Answering the questions of what is Girl Underground Music and why do you push out men if this is girl underground music? This conversation occurred thanks to social media and I felt needed to be clarified.
The assumption is feminism is to bash men and those who identify as men, which is against what feminism means to me. The assumption is that I will only put out women/womxn artists. Based on this assumption, if GUM shares multiple male artists, I get crucified due to the name of the site by my fellow women/womxn, which is ironic to say the least. In the time where it does seem weary owning a uterus, many who do not own one aren’t (always) to be the target of hate. Regardless of gender, your rights and beliefs should never remove the rights and beliefs of others.
Yet, that isn’t the point of this op-ed, so I’ll explain Girl Underground.
“Girl Underground Music” wasn’t conceived to just highlight women/womxn, but frankly it was more so for all of the “underdogs,” or in this case, “undercats,” in the music industry that I felt needed attention: locals/underground music.
The name also literally came from me DJ-ing in a basement, where I was underground spinnin’ underground music, a Girl in a Coma CD, and a love for the phrase “girl power” that sparked my heart in the early ’90s. I was a rather “young woman,” according to the definition, when I went into music journalism, alas, girl, but at the same time a little late. No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” also ruled my life, as it did many, and “girl” was a word I took back and gave it a different power.
Reviewing in general, I never “saw” a woman do it all, especially on the other side of music. I was in awe when the studio director was a woman. I was in awe when friends’ nieces would ask in disbelief when they heard me on the air: “this is a career for a woman?” I didn’t see this in school at the time either. I would not have known this was something I could do if I wasn’t a “personality” pulling a marketing card.
It wasn’t until I really dove into this, and after I left the radio station to follow the dream of GUM, that I found a collection that inspired me on a daily, such as Grimy Goods, Suzy Exposito, Kim Kelly, and Jenn Pelly, who I wish I would’ve been exposed to in school or before I started GUM. Regardless of me discovering women/womxn later on the editorial side of music, that was the issue, it still wasn’t shown.
The name was a wonderful accident and showed who was doing the work, in terms of “gender,” but I left it at that. If I was hidden, would my work be truly valued without a face? No gimmick, just cats, and a high dosage of anxiety. For a long time, not even a last name. No one could judge based on my appearance, name, accent — nothing — just how I wrote and that I was a girl.
Girl Underground Music then became what anyone wanted; what was a reflection of themselves.
Many women/womxn, and non-binary musicians came to GUM because they felt comfortable. That is such a wonderful aspect to see without advertising and just letting the work and community portray this notion. All genders and backgrounds came as a submission because there was comfort. Never advertised a gender, only pushed out “serving cats and locals everywhere.”
Soon, women writers and photographers came to me because they felt a space was created. And it was; within themselves. There was an experience here to be taught and confidence to move on to the next step. First time artists came to GUM for a start as well, and musicians who weren’t “sociable” as their peers were, sought help navigating the industry’s rules. Yes, I do have rules that are nice to go by, and pet peeves when submitting music, but I will not rip you to shreds if you forget something. Being another dick in this industry doesn’t help either.
In the end, I wanted to see a badass woman writer who did it all. I wanted a badass woman writer who wasn’t pushed down for not writing one-liners. I wanted a badass woman writer who was feminine and masculine. I wanted a badass woman writer who put on shows and helped with events. I wanted a badass woman writer who did editing and website work. I wanted a badass woman writer who did promotions and booking. I wanted a badass woman writer who worked multiple jobs, freelanced, went to shows, shared what she thought was good regardless of appearance and not paid to share. I wanted a badass woman writer that showcased success wasn’t just on the front-lines.
This was my own reflection and I created what I wanted: Girl Underground.
The community built Girl Underground Music.
Music is subjective and if it is good, it will be shared regardless of “gender.” Just don’t be a dick.