I say there's a lack of women critics, I mean there is a lack of women critics in the mainstream music blogosphere, and a lack of women writing about how pop culture influences women's lives. The best critics, I've found, come from inside the feminist blogosphere, but let's be honest: the audience for a lot of feminist blogs is exponentially smaller than those at mainstream sites. As someone who's been a writer for an ostensibly feminist site, but a long-time commenter at many sites where I've been one of few women, there's a definite difference. I take more risks here than I do when I'm part of a crowd, or more often than not, I feel invisible. The key is to get more women writing and promoting other women's work.