Late last year when we published the blog that tallied the male vs female performers at Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest, a lot of people wanted to know how FFF compares to other festivals. I was curious as well, but a bit daunted by the thought of doing the research for SXSW or ACL (keeping it local, for now). Somehow, I thought, we should do a random sampling. Turns out Austin360 did it for us, providing a photo gallery of SXSW 2010: Notable Artists. Obviously, this isn't totally random. Someone selected the pictures, which include press photos, live shots from Austin American Statesman archives, and others pilfered from MySpace. I don’t know what criteria the editor used to select the photos. Maybe they were selected based on the quality of the photographs or the musical tastes of the editor. It is possible that there weren’t a lot of photos of women to choose from. It is also possible, but unlikely (we hope!), that the editor intentionally focused on music made by men. I simply have no idea. But here’s what I do know.
Out of 68 photos, a woman (Sharon Jones) doesn't appear until the 11th picture. There are 155 men in these pictures and 15 women, representing less than 10 percent (by comparison, FFF was 8% women). Once again, Girls Rock Austin wants to know: What does this say about the state of women in music? About the booking policies of SXSW? About the need for Girls Rock Camp?
Our goal is to start a dialog. We think that unless this stuff is talked about, it'll never change. And we know that one way to make it change, at least for future generations, is to support Girls Rock Austin and other programs throughout the country that empower girls through music education and performance. Get involved, talk to people, be conscientious when booking shows, start a band, be a badass! If we can, you can!