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Does Society Favour Male Over Female Artists?

Taylor Swift; Ed Sheeran

Throughout my life, I have been made to be very aware of the differences between the sexes in terms of how they are treated. For example, on The X Factor, the papers always used to claim that the two female judges were trying to out-do each in terms of what they were wearing; whereas nothing was ever said about the male judges trying to do the same thing (because none of the judges were trying to do this in the first place, let's be honest). Another thing I have noticed a difference between the sexes is within the music industry. I guess what I am going to discuss can possibly be related to many other areas of life, but there has been a number of things that have occurred within the music industry and how society views music artists that have made me want to write this post in the first place.

If you look at a recent article by the Business Insider that lists the fifty best-selling music artists (including bands) of all time, a total of forty-one were men and not a single woman made the top ten. I'm not saying that these men didn't deserve to be in this list, because they totally do, however, we really have to question why female artists aren't being afforded the same amount of success as the male artists. To my shock and horror, some totally amazing and successful female artists that I'm sure we've all heard of didn't make this list, including Beyonce and Lady Gaga. I'm sure many of you reading this will agree that this in itself is a total injustice and I DEMAND A RECOUNT!!!

I mentioned X Factor earlier, and I would like to bring it back up again. Who remembers when on the Celebrity X Factor, the Pussycat Dolls made their comeback appearance and the country was in uproar about their outfits. I'm not sure when this happened, but sometime earlier, Try Star (a group comprising of rugby players Thom Evans, Levi Davis, and Ben Foden), performed a number which involved them taking their shirts off, which I seem to remember no one complaining about. To an extent, I can understand the complaints surrounding the Pussycat Dolls' outfits due to it being a family show. However, people know that the Pussycat Dolls aren't exactly known for dressing up in clothing that covers their entire bodies and just standing next to a microphone and singing. This isn't the Victorian era. It is possible for women to show a bit of skin without having to deal with complaints surrounding this on Twitter (or so you would have hoped to have been achieved by the 21st century, but apparently we're taking one step forwards and ten steps backwards). But regardless of all of that, why does society see it as acceptable for men to perform with their tops off but women can't wear something where they're still fully clothed but is a little more daring? I guess a tiny part of it can be down to personal preference but there is still definitely a stigma surrounding the differences in clothing choices between men and women, but I digress.

Let's take a look at boy- and girl-bands. I grew up listening to Girls Aloud throughout the noughties and in more recent years Little Mix. I know that just before I was born we also had the Spice Girls. When you look at boy-bands, you have plenty to choose from, including One Direction; Take That; The Beatles; Blue; Backstreet Boys; and NSYNC, to name just a few. Obviously, there are way more boy- and girl-bands that I could mention, but then I'd probably be here all day. If you Google the best bands of all time, along the top of the page there is a list of bands and every single one of them includes male members only. If you take a look at Radio X's list of the best bands of all time, every single one is male, apart from Florence and the Machine. Where are the women? Like I said above, I'm not saying that these bands don't deserve to be up there, because they definitely do, but what about the female bands? Why aren't they getting any recognition? I'd argue that Little Mix are one of, if not, the most successful girl-bands and potentially bands of all time. Another list from the Offical Charts from 2012 mentions the Spice Girls in their list of the top twenty biggest selling groups of all time, but that's just one out of twenty others. I'm just getting really fed up of female artists not getting the recognition they truly deserve.

I don't know about you, but whenever I have the radio on, I have noticed that the majority of songs come from male artists and it is only every so often that a song by a female artist will be played. I did a bit of digging and found that I wasn't alone with my thoughts. A recent report by The Guardian found that female artists are incredibly underrepresented on the radio. I'll let you read the report for yourself, but to summarise, only 19% of songs that featured in the UK airplay chart between the 1st of January and the 15th of August 2020 were by female artists, with 51% being by male artists and 30% being from mixed-gender collaborations. Behind the scenes, 80% of songwriters were male, 19% were female, 1% were non-binary and only 3% of producers were female. In the past year alone, only 10% of the most songs played were by female artists. The article also stated in the report that some research conducted by the BBC found that male artists were three times more likely than female artists to feature on the biggest singles of 2018. Of the top forty this week (08/01/2021-14/01/2021), eleven of those singles were held by women and the remaining twenty-nine were by men. Why are female artists being so underrepresented in the charts and radio stations? More needs to be done to create a more inclusive society - and that's in all areas, not just the music industry.

If you look at the list of winners for the BRITs 2020, discounting the awards for male/female solo artist and international male/female solo artist, all of the winners are men. Foals won best group, with the nominees being Bastille, Bring Me The Horizon, Coldplay, and D-Block Europe. Lewis Capaldi won song of the year, with the nominees being AJ Tracey, Calvin Harris & Rag'n'Bone Man, Dave feat. Burna Boy, Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber, Mabel, Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus, Sam Smith & Normani, Stormzy, and Tom Walker. Dave won album of the year, with the nominees being Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Michael Kiwanuka, and Stormzy. Lewis Capaldi won best new artist, with the nominees being Aitch, Dave, Mabel and Sam Fender. What a lovely long list of female artist's names... NOT! This probably shocked me the most out of everything I have read for this post as I watched the BRITs last year and am shocked that I didn't properly pay attention to how few females won/were nominated for an award. It really disgusts me that out of the eight awards given, only two were given to women and they were in a category specifically for women. Give. Female. Artists. The. Recognition. They. Deserve!

You may think I'm making a big song and dance about nothing, but as a woman, I am sick and tired of continually feeling second best against men. I am fed up of other women not getting the recognition they deserve for the work they do and it almost always being the men who are celebrated for their work. Yes, we should celebrate men and I don't doubt for a second that they haven't worked hard to get to wherever they are now. But in many cases, women have to work even harder to not only get to the top but also to remain there. I'm not asking for the tables to turn and for women to get more recognition than men. What I'm asking for is for women to be getting the same recognition as men and to be considered for the same opportunities as men are.

What do you think? Does society favour male over female artists? Or am I just making a song and dance about nothing?

Love Beth xx

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