Objectification and Branding of Women in the Guitar World

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by narad, May 17, 2018.

  1. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    No, I'm trying to make the point that there *could be* a problem, because in the end the community has this extremely skewed gender ratio. So it already has the outcome you would expect IF there is a problem. So when trying to think of why this outcome exists, it is worth considering if a particularly high concentration of dark-age men making decisions and behaving in ways that would be unacceptable if we were all trying to make this a cohabitable workspace. It is funny that I have to qualify this statement so much, that the purpose of this thread is to be exploratory.

    Your example is like, "Global warming doesn't exist...Alaska, Sweden, Antarctica, Quebec -- see, all of these places are actually quite cold in winter. What's the deal?" and my example is like, "It's really fucking hot in here -- is this normal? Are we to blame for this?"

    "Feeling left out? Well, shut up and get over it, 'cause Orianthi exists."

    Funny you should even mention Sarah Longfield, because I remember some threads on this very forum ) where she was the main topic, and it were a bunch of guys in there saying she's only famous because she's a girl. And this is on SSO, which is presumably more progressive than TGP and enough to look like an LGBT parade in comparison to rig-talk, where you can hear the n-word in a discussion about troubleshooting your preamp tubes.
     
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  2. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Yea, that's a good point. I have trouble really finding clear thoughts and rationale for my gut instincts in this sort of topic, but the HR thing is sort of what I feel. I bet if any of these guys went through a decade of HR training, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Sometimes that stuff is a bit overbearing, but it exists in the workplace for a reason...I feel like we can't act like there's not even a single lesson to take from it.
     
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  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Well, that's the flip side of the coin of codifying whatever we deem unacceptable. Some things will be deemed "Wrong" and other things not, and perhaps some people would be upset by certain things not being deemed "wrong," but then the entire community/society having officially decided might be strong evidence to those people that their reactions to some things may be disproportionate to the nature of the offending action itself.
     
  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't know that I'd be in support of such a strong system to try to decide what's "acceptable" or not. Realistically, I don't think it would stick anyway. You would need something resembling consensus, which won't happen, or something to serve as an authority on the matter, which also won't happen. And people would ignore it regardless.

    Realistically, I have doubts about the need for such an action, since people's values are shifting enough anyway. The fact that we're having this discussion I think is evidence of that. I mean, there's not a whole ton of examples anymore of women being used as marketing tools anymore (not like it used to be), and it's difficult to find the remaining examples all that objectionable. What's left over ends up falling into niches and "vote with your wallet" scenarios. IMO amps with women on them have their place, same as albums with ridiculous gore, and that horrible guitar shaped like a d*ck, and what have you. That place is no longer front and center, which I think is what we want, but I'd be very hesitant of sending any message of "you can't" or "you shouldn't" to someone who is filling that niche.
     
  5. lurè

    lurè Thy Art Is Mambo

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    Absolutely. The impact can go from offensive to exciting and all the intermediate shades depending on the person and his/her common sense, but admitting that this case is "wrong" or a "potential problem" per se, is a bit of an exaggeration.

    So if the guitar community isn't 50:50 male/female is because of years of machism of the guitar player figure?
    If you're referring to a larger point of view, well that's another story.
     
  6. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    First, the guitar community isn't "not 50:50", like we're balancing a pole and it's just slightly off calibration.

    "What is it today, Bob?
    "Uhh, 47:53"
    "Not bad, reduce testosterone by 1.2mms and let's check it tomorrow"

    It's not subtle -- it's incredibly lop-sided. That should raise some eyebrows. As I said in the immediately previous post, I don't know why that is, but it might be worth trying to figure it out, and whether it's due to the behavior of men in the community (and I'll broaden that behavior to include the decision to market things in ways that objectify women).
     
  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Again, to reiterate and be clear, nobody was making that claim. This particular example was just a jumping off point for the conversation.

    I don't think there was ever a question that it's at least a factor.
     
  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    This thread brings to mind the differences in attitudes and overall content of some TalkBass threads. They have a very active (100+ page) thread titled The "I Back a Hot Singer Babe" Club, much like we have "I own a Jackson!" club threads. I don't imagine a similar thread would fly here.
     
  9. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Age is a big driver of that.
     
  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't doubt it. I guess that's part of what I mean by how values are sort of shifting on their own. An older crowd seemingly has no interest/concern in this kind of conversation, but at the same time, you can see in some of their posts that not everyone there is 100% onboard with it either.
     
  11. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Having difficult conversations and holding people accountable speeds up progress exponentially.

    Very, very few people do socially questionable things just because they're assholes. They've just never considered what they're doing might be kind of shitty to others.
     
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  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    The current climate, with some men facing career ruin as a result of allegations, which, in some cases, can be very grey in morality, NEEDS to be defined. I understand the unwillingness to but hard brackets around behaviours like this, but if people want there to be dire consequences for people who offend this unwritten code, then the code needs to be written and standardized. Most sexual harassment laws are written in the form "sexual harassment will not be tolerated." There are no clear definitions of this, so people are using a wide variety of interpretations, and I find that inconsistency to be unacceptable. Even people who say something that many wouldn't even consider sexual nor harassment are being ruined because of sexual harassment. Codifying the system would not only offer protection to the victims, but of the accused as well, as there would be a standard to check against, so that the Harvey Weinsteins of the world could be stopped after one offense instead of after hundreds, and the Garrison Keillors of the world can maybe not have their legacies destroyed by a pat on the back.
     
