Why We Shouldn't Use The Term 'Women In Rock'

You've probably come to this page after finding yourself a little puzzled at its title. But before you go hear me out, please. As you may know, today is International Women's Day; a time when once a year the world unites to celebrate the achievements of Women, ranging from the economic, political and social. Sounds a little patronising, don't you think?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the core meaning and purpose of it - to raise awareness of the political and social struggles of women and their human rights - and, of course, as a woman I'm all for it, but amongst all the praise and celebrations things seem to get a bit skewed, especially in the music world.

The history and written narrative of Rock music has always excluded women from it's circle, keeping them firmly on the periphery. Female musicians tend to snatch the spotlight briefly when there's a lull in the usual male-dominant Rock scene, and therefore are to exist only as a lesser, substitute form of Rock music. The term 'Women In Rock' is often banded about the blogger-sphere, which is fine on the surface, and I can admit to using the phrase myself, but when you really think about it, 'Women In Rock' is implying a separation and detachment from males and Rock music in general.

The problem with 'Women In Rock' is that over the years, it has evolved into a genre that is solely focused on gender. Why should it be treated any differently to a male musician or band? But still, even in today's society when a new female musician emerges, they're put on a pedestal simply because she's a woman. Recent newcomers into the mainstream music industry such as Anna Calvi have repeatedly cited the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Bo Diddley and Lou Reed as some of their biggest influences, yet are still only compared to or tipped against other female artists.

Please don't think that I'm not a fan of female musicians or the idea of celebrating them, but why specifically for one day of the year, and why extract them from the larger, wider world of Rock music? The music and the music only is what we should be celebrating. Here are a few of my favourite songs at the moment, stirring up all kinds of debates on this exact subject.