June 18, 2016
How old are you?
And where are you from originally?
How long have you been in NO?
Almost two years.
What brought you here?
The music industry studies program at Loyola.
Are you working on anything right now?
I’m interning with Live Nation in marketing and I’m getting to direct grassroots campaigns for how releases. I’m also the music branch representative for the Google Community Leaders program. I partner with local non-profits and teach classes to musicians and other artists. This summer I’m really interested in teaching music publishing and copyright literacy. But I’m also playing music.
Do you remember being taught or told anything growing up regarding the behavioral expectations of being girl?
My grandma always said, “Elizabeth, act like a lady. Be lady-like, be lady-like.” All the time. She had my mom go to finishing school. There was quite the dichotomy between the expectations of female behavior and male behavior in our household which was annoying because I grew up with all boys. The boys always got to do things that I didn’t get to do and that was really frustrating. I finally got to a point where I thought, “I think I can do this, too. I think I can get away with it,” and I think that rebellion as a child helped.
Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?
Sexism to me is behavior that perpetuates the subordination of women and the oppression of the gender. Women and men can participate in sexism and perpetuate it and I think that we need to be really careful about how we view people and what we allow ourselves to do without thinking about it. A lot of what we understand about gender roles is pre-analytical. We learned it at a very young age and we learned it from our primary sources of education. We have to dig back and figure out where our morals and ideals and perspectives came from and how to rewire that.
How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?
It makes me frustrated and pissed off because it’s usually because the person is not even aware that they’re doing it. I have to take a moment because I would prefer to respond in an aggressive way. And I have. It’s demeaning and it makes me realize that it’s not going to go away. You can get mad every single time it happens or you could just realize that it’s never really going to go away. That’s more of a constructive reaction although it’s pessimistic.
Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?
Honestly, I don’t always notice. There’s sort of two sides to each behavior and intention. I think that you can’t always understand people’s intentions. I feel more educated about the subject now but I’m still trying to be more aware of it. In New Orleans, all these barriers dissolve a little bit and are a little less distinct. I love that about it here. It’s always made me feel like I could be more natural or be more self-accepting. New Orleans is more accepting and open-minded and relaxed and liberal.
Are there any particular stereotypes of men or women that drive you insane?
It really frustrates me when people are striving for social gratification or positive reinforcement through sexual behavior because I don’t think that people deserve to be seen as hyper sexualized beings. The feminine and masculine attachment to sexualized behavior is detrimental. The heterosexual hyper sexualized men that I’ve been around constantly view women through this sexual window and they can’t see their relationships with women on a platonic level. I’ll look through a catalogue and there’s women literally in the fetal position and women who are posed to look younger and are posed to look like they are weaker. Sexual instincts are very strong and they’re very deep-rooted in our subconscious. She’s this beautiful model but she’s posing in a certain way that makes my subconscious is interpreting her pose as weaker. She’s appearing younger and that means she’s more attractive because she’s more easy to dominate. That’s frightening.
Can you recall any specific occasion when you experienced sexist behavior against you that may have stood out?
I worked at this restaurant and it was terrible. My boss would tell me “Sexism does not exist,” and call me a heffer and it was terrible. He would say “I’m going to make as many sexist jokes to you as possible,” because he thought it was a joke. He thought it was something he could play around with. It sucked because he was a white male and tall and an attorney and will probably never have to deal with feeling oppressed. When you experience sexism from someone who is as privileged in the social construct as that, there’s no way of defending yourself because it’s a bigger issue than that.
We should see conflict as opportunities to learn. You need to learn why someone thinks differently from you rather than disagreeing. That is such an ignorant shortcut in a conversation. Be more accepting of other people and their backgrounds and how you can learn about their perspective.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think statistics that show how many women are actually in the music industry right now are very scary but the gap is slowly closing. I’m excited to be a woman in the music industry. I’m lucky to be working for one right and I’m lucky to be talking to one right now and this is awesome and I’m so happy you’re doing this.