How not to interact with female musicians

Categories: Music News

Editor: Robin Edwards is a frequent Westword contributor who has played in several Denver bands. Her solo project is called Lisa Prank.

Sometimes I wonder what it was like before bands had Internet presences. Did creepy dudes just send their vaguely threatening messages to female musicians through the mail with locks of their hair? I've been thinking that might not have been out of the question ever since I received a Facebook message from a guy who went to one of my band's shows. He asked if he could be my stalker and added a goofy emoticon and a few "jk"s. I assume that was a way to hedge so that when I responded, he could pull the old, "I was joking! Don't be crazy!" card. Unfortunately, violence against women, which can certainly start with stalking, is a very real concern in our society, so it's not something you should joke about, especially with a complete stranger over the Internet.

I thought that threatening someone's personal safety was a commonsense no-no, but apparently that's not the case. So here's a handy guide with ways not to interact with female musicians. This is good advice for dealing with any human beings, actually, but it seems that these things happen at an alarmingly high rate to those of us who have the audacity to get on stage with instruments but no penis.

And no, your good intent does not give you a pass. Just because you're a self-proclaimed feminist, you have a Kathleen Hanna tattoo or you were "just joking" does not mean that your actions don't have harmful consequences. Prove you are a good guy by accepting criticism, apologizing and stepping back if you've said something offensive or creepy.

Don't assume she's a roadie/girlfriend/groupie
If a woman is carrying a heavy-ass amp inside a venue, don't immediately assume she's there as support for the band. Use this assumption-less attitude in informing your interaction with her; don't immediately tell her she's not allowed backstage.

Don't offer music lessons
This has happened to a surprising number of women I know. Here's how it usually goes: A dude comes up after a performance and says, "You know, I could give you [insert instrument here] lessons if you want."

In the words of Stephanie Tanner: How rude. Also in this category is giving pointers or advice on how your guitar should sound, as well as offering suggestions for improvement. If you want to help out, buy some merch.

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I play in several bands here. They all have women players. Some of these ladies can play me under the table. :) It's long past time for the haters and condescenders to shut up and listen and realize that the only thing that matters is how they play.

Adam Aedro Drotar
Adam Aedro Drotar

So Westword is jumping on the sjw, victim crying, feminazi journalist bandwagon. Can't say im surprised.


Your best bet, of course, is to not interact with female musicians at all.  Ever.  What were you thinking!?

fishingblues topcommenter

Just be sweet, she's just a strumpet with a trumpet. 

Can I diddle your fiddle?

My face in your bass.  

Will you toot on my flute?

My sax, your cracks.

Let's luba your tuba.

And the ever popular --- will you play on my organ?

Kitty Vincent
Kitty Vincent

Yep, these have all happened to me more than once and then some. But on the bright side, I'll say it's a lot less frequent than it was 14 years ago when i started playing in bands.


I like the sweater on the girl on the left....


How sad is it that we constantly have to be reminded there are two sexes, with sex being the operative word. Keep feeling guilty and oppressed folks. 


Wow, how sad is it we keep having to have the conversation that women should be treated like people...


Apparently not in the same way or to the same extent that women musicians do. And it's a shame that anyone thinks he can joke about stalking!

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