Canadian Musician - March/April 2023 | Page 46

I was dealing with when I was younger , because I was a woman in a position of authority , being a director and being a producer , one of my biggest issues was being taken seriously . I don ’ t know if that was as much because of being a woman as it was being a young person that was working under people that were older or above people that were older than me , but I think this is something that I think is going to shift as our society shifts , because right now I think many women are facing this in other industries too . That balance of ‘ am I taking care of the family , and can I have a career ?’
I find a lot of my friends in many different industries are dealing with this issue , but I also think there is something that is occurring towards artists or actors or just creative people as they age that unfortunately , they ’ re not given as many opportunities , and I think that ’ s one of the greatest hindrances that creative people are facing right now as they age and that ’ s a very real thing . We see it in Hollywood , and we see it in the music industry as well — there is a greater value put on younger people .
There were a lot of people who would get out of their post-secondary education programs and say , ‘ Yeah , this is great , and I want to do it for a bit but it ’ s not gonna be long-term because I don ’ t see any other women or any other diverse women in those higher level positions .’ It really starts getting a lot about , let ’ s not just look at change now , but let ’ s look at change in the long term .
There was a comment in the chat here about ageism . And I think that that ’ s something really that ’ s come into play with women more than men that there aren ’ t a lot of unicorns in the industry who are doing it long term . I know for sure I ’ ve gone . ‘ Okay , well , I love what I do . Can I keep doing music forever ?’ And I ’ m not sure why that question comes across . But I think that we need to diversify what we have in the industry , and we need to bring up the new women and gender-diverse folks into our space . We need to create space . So , thoughts on ageism , and how this leads into just another thing that that gender-diverse folks have to deal with ?
Rowe : Long term , I think we also have to deal with the
ER reality of children and women having such a large responsibility . And so specifically to a job like being a producer , and all of the hours that you ’ re in the studio , if you have a family , then you might not be able to sustain that . And you might come out of that and go into something else that might not be as time intensive . So , I just wanted to understand what are we specifically talking about when we talk about ageism ?
Kourkoutis : I ’ ve seen a lot of overflow from just cultural norms and expectations that are projected on women within our industry and I think with ageism , there are issues that women face as they get older that are very real that our culture imposes on us . I also think ageism works the other way ; a lot of what
Stewart : I was part of a Women in Jazz conference a couple of weeks ago and this definitely came up . In the jazz world , as with all areas , there are very similar stats of the number of women especially once they start having children families , etc . I think to your point Hill , ageism really is on both sides , the young and the older age group . When you meet someone new you think a lot of things . You might think , ‘ Oh , I wonder what they do for a job ,’ or ‘ I like their hair ,’ or whatever . You think of a lot of things . But for some reason , I think a lot more people put age into those questions with women than with men . I ’ ve seen a lot of older men seen as trailblazers and heroes for doing it so long , whereas I ’ ve worked closely with women who ’ ve gone into meetings and been flat out told ‘ You ’ re too old to do this .’
There ’ s a lot of ways to bring in that younger fold and that younger audience without pushing out the others . It ’ s about making space for people who are pushing these things forward , and then making space for others coming up , because this is a pipeline and a cyclical thing that we need to build equity as an ongoing , sustainable thing .
Kourkoutis : A lot of the grants that go out are supporting people that are emerging artists , and so , we ’ re kind of
closing off the pool of artists and diversity that can exist . And we ’ re kind of putting out the message that if you ’ re over 30 , if you ’ re in your 40s , you can ’ t possibly have anything to contribute to our industry , which is BS . So , I think that this is also something that we all perpetuate , subconsciously . And this is a cultural issue , because our culture doesn ’ t value women — other people might be seen as trailblazers and wise people , but for some weird reason , when it comes to women being in that stage in their life , they ’ re not treated equally as well .
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Manus Hopkins is the Assistant Editor of Canadian Musician . He can be reached at mhopkins @ nwcworld . com .