Why are there more male musicians than female musicians?

Welcome to the forum.
Thanks. Nobody wants to exist in a vacuum.
Ooh I just discovered this thread ;)
Hi themandaland, it's a pity to see you so desillusioned and cynical.

When I joined the local samba percussion band I discovered it's a 90% female thing in France. Same for the other percussion bands we met with and played with. All these women loved to play and perform and their playing varied from pretty poor to awfully good just like the few guys that were there.
Now in Brazil it's the other way around, it's 90% men. Why is that? Some may argue samba schools in Brazil are terrribly competitive, the ones who get to play at the Rio carnaval are the very best and you can only get to that level with gallons of testosterone running through your body, making you forget your wife and family and mowing the lawn and what all else would distract you from playing the enredo.

I don't know.

I think as soon as the female/male ratio in any activity goes beyond 70/30 or drops below 30/70, the sheep in us goes "OK apparently it's an opposite sex activity" and we somehow lose interest. Only the most passionate people don't.

Edit: the other observation I made was samba percussion bands in France consist of 90% extreme-left environmentalists (while I work with oil companies :) ). Now what does that have to do with samba? It's just as irrelevant as gender. It's people hanging out with similar people.
i can only speak to my own experience in the United States, and to the many decades of rock n roll and it’s various iterations in the United States. The one exception I can think of is the early stages of punk in the US. There were plenty of women and queer people in bands and they weren’t relegated to novelty, token status. But that sure died out quick.

Gender might be irrelevant in samba, but it isn’t in this context.

I’m not disillusioned; I’m a realist. I’m just, like any artist worth their salt, an observer of society, reporting back my findings. I wish I could put every man who can’t see it in women’s proverbial shoes. I can’t.
 
^This...

It brings a memory of a gig we played last year, where the rhythm guitarist in my band split a fingertip in the middle of the set, but kept going... He was playing a white Ibanez at the time, and by the end of the set, the ENTIRE GUITAR was spotted with blood. It was one of the most awesomely gruesome sights I've seen. I've got pics if anyone would like?
Hm. I just utilize the truss rod, for instance, and some appropriate strings so the guitar is in such a state where I can play hard for hours and hours on end if I want without the guitar eating my fingers. Maybe he just needed to build up some callouses.
 
Apparently more males desire to play music than females do. It really is that simple.



Yay collectivism. You're welcome to it, I'll keep my individual liberty and all of it's "flaws" thank you.
The thing about dreams is that it’s hard to imagine things that have never been shown to you as a possibility for your life, and it’s hard to build dreams if you’re consistently shamed out of them, and if there are so very few examples of people like you to look up to.

Would we entertain a conversation about “why aren’t there more black rock musicians”? “Black people just naturally only like rap, except Hendrix.”

We like to pretend that we are just individuals in this society, just uninfluenced and autonomous islands, but, alas, we’re part of a society, and it influences our development and our opportunities.
 
I think that Grea summed it up.
Playing musical instruments places physical demands on a person.
Not just the lugging of gear but the wear and tear on the fingers of a guitar player for example can detour people from playing the instrument.
I guess that many woman would rather have long finger nails and soft fingers :)
All of the woman that I play in bands with sing, or they play instruments like the sax and flute and the mandolin, or the acoustic guitar.
All of the women I’ve played in bands with play guitar or drums. Irrelevant.

I guess many men would rather have clean, soft fingers than plan guitar too. Irrelevant.
 
I appreciate the rest of the post, but this kind of thing is never funny in any context.

I think the higher ratio of female 'classical' musicians and male 'rock' musicians is partially self-fulfilling stereotype like Duncan suggested, possibly also some gender role reinforcement by traditional parents. Flutes, clarinets, smaller wind instruments are generally seen as more feminine (dainty) by people who choose to see objects as gender charged, while bigger or louder instruments (drums, low brass, guitars) are more masculinely viewed. There's also the thing where guys with guitars seem to think that they've unlocked a secret door to the Woman Heart by being able to play guitar.
I thought it was the funniest comment in this whole thread, personally.
It’s way more than parents enforcing gender roles on children.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
I think it has to do with the fact that women, centuries ago were only supposed to raise children and take care of the house.

