Happy International Women's Day!
My wish for every woman including our trans sisters is safety and freedom to fully become herself and embrace the creative, powerful wild little girl within - on this day and every day.
So often, we are made to feel unsafe in this world. By crimes as severe as rape and murder and by the subtle and not-so-subtle indignities of sexual harassment, and criticism for being female, for looking "sexy," or for how we do things.
When I started playing guitar in punk rock bands, I refused to cut my hair like a boy or dress like a boy. I loved punk style (and my Doc Martens!) but I also wanted to present as conventionally "female" to show visually that women could play guitar as hard and fast as men.
After my first show at CBGB, someone asked our bass player "Who's the slut in the band?"
I got punched and shoved at shows for keeping my hair long and wearing skirts. Today, the attacks are more subtle, but include most recently a male guitarist commenting at length that I don't use my pinky when I play - insinuating that I'm not a "real" guitarist. In fact, I do use my pinky, particularly when I play slide, and legendary male guitarists - Eric Clapton, Warren Haynes, SRV, Hendrix - rarely use their pinkies - but he was more interested in negging me and getting my attention than he was in truth.
It includes two male would-be managers who could not stop making suggestive comments or sending me sexual "jokes" even after I asked them to cease and desist. They've been canned.
Ladies, shut that shit down when it happens. You do not need to put up with it to achieve your goals. Trust that a better option will come along as soon as you kick the clown to the curb.
Make no mistake, this kind of behavior is designed to prevent us from reaching our full potential and being truly competitive. And so often it works because the men doing it hold the keys to our success and they know it.
It's time to take their keys away. And claim our full power.
Finally, I want to give the warmest of shoutouts to our true brothers. Those men who DO support us, teach us, help us, promote and cheer us - without being smarmy. These men include my wonderful band members, the many men over the years who have taken the time to teach me their favorite guitar scales and tricks, and my brother, father and nephew. To them, I say, thank you and we love you!!