Jessica Hopper, a writer who got her start in Minnesota as a teenager in the ’90s, has become one of the most well-known and best respected music journalists in America. She recently published her first book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (which Andrea Swensson wrote about for The Current’s Rock and Roll Book Club), and last year she stopped by our studios to share some wisdom with our college contributors.
This week, Hopper has been using her Twitter account to solicit and retweet stories of sexism and discrimination in the music industry. Female musicians, journalists, and fans have been tweeting true stories of discrimination and harassment they’ve faced simply for being women involved in the music scene; some men have also come forward to share instances of discrimination they’ve experienced or witnessed.
The stories Hopper’s followers have shared have been repeated reminders—for anyone who might have needed reminding—that many men in music, whether consciously or unconsciously, continue to treat women with a lack of respect. Race, sexual orientation, and other variables also occasion discrimination in the music world—often combined with sexism, as Hopper’s followers have pointed out.
Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn't "count"?
— Jessica Hopper (@jesshopp) August 24, 2015
@jesshopp Male photog in festival photo pit: "You need to move so the pros can get their shots, honey." As if I wasn't on assignment, too.
— Zoë L. (@iamhelsabot) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp In my first week at NME, got told by a male freelancer that i'd never be taken seriously b/c I had blonde hair & wore heels
— Jenny Stevens (@jenny_stevens) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp being told my work as a teenager didn't matter by a much older male writer ON A PANEL that was about writing for teenagers :)
— Hazel Cills (@hazelcills) August 24, 2015
@jesshopp when I was told as a young teen that I couldn't start an all-female band because "girl bands always suck"
— Jennifer (@_coffee_eyes_) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp While setting up mics for a live band, got asked if I was "helping out the sound guy". Had to tell them I was the sound guy.
— Gaptooth (@gaptoothmusic) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp when pitchfork wrote that because dum dum girls exist, there's no need for Vivian girls anymore
— La Sera (@iamkatygoodman) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp When a college professor teaching "History of Rock" mansplained me after I challenged total lack of women in the syllabus.
— Kat Bee (@katbeee) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp auditioned for a band once, and didn't get it on the grounds 'i couldn't convince the lads to have a girl in the band' lol
— rsbj (@kickIToldSKooL) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp "You don't have the right to write about rap."
— jennifer c lena (@WITWhat) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp working in a venue. being told I needed to display my 'assets' more if I wanted to serve customers and not just bar back
— Hannah Donovan (@hannahbarracuda) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp "You don't need to be great at your job, you have good boobs." I quit.
— Paulina (@Laupina_) August 25, 2015
@jesshopp Was the only female in a meeting with a male publisher. He shook the hands of the men, simply stared at me.
— Becca (@kbeccaandrews) August 26, 2015
@jesshopp when band guys would only keep in touch with me in hopes of getting nudes vs. getting gigs. Started at age 16, never stopped.
— Ashley Nicole (@ashleyoverdrive) August 26, 2015
@jesshopp when i was first starting out, i'd have people tell me that a female photographer is just a glorified groupie.
— courtney coles (@kernieflakes) August 26, 2015
.@jesshopp Oft when I'm taking notes at a show, some dude will ask to see what I'm writing. More than one has been all "is that your DIARY?"
— Jamie Peck (@jamie_elizabeth) August 26, 2015
@jesshopp got yelled at by a musician i was working with because i didn't want him to come on to me & then our band fell apart because of it
— ♥glttr♥ (@glttr_) August 26, 2015
@jesshopp At 14 I approached a guitar teacher bc I wanted to learn how to play the bass. Was flat out rejected: "bass is for men not girls".
— Jocelyn (@jooselijn) August 26, 2015
@jesshopp a security telling me to "just deal with" being groped at the barrier of a haim concert bc it's part of being at a concert
— nellie (@notfurtado) August 24, 2015
@jesshopp when I was demoing my first record, the engineer told me to sing it again, but naked this time ?
— Candy Hearts ☕ (@CandyHeartsBand) August 24, 2015
@jesshopp Showing up to third label interview for big job to realize hiring bro thinks it is a date & doesn't want to talk biz
— emily (@24kgoldsher) August 26, 2015
— Christina Lee (@MinaAnnLee) August 26, 2015
@jesshopp not being able to mosh/crowd surf/have too much fun, due to the overwhelming fear of being assaulted/raped by strangers around me
— Lucy (@pattyhearstvevo) August 26, 2015
So much love and respect for everyone that has shared so bravely here. Remember there are many that cannot do so, with same stories.
— Jessica Hopper (@jesshopp) August 26, 2015