Maya Ramos

Keyboardist, Educator

June 23, 2016


How old are you?

I’m 21.

Where are you from originally?

I’m from Los Angeles.

What brought you here?

I’m getting my Bachelor of Music in classical piano performance at Loyola.

Why are you still here?

Because I’m in love with the music and the people.

Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?

Sexism is a barrier that keeps people from seeing me as I am and hearing my music as it is.

How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?

Most of the time it makes me feel sad for the person. I’m able to recognize it as it is and depending on the day it might get me down. But when it does get me down it feels like I am the one being the sexist. It’s like I am agreeing with them when I get sad about it but when I’m out of that mindset, I can recognize it as being wrong. I’m in a band with six guys and I love them so much and they love me and I feel so much support, more support than things that have brought me down.

Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?

Most of the time, yes. I’m pretty sensitive in terms of social cues and am able to pick up on them really quickly.

Do you respond differently to subtle sexism versus blatant sexism?

Blatant sexism is something that someone says that is an insult  simply because you’re a woman. That’s almost better than subtle sexism because I see it and have the opportunity to immediately react and get over it. It’s not hidden in any way. But I feel like subtle sexism happens all the time in females and males. It’s just a part of how we judge people once we see them. We have certain expectations.

Are there any particular stereotypes of men or of women that drive you insane?

Because I’m a woman on stage, there is a feeling like I owe an allure or sex appeal or something besides the music and I struggle with that all the time. There’s also the belief that you’re better at music if you’re a guy. If you’re a guy, it’s expected that you’re good at music but if you’re a girl, you hear “Oh, she was actually good.” You hear that. “She’s actually good.” I hear that all the time. That drives me crazy.

Can you recall any specific occasions when you have experienced sexist behavior against you?

Most recently? I was playing at the Hi-Ho Lounge and we were about to go on stage and I realized I didn’t have my keyboard pedal on stage and figured out that the person in the band before me accidentally took it off stage when he was packing his stuff up. When I finally found him outside smoking a joint on the sidewalk and I explained what happened and I asked him to go get it, he looked at me and said “Oh honey, you’re cute,” and continued to smoke his joint. So I went inside and I went in his bag and I got it.

Fuck yes. Good for you.

I was pissed. It just made me so angry. Another one was the night before. I had brought two keyboard stands because I have a keyboard and a synth but I was hoping I could just use his and cut down on the breakdown time. This guy sees me and looked at me and then looked at [the guy putting on the show] and said “Tell her if she breaks it, she buys it,” like I’m going to break his fucking keyboard stand.

Do you ever feel like when you do address sexist behavior there’s somebody somewhere just waiting to roll their eyes?

Yes. I don’t bring it up a lot. I don’t talk about it a lot. I feel that sexism coming from a male is their form of fear and their loss.