Without offending anyone, I do believe that does have an impact we can see today. While many women have these ambitions, myself included, I can say that we are always discouraged of some kind from other women (not men). They tend to "leave us apart from the friend zone" because we are "weird" and we like "boy's stuff". Women can be seriously even worse against each other than men against men.
It's pretty stupid. To the other end, sometimes you always bump with a stupid comment like you shouldn't be playing drums or that if you have testicles immediately gives you the right and the talent. Some women can't handle that, some don't care, and others will give you a middle finger (like me lol).

In the aviation industry for example, they try to attract more women in the industry by giving them advantages like paid training, etc. Problem with that, still women don't show up, and it's unfair to be honest. The problem lies that people don't understand that it has to do with oneself. Either stick to society or go completely against it to reach your dreams. Most women care more about society than what men do or they just don't like it! Simple...

What I always end up saying, right now we are in the age were freedom it's as it's best for opportunities. You can literally achieve anything you want to be if you work hard, have a good strategy on your goal and have what it takes. I know many women and men that have pulled themselves out of the street or from a job they disliked and now live a very happy life. Who wants to be a musician or whatever, so be it.
 

picodon

Silver Member
Thanks. Nobody wants to exist in a vacuum.

i can only speak to my own experience in the United States, and to the many decades of rock n roll and it’s various iterations in the United States. The one exception I can think of is the early stages of punk in the US. There were plenty of women and queer people in bands and they weren’t relegated to novelty, token status. But that sure died out quick.

Gender might be irrelevant in samba, but it isn’t in this context.

I’m not disillusioned; I’m a realist. I’m just, like any artist worth their salt, an observer of society, reporting back my findings. I wish I could put every man who can’t see it in women’s proverbial shoes. I can’t.
I'm not sure I understand. If gender is irrelevant in samba, it's irrelevant in rock music. And in classical music. Or if it is relevant in one genre, it's relevant everywhere. There is nothing SO special about rock.

I can see gender being relevant in certain situations to the extent that testosterone has an influence. It does funny things to you. It has nothing to do with vaginas and penises.
Castrate any animal and you see what testosterone does / or does no longer. Things like "dominance" can be driven by testosterone. Men, like women btw, can have very different levels of it.

But apart from that I definitely agree with you that there is no reason why women shouldn't play drums or men shouldn't practise yoga other than preconceived ideas and misplaced conformism.

France is not more advanced than the US. Scandinavia is far ahead...
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well without any real data to tally it's all anecdotal evidence, conjecture and opinion. I would wager there is likely more female musicians than males but that's a guess to. You have to realize all this is still "evolving" since WWII women's "traditional" roles have changed. Women now occupy numerous "traditionally male" roles. Working at a Medical college most of my life I watched the rise of women in medicine and in basic science research. My wife included in medicine. I also watch the discrimination against women too-so it wasn't an easy rise. I agree with the point that sometimes women aren't supportive of other successful women-something I don't understand. I worked in research with this tiny female vascular surgeon (tiny in stature only) in a chauvinistic male dominated super ego field of vascular surgery. She was working her way up the chain. Pardon my French but she was a ball buster and all the male surgeon fellows trembled in her wake. She was awesome-we worked great together. Dynamite really does come in small packages. Now she was all geared toward success in her career-research is one aspect to achieve that goal. Myself pretty laidback PhD, never career oriented, that just enjoyed and wanted to produce good science. Her drive helped us be prolific, but my patience and wanting to produce better publications worked too-she wanted to get as many publications where I would say let's not publish in some crappy journal because a few more experiments we can go top tier. Gender should never be asked on any forms -nor should "race" (there is no biological/genetic race-it's an outdated social construct). I don't see how either really play into anything and anybody can pursue what ever floats their boat. There may not be as many women in music, now, but I don't think that will last long as their numbers rise-as other fields.
 
I'm not sure I understand. If gender is irrelevant in samba, it's irrelevant in rock music. And in classical music. Or if it is relevant in one genre, it's relevant everywhere. There is nothing SO special about rock.

