Gender, Music, Inequalities (Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies)

Deadline: 01/04/2018

Issues of gender in popular music have often made international headlines over the past few years. From pop stars as Beyoncé and Taylor Swift ‘coming out’ as feminists to Spotify’s ‘The Equalizer Project’, from bands calling out audience members for sexual harassment to women artists sharing experiences of everyday sexism, such as unsolicited male advice or being evaluated on appearance. In the Netherlands, online newspaper De Correspondent published a series of articles addressing the underrepresentation of women in terms of radio-airtime and performing at music festivals. Studio Brussel found similar results in Belgium. Music industry conference Eurosonic-Noorderslag hosted a panel ‘Dutch Women in Music: van Popronde tot Ziggo Dome’, in which issues such as the lack of women role models, parental leave, stereotypes and gender music education were discussed.

Building on the seminal work of Frith and McRobbie (1990), research on gender inequality in music has a long tradition of studying these issues. First, outstanding work has been done on the position of women from the perspective of particular music genres, such as rock (Bayton, 1998; Schippers, 2002), metal (Berkers & Schaap, 2018; Hill, 2017), punk (Leblanc, 1999; Reddington, 2000), electronic dance music (Attias, Gavanas & Rietveld, 2013). Yet, most of these studies focus on the United States or the United Kingdom. Therefore, this special issue aims to address to what extent, how and why gender plays a different role in the production, distribution and consumption of music in Belgium and the Netherlands?

Second, excellent academic work has been done on gender and pop music focusing on particular sociological mechanisms and drawing on various traditions in gender studies, such as gender typing of instruments (Wych, 2012), conceptions of femininity and masculinity in music genres (Cohen, 1991), horizontal and vertical sex segregation in music (Berkers et al. 2016; Clawson, 1999), the ways men and women do gender in music (Krenske & McKay, 2000; Wallis, 2011), evaluations of gender performances by the media and industry professionals (Leonard, 2007; Johnson-Grau, 2002), gendered canon formation (Schmutz & Faupel, 2010; Strong, 2011). Yet, several issues have remained understudied, which we aim to address in this special issue:

  •  Women working in the music industry. Whereas most studies focus on the position of women on stage, less research has been devoted to women off-stage: engineers, songwriters, A&R managers, programmers etc. If, and how, do their backstage experiences differ from music performers?
  • Sexual harassment. Within arts and culture, the movie sector has received most attention regarding harassment and abuse of power. However, while bands have called about members of the audience regarding harassment, how ‘unsafe’ are live concerts for female attendees? And how are power relations in music – between artists and fans, label owners and artists – navigated?
  • Gender and technology. New technologies not only make it easier and cheaper to produce music, they may also allow to circumvent gender boundaries, for example masculine band cultures? Moreover, online platforms as YouTube might offer relatively safe spaces to perform gender differently? Finally, how have algorithms affected the gendered nature of music tastes?
  • Pop music education. Pop music has increasingly developed into a profession, which can be studied at several higher and intermediate vocational training programs – pop, rock and even metal academies. Yet, we know little about the role of gender in these programs in terms of student recruitment, teaching staff, and course materials.
  • Careers. Talent development has been a focal point of national and local cultural policies. What boundaries do women vis-à-vis men run into in terms of professionalization and skill development? 
  • Intersections of gender and race/ethnicity in pop music. While plenty of studies demonstrate gender inequality in music production, distribution and reception, less is known about the intersections with race/ethnicity, particularly in the Dutch and/or Belgian context. For example, how are women of colour discussed in music media?

The guest editors of this special issue would love to welcome article abstracts of scholars addressing these issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including – but not limited to – sociology, gender studies, economics, cultural studies, political science etc. We are excited to showcase research using various (empirical) methods including historical, ethnographic or social science approaches. All abstracts should have a strong focus on the Netherlands or Belgium but may include a comparative element. Contributions should be written in English or in Dutch. 3

Deadlines and publication timeline: 

  • Send your abstracts (700 words) before April 1, 2018
  • Notification of invitation for full article before April 15, 2018
  • Deadline first version articles (max. 6000 words incl. references and bibliography): October 1, 2018
  • Reviews from external reviewers due: December 1, 2018
  • Deadline final version (max. 6000 words): January 15, 2019
  • Publication special issue: April 2019

Abstracts and papers should be submitted to Research articles are subjected to a double-blind peer review process. Articles are to be submitted in either English or Dutch. The Dutch Journal of Gender Studies (Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies) is published by Amsterdam University Press:

Author Guidelines in English: Author Guidelines in Dutch:

For questions or more information, contact (one of) the guest editors:
Pauwke Berkers
Josephine Hoegaerts
Inger Plaisier i.plaisier@SCP.NL

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