Jess Hopper is the Senior Editor of Pitchfork and Editor in Chief of the site’s print quarterly called The Pitchfork Review. She flew out to Australia to talk gender equality in the music industry as one of BIGSOUND’s keynote presenters.
Throughout the keynote, Jess shared tweets highlighting instances of sexism in the industry. She had gathered the responses by calling for people to share their stories on the social media site.
Jess spoke of the enduring sexism that female members of the music industry experience, from musicians being called groupies, photographers being groped, musicians not listening to venue managers and even to the term “fangirls”.
Jess shared that when she was 15, a major unnamed indie rock producer attempted to sexually harass her while she worked at a record label, and fortunately her boss threatened the man rather than ignoring the problem.
She also shared recommendations for music industry members which included:
1. Hire female sound engineers.
2. Stop abuse or co workers being marginalised.
3. If a conference call has a female worker being talked over, ask the man to stop talking for a sec so you can hear her.
Jess also shared a story from a time where she lived in Chicago. It was a story about a mid level rap group on tour, who after their show had group sex with a girl too drunk to stand up. An employee saw that happening and went and told people, but no one did anything. A decade later and the group is still playing the venue.
I left the session feeling quite moved by her words, and there was barely a dry eye at the end of her presentation. Jess Hooper’s talk was without a doubt the best seminar I have ever seen.
I can’t help but thinking that the arts industry should be ahead of the game, yet the problem is rife.
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Jessica Hopper’s book The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic was released in May.