I can see gender being relevant in certain situations to the extent that testosterone has an influence. It does funny things to you. It has nothing to do with vaginas and penises.
Castrate any animal and you see what testosterone does / or does no longer. Things like "dominance" can be driven by testosterone. Men, like women btw, can have very different levels of it.

But apart from that I definitely agree with you that there is no reason why women shouldn't play drums or men shouldn't practise yoga other than preconceived ideas and misplaced conformism.

France is not more advanced than the US. Scandinavia is far ahead...
Obviously intrinsically, there is no gender difference. At all. People like to play music. Testosterone doesn’t have shit to do with it either.

But as far as the samba thing goes, if we have the same kind of music being full of women in one country and devoid of them in another, it must just come down to culture. Thus proving my point. The United States has certain cultural biases about what women are and what they aren’t, and being a guitarist or drummer doesn’t fit into that. You’re “good for a girl,” or some kind of novelty item, and it’s this constant gender-based discouragement that prevents women from playing. Name one country where the rock/etc. music scene is dominated by women like it’s dominated by men here in the US. If there is one, I’ll move there.
 
Well without any real data to tally it's all anecdotal evidence, conjecture and opinion. I would wager there is likely more female musicians than males but that's a guess to. You have to realize all this is still "evolving" since WWII women's "traditional" roles have changed. Women now occupy numerous "traditionally male" roles. Working at a Medical college most of my life I watched the rise of women in medicine and in basic science research. My wife included in medicine. I also watch the discrimination against women too-so it wasn't an easy rise. I agree with the point that sometimes women aren't supportive of other successful women-something I don't understand. I worked in research with this tiny female vascular surgeon (tiny in stature only) in a chauvinistic male dominated super ego field of vascular surgery. She was working her way up the chain. Pardon my French but she was a ball buster and all the male surgeon fellows trembled in her wake. She was awesome-we worked great together. Dynamite really does come in small packages. Now she was all geared toward success in her career-research is one aspect to achieve that goal. Myself pretty laidback PhD, never career oriented, that just enjoyed and wanted to produce good science. Her drive helped us be prolific, but my patience and wanting to produce better publications worked too-she wanted to get as many publications where I would say let's not publish in some crappy journal because a few more experiments we can go top tier. Gender should never be asked on any forms -nor should "race" (there is no biological/genetic race-it's an outdated social construct). I don't see how either really play into anything and anybody can pursue what ever floats their boat. There may not be as many women in music, now, but I don't think that will last long as their numbers rise-as other fields.
As a woman in a male dominated field, to approach the same level of recognition as a male peer whose skills are just “adequate,” you have to be perfect. you have to be 10 times as good with 10 times less support and 10 times more discouragement.
As soon as I can go into public and be seen as a human being first, and a woman second, and perform and be seen as a musician first and a woman second, my heart will be at peace.

Until then, I hate this shit.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
As a woman in a male dominated field, to approach the same level of recognition as a male peer whose skills are just “adequate,” you have to be perfect. you have to be 10 times as good with 10 times less support and 10 times more discouragement.
As soon as I can go into public and be seen as a human being first, and a woman second, and perform and be seen as a musician first and a woman second, my heart will be at peace.

Until then, I hate this shit.
Well I can tell it's jading you. I wouldn't let it jade you or dispair-got plenty of stories of people being held to different standards. I hate that crap too. I don't think it's women have to better-they often just are. Like my wife was number one in her medical school class-a number of male med students hated her for it. One would harass her in anatomy lab and other childish pranks. Others asked me "How does it feel to be married to a women smarter than you?" LOL yeah like why wouldn't I feel proud and lucky? Anyways be persistent , play the game as it is, and put up with the bullcrap to achieve your goals. You wouldn't want a bunch of pricks from attaining your goals? You should talk to my wife-she was at one time engaged to this young man who wanted to go to med school and told her she "had" to be a school teacher-at most. Yeah a real chauvinistic pig. Well anyways she had always dreamed of being a pediatrician. She "woke up" and broke up with the loser-who never got into med school. Fortunate for me-the fool never realized she's super intelligent as well as an Angel and I later "swooned her" with my charm-just kidding I have the charm of a frog.
 
