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Female sound engineers

Date: Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scarier.wordpress.com
Working in a drama school as a sound technician at the moment, I found that link about music producers particularly intriguing. I was especially interested by the statement in the article that "the problem seems to be restricted to rock and pop. In the theatre, in Hollywood, in radio there are dozens of female sound engineers." It may well be that the proportions within the theatre industry are better, but they're still way off parity.

It's always bugged me how our students seem to make their choices along very gender-coded lines (Design and Stage Management are for women, Construction, Lighting, Sound and Video are for men) without, so far as I can see, any great amount of institutional sexism going on within our institution. (I'd like to think I've had my consciousness raised to a reasonable enough level that I would spot it if there were, in no small part thanks to you Jennie, so thank-you for that.) They seem to make those choices of their own volition, and I've never really understood why. Perhaps it's just that we're too late; like so much sexism, they've internalised a good deal of it by the time they get to higher education. So many of them seem to arrive convinced that they'll be hopeless at sound because it's "technical stuff" and they're "not technical people".

I think a lot of people in my office think I'm a bit pre-occupied by the gender balance of takeup between different strands of our course. But I was looking at an old yearbook the other day. Not so long ago, the balance was the opposite way round - we had years when the *majority* of sound students were female. I can't help but wonder if we're doing something wrong now that we got right before, and if so what? Aside from the sheer gender balance of the staff who teach at the institution overall, I can't see it. And that would be a strange explanation if it is, because Sound was taught by men then and it is now, so at least in a direct sense there's no obvious role-model mechanism. And I can't imagine that the men who taught sound back then were more female-friendly than the ones who do now. At least, I hope that's not it, because I'm one of the current men!

Hmm. Anyway, I'll stop rambling now.

Re: Female sound engineers

Date: Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scarier.wordpress.com
Probably agree with the first para.

On the second para, I meant more recently than that - like, five years ago we had years where sound was majority female, but in the three years I've been there there's only been one woman chose it. There's not been any great shift in pay in that time. It's not a brilliantly paid job now (not that I want to sound like I'm complaining, just saying, it's not a job you go into for the money), and it wasn't then.

Re: Female sound engineers

Date: Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scarier.wordpress.com
Indeed! I suspect it's just the random fluctuations of a small sample size, but I'm wary of that explanation, since it feels too easy.

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