As BIGSOUND came to a close in Brisbane last week, and the majority of Australia’s music industry were dealing with horrific (and I mean horrific) three day hangovers, there was one thing everyone could agree on – Jessica Hopper‘s keynote speech was one of, if not THE, most important things to come from the two day conference.
Speaking in front of a full auditorium, Hopper didn’t delay in getting to the crux of her point – that things have to change for women in music. After a brief introduction, Hopper went onto to explain two particular exercises she had undertaken on Twitter: one in which she asked women what their first brush was which they didn’t “count”, and one in which she asked women what they were most proud of in the industry. Horrific tales began to emerge as the tweet went viral, with thousands of women coming out to share their own experiences. Thousands of women also detailed their achievements and accomplishments, most detailing a tale of triumph over the odds they faced from just generally being a woman in the music industry.
Teen girls make the biggest market of music in the world today. According to a study by the Parks Associates, women not only make up half the population but they also consume more music than men. So the question then remains – why doesn’t the music industry…why aren’t these places taking fan girls seriously? …Why do women feel like they don’t belong here?
From here, she took on the notion of “fangirls”, safety in venues, the hierarchy that is the music industry and proposed solutions for the problems. Whilst admitting she doesn’t have all the answers, she opened conversations and discussions that need to happen in order to reach the answers we so desperately need. Moving herself to tears, she was not alone in becoming emotional when reflecting on perhaps not her own experiences but at least of experiences other women have had. I was lucky enough to not only see Hopper’s keynote, but also witness her on a separate panel on the importance of music journalism, and can admit proudly I too was moved to tears.
This speech is particularly important for this website, as a site that is run by two women doin’ it for themselves. A lot really resonated with me and the energy during Hopper’s speech and afterwards was something words cannot describe. The answers aren’t going to be found tomorrow, but the fact that conversations, speeches, debates and discussions like this are happening more and more often is incredibly promising and makes me very optimistic and hopeful. Check the speech below and see for yourself.