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  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I didn't think you were taking it quite that far, but I see what you're saying. Maybe I've illustrated your point, in that I hadn't considered anything in this thread to fall under the category of harassment, by any stretch of the word. In my mind those were entirely disconnected conversations (and mostly still are). It's still tricky though. How do you define what sort of depiction of a woman (or anyone) counts as harassment? You can't say "it's art, so it's not harassment". You can't say "it's sexualized so it IS harassment". Where can you draw the line in a place that works for the majority of cases? Would you call pinup art harassment? The problem is context, and you can't really codify context in this way. You can say "don't harass!" but that's so vague as to almost be meaningless.
     
  14. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I find there's two important considerations salient in my thoughts:

    (1) is the role/depiction of an attribute harmful, via either a historical or commonsense judgement.

    (2) is the attribute a minority one.

    For whatever reason I find it weird that the logic applies so clearly to race and not to gender. Do we know what kinds of images on an amp would be insulting to a racial minority and would not pass the "it's art" test? Sure, I think. Often, it's imagery that plays upon the struggles of what minorities go through.

    Now imagine to yourself, an intelligent woman. Someone who worked really hard and studied a ton, maybe went to grad school. Wound up in a successful position. What comes to mind? How far off is it from the "smart belle" logo woman, and does that make you feel any differently about whether that is art or an unfavorable portrayal?
     
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  15. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Definitely not the image on that amp, but I don't think anyone would have thought otherwise. :lol:

    Historical, maybe. Common sense is again, too vague to draw the line anywhere useful IMO. What's common sense to one is not common sense to another.

    Edit: And I realize that makes "common" in that context a bit of a misnomer. What we call common sense is sometimes not very common at all.
     
  16. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Yea, it's not law, but telling someone they're "dressed slutty" is not really a grey area. That's what I mean by common sense. I'm sure there are depictions that are more Yanny/Laurel.
     
  17. lurè

    lurè Thy Art Is Mambo

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    Drawing those line is kinda risky: there's the chance that people will consider everything as a form of harassment or aggression, nullifying the role of common sense.

    We could consider aggression, harassment and microaggression as conteiners to put things or behaviours potentially problematic for some people. Even so I think would be considered as a form of microaggression, since you're denigrating the intellectual ability of a certain person to overcome an insult with his common sense (dunno if it does make sense at all :lol:).

    I guess the education given plays the most important role.
     
  18. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Yeh this, I guess. I suppose the problem is that if you draw a very defined line, people are going to very clearly land on either side of that line. You'll get polarization. You'll get people on one side clamoring about how everything is a microaggression and shouldn't be tolerated, and people on the other side feeling like their freedom of expression is under attack. Drawing the line vaguely (as in calling it "use common sense", or "just don't be a d*ck), maybe covers a lot of territory, keeps people from instantly polarizing, but also doesn't do as good a job serving as a guide.

    So.... I have no real suggestion. :shrug:
     
  19. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    You can always ask some representative people before making a questionable decision.
     
  20. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Interesting post.

    I think the depiction of any arbitrary attribute could be considered harmful by someone under some circumstances, so I don't think that can really be a gauge used at all. Historical judgements are even more dangerous, as many things throughout history were accepted at the time and are not really what we want society to accept now. Common sense, as @TedEH pointed out, isn't really all too common.

    Women are actually not a minority.

    If the amp had a big sticker of Hottentot Venus on it, then it'd be notably more tonedeaf, but why? I think it comes down to perception. At least with the white girl in glasses wearing a tight skirt and posed seductively, these guys can say that they chose the image because they admire such women, or whatever. With other images, they might seem disingenuous.

    If I was a woman, who knows what I'd look like?! I think that's a part of this discussion for me - who's really to say, among this group of 99% dudes, what's offensive or tasteless for women?

    This little discussion about a logo on an amp ties in close to the big discussion going on all over the USA now, as well as other parts of the world, about how women are treated and how they should be treated in professional roles in society. The current system is messed up, and I think most people under the age of 60 agree with that sentiment. Whether you are an actress or a waitress or an IT helpline operator, you shouldn't have to put up with the level of crap that we are now all very publicly aware is usual. In some way, I feel that old men putting this image on their amplifiers in order to market them to other old men at a time like this is a symptom of the whole mindset whence all of this bigger discussion stems.

    That's not to say that if you stopped putting pin-up girl posters up everywhere that sexual harassment would stop, nor vice-versa, but rather that both are effects of the same cause, at least in this context.

    If the amp had Rosie the Rivetter on it instead, we'd be having a totally different discussion.

    I feel like we're already there. Last year, a guy was fired from public radio after a woman made allegations of sexual harassment. The only public example given at the time was that he patted her on the back. It was said that there were other instances of vague things happening as well, but no details were given publicly, to date (more than six months have passed). This guy, who had made his career and livelihood in public radio and in press was fired without any ado. It gave me a strong impression that anyone, at any time, could get anyone else fired, simply by accusing that other person of sexual harassment. Now, whether this radio personality actually did anything still is up in the air, but that's the entire point I'm making - that no specific thing was ever really alleged, and the guy was crucified anyway. If someone did something awful to me, maybe I wouldn't want to tell the whole world what happened, but it total weaksauce to just say that "something bad happened" and then expect the alleged offender to lose his job and be blacklisted from getting another job, like ever, if I were to make such allegations.

    Also, if you want to make it a hard line of no touching people and make it so that patting a person on the back is totally deserving of crucifixion, then, well, ok, at least print that out on the memo and pass it around.

    People who don't mean others any harm are typically pretty good at following the rules when they are made clear. People who don't give a shit about hurting other people don't give a shit about the rules, either, but if the rules are clearly communicated to everybody, you can usually get to telling which type of person someone is once they are caught breaking the rules. If we never define what the rules are, and instead say something like "sexual harassment is harassing someone with a sexual intent," then define "harassing" as "the act of harassment," we've just made the world's vaguest rule from which exactly 0% of people will benefit. Well, have you looked at how most workplaces define sexual harassment? Some are no less vague than what I just posted as an example.
     
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