Jack White has gone to bat for gender equality, saying female musicians are often perceived as a “novelty” on stage, and struggle to get the recognition they deserve despite in many cases being more capable than their male counterparts.
White made the comments in a new interview with guitarist Mike McCready from 90s grunge icons Pearl Jam — of all people — for American satellite radio service Sirius XM, after McCready inquired to the different dynamics between White’s all-female and all-male backing bands.
“It’s sort of a real shame that if a woman goes on stage with an instrument – a guitar or drums or something – that it’s almost a novelty to people. Like, ‘Oh, isn’t that cute,'” White told McCready. “It’s a shame that in 2014 that it’s a little bit of what’s going on with people’s perception in the room.”
“The ultimate shame of it,” White later adds, “is that almost girls have to try twice as hard to really prove themselves.”
“In the end you almost get something better than any other sort of everyday, run-of-the-mill male musician … ’cause [women are] sort of put in a position that they have to.”
White, one half of The White Stripes alongside Meg White, noted that “the fact that Meg was female” had some kind of an affect on “people’s perception of what was going on onstage” and has noticed similarly perplexing treatment towards all-female groups he’s worked with through his label Third Man Records.
McCready and White also discuss striking a balance between professional and personal life, and White’s songwriting process, among other things. You can have a listen to White and McCready discuss sexism in music, and other topics, below. The full interview will be aired via Sirius XM on Wednesday, 8th October.
Listen: Jack White talks male vs. female bands and sexism in the industry
Listen: Jack White discusses his songwriting process
Listen: Jack White talks producing other bands vs. producing his own music
Listen: Jack White talks balancing life and work on Pearl Jam Radio