Bard Questions: Is Wizard Rock Still Sexist?

[Here’s another one of these “Hard Questions” style articles, all that was written are the following short notes:]

first cover how yes, wrock IS/WAS sexist, and my article about it,but how things have changed, and maybe with the big male bands leaving, holes can be filled. But people in community are also leaving. Is that in and of itself sexist? For the most part, no. I myself have been finding it harder to stay interested in wrock, AND IM THE FUCKING SNOB

[Yeah, scintillating stuff right there. Again, as the community has… dwindled, to say the least, these questions seem less and less important to me. And when I say that wizard rock is dying or dwindling or the community is gone or whatever, realize that I recognize that there’s lots of people who still like wizard rock, follow wizard rock twitter accounts, etc. But there was a time when wizard rock was the main fandom for a lot of us, and that isn’t true of probably almost any of us anymore. Oooh, here’s a fun game – post in the comments below what your new Main Fandom is – mine’s Homestuck! Anyway, while there’s still plenty of people who appreciate wrock, there is less energy being put into it, causing it to appear weaker, causing less energy to be put into it, etc. Also, a significant portion of the wizard rock fandom was swallowed by the Starkid fandom, ne’er to be heard from again, except incessantly at cons.

…Remember when cons where academic affairs? ME NEITHER! Anywho, I’m not entirely sure I would stand by my initial claiming of “wrock IS sexist”, or at least not those precise words. Lemme break out of italics to explain more.]

Aaaaaaah, that’s better. Everything is less… slanty. So, here’s the basic facts as I see them: the first big bands were male, due mostly to non-gender related circumstances and chance, as discussed in this super old article. Their fans were primarily female because the Harry Potter fandom was primarily female (in terms of actual “fandom” – fanficcers and podcasters and such), and also because in general “fandom” (i.e. all of tumblr besides the SJWs, hipsters, and porn blogs) seems to be primarily female, with the Video Game Fandom in general being the one large exception, and all of that is for reasons for beyond my ken, so my dwelling upon such specifics will not last beyond the constraints of this sentence.

Then wizard rock started spreading. And the number of bands increased dramatically, and most of them were fronted by females. And yet… the most popular bands continued to be male. By a large proportion. And to this date, no single female band has toured a substantial portion of America by itself (to my recollection), with the possible exception of the Accio Bodyguard Tour consisting of Lauren of the Moaning Myrtles and Lena of the Butterbeer Experience, which happened precisely once. There’ve been a couple other group tours with mostly all female bands, but those are smaller bands and the tours for the most part scraped by. In general, male bands are just more popular than female bands, and many of these bands are not from wrock’s beginnings, like Oliver Boyd or MoM.

Now, there are a lot of possible reasons for this – the fan base is mostly female, and possibly mostly straight though I honestly don’t know, so they like main acts with attractive males. Males in the wizard rock fandom are, for whatever reason, more statistically likely to have had prior music experience or success in making music professionally, due somewhat to the law of averages and that the average female wrock fan is (or was, in the heyday) a 17-year old who may have picked up a guitar a couple times. Males in the wrock fandom just possess more raw talent than females.

Obviously, the above possible reasons range from “imprecise and slightly offensive” to “wildly inaccurate and offensive”. But I suspect that small pieces of each of them (except probably that last one), plus a healthy dose of SOCIETY contributed to what became the base state of gender in wizard rock. Does the above list of facts paint a portrait of sexism? I’m not sure, I’m not a gender studies major. And every community is a microcosm in some ways of the larger society it exists in, and if the society at large is sexist (which I’m just going to go ahead and say it is and let’s just move on because come on people we have not solved pretty much any of our prejudice issues yet, except maybe against lefties), many smaller communities will bear some of those traits, often through no extra influence by their community – it just can be easier to tell these broad social problems in smaller groups sometimes.

There’s a tendency when this issue is brought up to conjure the image of some 16-year-old girl air-headedly going on about why she likes such and such popular male band and about how hot they are and making a face when a female band (preferably one where one of the members is dating a member of previously mentioned male band) is mentioned, or something of the like. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never actually encountered someone like this, so that kind of overtly dumb, self-perpetuating sexism does not seem to be a problem, and quite possibly never really was a problem. Sure, there are probably at least a few annoying shitheads in wizard rock, but honestly, what fandom doesn’t have annoying shitheads? There are SuperWhoLockians who are shitheads. There are anime fans who are shitheads. There are bronies who are shitheads. There are definitely Homestucks who are shitheads. There are… whatever the Steam Powered Giraffe fandom calls itself that are shitheads, I guess? I dunno they seem like pretty cool bros, I guess.

But anyway, all I’m “proving” here is that society sucks and some people are shitheads – not exactly mind-blowing territory, Mister Snob. I guess when it comes down to it, there are certainly times that it felt like there was an underlying current of sexism in the wrock community, but I can’t really think of specific, concrete examples. The biggest and most troubling example is that of the most popular wizard rock bands, like two of them are female-fronted. But correlation does not necessarily imply causation, unless you’re trying to be a dick to your Logic and Rhetoric teacher, and as previously stated, I feel that a large portion of all that is due to non-gender related reasons, and sheer luck (even though each time you flip a coin, the chances are always 50/50, it is still entirely possible to flip tails ten times in a row, especially when you’re playing the Pokemon TCG). And then you can blame a lot of stuff on momentum – after the first couple years of the wrock fandom as an actual thing, new break-ins to the front of the scene were rare.

And to be honest, none of those break-outs were by a band lacking in talent, which could also be used as some hard evidence if it had occurred. Now to be sure, there are some female-fronted bands that had talent in spades but never went anywhere, but mitigating factors such as them losing interest or subpar recording equipment is to be blamed.

I think it honestly comes down to the wrock fandom at large being less sexist, and more rather snobby about good production values. And honestly, the whole argument about wrock being sexist, smacks a bit of sexism itself, in a somewhat ironic turn of events. I mean, when you start to think about it, saying that wizard rock is sexist, because a bunch of 17-yr old girls all care more about cute boys than musical quality, is honestly, rather stereotypical and sexist.

And honestly, at this point, we’re all just a bunch of people who are still fans, banding together and buying the odd charity comp and kickstarting a couple things a year – this is not something I really feel is an issue anymore, if it ever truly was one. Still, I’d love to hear other’s opinions on the matter. Stay tuned for the final of these Bard Questions sometime in the next couple weeks – I only ever came up with three. Though if anyone had an issue they’d like me to tackle, I’d love to hear it. I guess I should probably do one about piracy at some point?

Wrock Snob, out.

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