Well I can tell it's jading you. I wouldn't let it jade you or dispair-got plenty of stories of people being held to different standards. I hate that crap too. I don't think it's women have to better-they often just are. Like my wife was number one in her medical school class-a number of male med students hated her for it. One would harass her in anatomy lab and other childish pranks. Others asked me "How does it feel to be married to a women smarter than you?" LOL yeah like why wouldn't I feel proud and lucky? Anyways be persistent , play the game as it is, and put up with the bullcrap to achieve your goals. You wouldn't want a bunch of pricks from attaining your goals? You should talk to my wife-she was at one time engaged to this young man who wanted to go to med school and told her she "had" to be a school teacher-at most. Yeah a real chauvinistic pig. Well anyways she had always dreamed of being a pediatrician. She "woke up" and broke up with the loser-who never got into med school. Fortunate for me-the fool never realized she's super intelligent as well as an Angel and I later "swooned her" with my charm-just kidding I have the charm of a frog.
Of course you have to persevere. But it amazes me that anyone would even be clueless enough to ask why there aren’t more female musicians. It’s so obvious.
Being jaded doesn’t mean you despair and give up. It’s not hopeless; it’s just harder. So you work harder. Disgust at the state of things can be a powerful creative force.

Your wife sounds great. We are lucky to have people close to us who are intelligent and talented. They push us further.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
It gets tiring reading and hearing about how men and women aren't different. As if the difference is a bad thing. We see different things as priorities, gravitate toward different things and enjoy different things. Why is this always taken as a negative?

If a boy and a girl are in a room full of dolls, the girl will "usually" want to take care of the dolls, brush their hair and make sure they are "comfortable". The boy will usually want to rip the doll's head off and see what's inside. No different than a radio. The boy will usually eventually tear it apart to see what's inside. My wife can't stand the "crap" I listen too. She likes simplistic bubblegum crap that bores me to death. I like action movies and she likes love stories. So what? She absolutely loves helping people, taking care of them, making sure the elderly are well taken care of. When she's doing that, I'll be repairing something for the same folks. She likes doing what she likes doing and I like doing whatI like doing.

I dated women who were super competitive and wanted to kick my butt in everything. It was fun for a while, but not everything is a competition. Having said that, if I want my wife to get involved in or try something she's not interested in, all I have to say is it's okay, not like you'd be any good anyway! That makes her take the challenge and we're off having a blast. Some day she'll figure out my little game, but does that make me a chauvinist pig, because I do what I feel more comfortable with and she does what she's more comfortable with? I really don't get all the hubbub!

Since this theme has become the new thing, my employer regularly passes up super qualified guys and waits for a female applicant. Since we're an engineering firm and very few women are interested in the field, they sit and wait and wait for the female applicant. the first one that bites is hired, regardless of qualifications. I keep hearing the same theme..."we'll train her." Thus far, most have not worked out well and have eventually quit. There's this constant void of personnel now, because we sit and wait for the unicorn, all the while projects are sliding.

I don't see hospitals passing on female nurses, holding out for a male applicant. Why doesn't this go both ways? Are the few male nurses wrong for liking what they do?

Having said this, we have a few women who just kill it in their roles. Interestingly, they have been with the company long before this topic became vogue. You can't make good employees, male or female. Greatness is within every person, but few put forth the effort. That's the biggest issue I see.

With respects to drums, I have seen multiple parents discourage their daughters from playing drums and signed them up for something "more fitting" instead. In the same families, when the son expressed an interest in drums, the parents agreed it was the best option for letting Little Johny pop off some steam. They hate the noise, but that keeps Little Johny out of trouble, so drums it is.

To go back to my wife and I's example; Her favorite artist in high school was Barry Manilow. Mine was Iron Maiden. She gravitated toward piano, I learned to play drums. I would have nothing to encourage practice, if I was given piano lessons. Today, orchestras are not being scheduled if the conductor isn't female. The only unfairness I see here, is the public is being robbed of the opportunity to attend a great symphony, because the venue can't tick the gender check box. That's ridiculous.

