The Evolution Of The Female Artist/Feminism In Music

Nathassia Devine describes herself as a conscious electronic music artist, prophetic songwriter, and apprentice goddess, who is blessed with lovely fans all over the world. In an exclusive for Essentially Pop, she writes about the evolution of the female artist, as well as feminism in music.

I don’t think anyone can argue that sexism, objectification and gender discrimination haven’t always been rife within all aspects of the music industry. For many years heroic female icons have been taking the stage, in order to force a change. But have things actually changed?

For example, as far back as 1880, Chicago music critic George P. Upton stated in his book ‘Women In Music’, that “women lacked the innate creativity to compose good music” due to the “biological predisposition” of women. By 1900, many women songwriters were forced to use pseudonyms or initials to hide the fact that they were women. Thank goodness things have improved since then.

There are two legendary female artists I feel were real trailblazers. One is Siouxsie Sioux, who paved the way for a new era for women in music. I love how she was never afraid to speak her mind and her fearless attitude when asked to perform live for the first time (see her inspiring interview for PUNK 3 – Siouxsie and the Bromley Contingent https://youtu.be/YaPug6kae0c).

The second is Debbie Harry, who changed the image of women in bands forever by refusing to be told what to wear by her record company. On the subject of feminism she said: “How can one be a woman and not be a feminist.” Unfortunately, she also said: “Nothing much has changed since the Seventies. Women need to shrug off the criticisms, as I did back in the day”.

On the subject of have things changed enough Lady Gaga stated in 2015 “I tried for so long to be taken seriously as a musician for my intelligence more than my body” and Bjork commented that “women’s labor and expertise inside and outside of the music industry go unnoticed”. Obviously the music industry still has a lot more changing to do. It appears women feel they are still not being taken seriously enough as writers, musicians, performers and in particular creators.

Perhaps surprisingly in countries like India and China, the role of women in music was always highly regarded. In Egypt female professional musicians were traditionally paid more than those of the male equivalent! As a conscious electronic world music artist the subject of women being treated on a level playing field with men is very close to my heart. The good news is that this year in particular there has been more focus and acceptance of women in the electronic music scene than ever before which is encouraging for me.

I would like to describe some of my experiences within the genre that I both work and create in. The real issue for me as a singer, performer, songwriter, producer, video editor and manager of my social media when connecting with fans all over the world on a daily basis is NOT TO JUDGE THE MALE SEX! Every day I receive literally hundreds of marriage proposals, comments on my appearance and some of them are overtly sexual in nature. There seems to be the same reoccurring consistent message when it comes to expressing their feelings to a female artist. One of my core believes is not to judge people, for example when a male fan hits the “Like” button on my Facebook page this doesn’t tell me if “I like you for your music”, “I like you for your appearance” or “I like you for both”. My conclusion is that it is mostly both. Rather than dismiss the stereotypical male behaviour out of hand I prefer to gently change their perception so that they gradually begin to understand my songs and what I represent as an artist over my image. I am pleased to say this seems to be working well.

I predict that things will continue to improve at a rapid pace for all female performers and a big part of why is that more and more men are starting to understand the female point of view. Appreciating each others point of view is surely the key to a better future for us all.

Nathassia Devine

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