A Message From Girls Behind The Rock Show Founder Shelby Chargin - #WomanOfTheYearAward
Photo by Courtney Robbins
This week has been an intense one for myself and the Girls Behind The Rock Show and Girls Against crews. We officially launched our #WomanOfTheYearAward Campaign to a lot of support… and just as much criticism.
So, to do my part as a business owner, a feminist, and someone who truly believes in the Women in Music and fighting against sexual assault in music initiatives, I’m going to break it down for you in the best way I can.
First and foremost, I want to thank Allison Lanza and WIMinisder for giving us a platform to discuss these topics on. We started this campaign as a way to raise awareness about women who work in music. The campaign itself is to gain attention of major publications with Award Shows in music to incorporate a Woman of The Year Award where we highlight a woman who had spent the past year dedicating herself to the encouragement, and mission of promoting other women in music, or a woman who has done something extraordinary to impact the industry in a way that allows females to feel equally respected.
There are PLENTY of women who fit this description that we probably don’t even hear of half the time. We are underrepresented, under appreciated, and mostly, we are forced to accept that. When Girls Behind The Rock Show started, I tried to work with a multitude of people on different platforms. I made a conscious effort to try to “play by the rules” and then I made a conscious effort to be a full-blown Jezebel-like feminist with it.
Neither approach worked, got anything done, or looked good for my company. Finally, after a lot of reflection, I learned that the key to moving and pushing forward is to calmly educate, and to find a middle ground where we can take the comfort zone of those who don’t understand the mission, relate to them, and then grow their comfort zone with facts, peaceful discussions, and understanding.
Women are the single most oppressed group in history. I don’t say this to belittle other oppressed groups, but I say this because even within other races, countries, religions, etc. we are oppressed within the oppressed. We are seen as less by people who are already seen as less. We’ve been fighting oppression and control of ourselves globally literally since the beginning of the human race.
Taking on thousands of years of inherent bias is not an easy task. But in the past 20 years or so, we’ve made incredibly great strides around the world for the betterment of females, but we have a long way to go. When I thought about this, and when I thought about what we’re trying to do, I realized very quickly that the American Entertainment Industry and music, in particular, has a MASSIVE effect on social consciousness.
I was also aware that social consciousness is something that challenges inherent beliefs, and that it must be approached in a way where people don’t feel attacked, forced, or pushed into a belief.
From all of that, myself and the GBTRS team, in collaboration with the lovely young women from Girls Against decided to launch a campaign that we believe promotes strong women, and could bond and bring both men and women together for a common goal. We want these Awards Shows to be the tip of the iceberg so to speak on the recognition of women in music.
The more women we publicly honor and acknowledge, and the more women they work with and refer to, the more we can push for the betterment of all women working in this industry, and by proxy, the realization amongst the young men and woman who look up to these people.
If you’re interested in helping with the campaign, you can tweet/instagram literally anything having to do with women in music, someone you think should be nominated, someone you look up to, etc with the hashtag #WomanOfTheYearAward and tag Alternative Press, Kerrang!, and NME in your posts.
Girls Behind The Rock Show believe in the peaceful and positive promotion of women in music. We believe that working together amongst men and women is literally the only way we can make a difference, and we truly value everyone who has helped us along the way.
With that being said, we are taking back our voice, we are taking back the conversation about the real issues in the scene and music in general about how to positively promote women. There are ugly parts to this conversation, and we want to address those too, but when we speak on things, we base them in fact. We don’t slander, and we will not partake in allowing men to control our voices, nor will we police men who want to help in productive manners.
There’s a lot to be said, but the only way to push forward is to put our differences aside and work together to make this scene and the music industry a safer, more productive place for women, and by extension, for anyone.
From myself, the GBTRS and Girls Against teams, we’re thanking you for all of your support and we hope that you will continue to pursue this campaign as the first of many steps in a long road that we are very excited to embark on with all of you.