We should enjoy the differences. That's a good thing, even though it's vogue to be forced to believe otherwise.
 
It gets tiring reading and hearing about how men and women aren't different. As if the difference is a bad thing. We see different things as priorities, gravitate toward different things and enjoy different things. Why is this always taken as a negative?

If a boy and a girl are in a room full of dolls, the girl will "usually" want to take care of the dolls, brush their hair and make sure they are "comfortable". The boy will usually want to rip the doll's head off and see what's inside. No different than a radio. The boy will usually eventually tear it apart to see what's inside. My wife can't stand the "crap" I listen too. She likes simplistic bubblegum crap that bores me to death. I like action movies and she likes love stories. So what? She absolutely loves helping people, taking care of them, making sure the elderly are well taken care of. When she's doing that, I'll be repairing something for the same folks. She likes doing what she likes doing and I like doing whatI like doing.

I dated women who were super competitive and wanted to kick my butt in everything. It was fun for a while, but not everything is a competition. Having said that, if I want my wife to get involved in or try something she's not interested in, all I have to say is it's okay, not like you'd be any good anyway! That makes her take the challenge and we're off having a blast. Some day she'll figure out my little game, but does that make me a chauvinist pig, because I do what I feel more comfortable with and she does what she's more comfortable with? I really don't get all the hubbub!

Since this theme has become the new thing, my employer regularly passes up super qualified guys and waits for a female applicant. Since we're an engineering firm and very few women are interested in the field, they sit and wait and wait for the female applicant. the first one that bites is hired, regardless of qualifications. I keep hearing the same theme..."we'll train her." Thus far, most have not worked out well and have eventually quit. There's this constant void of personnel now, because we sit and wait for the unicorn, all the while projects are sliding.

I don't see hospitals passing on female nurses, holding out for a male applicant. Why doesn't this go both ways? Are the few male nurses wrong for liking what they do?

Having said this, we have a few women who just kill it in their roles. Interestingly, they have been with the company long before this topic became vogue. You can't make good employees, male or female. Greatness is within every person, but few put forth the effort. That's the biggest issue I see.

With respects to drums, I have seen multiple parents discourage their daughters from playing drums and signed them up for something "more fitting" instead. In the same families, when the son expressed an interest in drums, the parents agreed it was the best option for letting Little Johny pop off some steam. They hate the noise, but that keeps Little Johny out of trouble, so drums it is.

To go back to my wife and I's example; Her favorite artist in high school was Barry Manilow. Mine was Iron Maiden. She gravitated toward piano, I learned to play drums. I would have nothing to encourage practice, if I was given piano lessons. Today, orchestras are not being scheduled if the conductor isn't female. The only unfairness I see here, is the public is being robbed of the opportunity to attend a great symphony, because the venue can't tick the gender check box. That's ridiculous.

We should enjoy the differences. That's a good thing, even though it's vogue to be forced to believe otherwise.
Well, the doll thing is a terrible example... we talk to boys and girls differently and give them different things and even hold them differently from the time they are born. We even talk to them differently in the womb if we know the sex of the baby. So yeah, you’ve been encouraged to be sweet and gentle and take care of dolls, you’ll pick the doll. You’ve been encouraged to be strong and tough and wild, you’re not gonna give the doll a bottle. You’re going to rip it’s head off. I ripped their heads off. I wanted dinosaurs. I wasn’t encouraged to play with dolls. I was encouraged to go outside and run off into the desert with the dog. And maybe that kind of upbringing is what made it easier for my young self to see me as someone who can bang on the drums and shred the guitar and learn how to fix shit myself instead of worrying about my split ends and whether my demeanor is sweet enough.

Of course personal preferences and the variety of the human experience is a beautiful thing. We are all different. But it’s going to take some serious effort and some looking the problem square in the face to create a society in which little Jenny gets the drum kit as easily as little Johnny because little Jenny is allowed to blow off some steam too instead of just shutting her little mouth. The line between personal preference and societal conditioning is permeable. It’s hardly a line at all.
 
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