Hannah Crofts of alt country band All Our Exes Live In Texas has penned a kick-ass op-ed for The Brag denouncing Graham Wood – owner of Perth biggest jazz club The Ellington – over sexist comments he allegedly made regarding diversity in the triple j Hottest 100.
The furore was all kicked up by Erin Riley’s article for the Guardian about the controversy around her observation that there have been more triple j Hottest 100 winners from the same Melbourne all boys private school than there have been female winners.
Vance Joy and Chet Faker went to school together, which means the Hottest 100 has had more winners from St Kevin’s Toorak than women
— Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) January 25, 2016
In the article, Riley describes how the debate around her comments, and Chet Faker’s own misinterpretation of them, has largely missed the point she was trying to raise about privilege. Not that the Faker or Joy somehow didn’t deserve to win, but more asking what is it about the system that prevents women from winning.
Deeply disgusted by the accusation that men somehow had it easier than women in the music industry, Wood reportedly let fly with the usual reactionary anti-feminist fare you would expect.
“That is what annoys men so much about this line of argument is they face just as many obstacles, they are just better equipped to deal with them,” he said, according to since-deleted screenshots of Facebook comments published in The Brag.
He didn’t stop there, going on to detail how he – an Associate Professor at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and previously the Head of Music there – feels it’s best to address women’s concerns about diversity, and ‘other complaints’.
“You simply nod your head and listen with your understanding face on.Women want you to listen to them and understand the problems they perceive. They don’t actually expect you to fix anything,” he wrote.
Maybe that’s because every time they do some entitled old sod like you dismisses them, Graham.
Wood is not alone in holding these views, as Crofts points out. Hordes of men prowling online read to arc up at any discussion of male privilege and label it as ‘man hating’ and cry something along the lines of “it’s not our fault, I deserve what I have because I work hard.”
Crofts labels this tired old retort “boring and exhausting”.
“Women in the music industry are telling you something is wrong,” she writes. “As an influential part of this community, surely your responsibility is to work to tackle this problem.”
It’s worth repeating this again. Since the Hottest 100’s inception, only four winning songs have featured a female artist. No solo female act has ever landed at number one and this year no female-fronted bands or solo female acts even cracked the top 10.
No one is accusing triple j and other radio stations of banding together and actively trying to keep women off the radio and out of the Hottest 100. What they are saying is that unless radio stations, media outlets (us included), venue owners and professors – those who influence what we think about and how we see music and musicians – unless they make a concerted effort to support and showcase female musicians we will never have true representation in any field.
In regard to Wood and other like him we can send a strong message to them that we don’t support these type of comments. As Crofts puts it: “I, for one, do not support live music venues in Australia that do not support equality, woman and diversity.”
Urging others to follow her example she states she “will never be performing or attending The Ellington jazz club again and I urge other performers and audience members to do the same.”
I for one won’t be rushing down anytime soon.