Fan Landers: "Helpful" Yet Sexist Fans; When To Hire A Manager

Categories: Fan Landers

Are you a musician? Is your band having issues? Our new advice columnist, who we're going to call Fan Landers (a.k.a. Jessica Hopper), is ready to give you Real Talk about any problems your musical outfit might be having—whether professional, practical, or sartorial. Send your problems to sotc at villagevoice dot com; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Thought you might have a fresh take on this: I am the only woman in my band and when I get off stage fans normally compliment my band mates about how they played and then turn and tell me how great I looked. They sometimes seem shocked that I am not delighted by the praise. Do you have a witty comeback? How do I deal with this? I am a guitarist. It's not like I am the tambourine player or something.


Dear O.,

The real temptation is to scream up in their face "FUCK YOU AND THE PATRIARCHY YOU RODE IN ON, BUDDY!," isn't it. Many people (I think we can say men in particular) do not realize that telling you that you looked hot, pretty, cute, or fuckable up on stage is not the highest form of compliment. They have been raised in a culture where they've been told their entire lives that there is a high value to attracting their attention, to drawing their male gaze. Why would they know any different when that is what their believe to be a kind of social currency? They do not realize that it can make women feel like they are not being taken seriously, that their art or musical skill is not appreciated—or at least not as much as their ass, tits or face. It may have never crossed their mind that this "compliment" feels like a insult, or at least a painful reminder at best. I remember this happening a few times back when I was in a touring band; sometimes I felt so stunned I could just sort of blankly stare, and sometimes I just walked away flustered and frustrated. Any gal has the right and permission to react however you want, including telling the dude to fuck right off if you are so inclined. Other tactics might be more effective in potentially flipping their mind-script "What, you don't think [insert male band member] is hot, too?"—this is good if you can put them on the spot with another band member right there. You can also ask them "Why are you complimenting my looks and their playing?" point-blank. It's not your job as a woman, or a feminist if you consider yourself one, to explain to people why and how they are offending you with their sexism—to fix the situation. Sometimes the best way for people to understand their BS behavior is to have to bear the brunt of the consequences of it—and if that consequence is having the guitarist of their favorite band roll her eyes to the heavens and stomp away, so be it.

In solidarity,


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