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where were all the women at the 2013 ARIAs?

Image: Wiki Commons

Image: Wiki Commons

The annual ARIA awards took place on Sunday, with all the big names of Australian music frocking up and hitting the red carpet.

Indie dance/electro goodness provider, Flume (AKA Harley Streten) took out the awards for best male artist, best dance album, breakthrough artist and producer of the year. Tame Impala won best group, best rock album and album of the year for their record, Lonerism.  Guy Sebastian received awards for best pop release and best Australian live act, while Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds scored best independent release and best adult contemporary album.

Notice anything? Where are all the ladies?

Winner of the best female artist award, Jessica Mauboy, expressed her disappointment at just that, stating ‘it was a little bit interesting because we have so (many) strong women in this industry and it would have been good to see more of them nominated.’

Apart from Mauboy, who won the special lady award, there was a conspicuous dearth of women nominees and winners at the ARIAs this year, with only three other female winners.

Clare Bowditch, who lost out to Nick Cave for best adult contemporary album, argued that the lacking representation of women artists at the ARIA awards could impact the legacy of Australian music.

But Missy Higgins wasn’t bothered by the lack of women at this year’s awards, and neither was Megan Washington, who claimed that ‘maybe lots of boys just put out records this year and maybe next year more girls will put out records. I don’t think there’s any real sway or leaning one way or the other from within the industry.’

The lack of equal recognition and celebration of female musicians has been a hot topic since Triple J’s listener-voted Hottest 100 countdowns of All Time and of the last 20 years both resulted in a glaring lack of songs by women.  This raises discussions as to whether men’s music is seen as universally relatable regardless of the genre, while women’s music seems to be relegated to either niche markets or the cringe-worthy world of mainstream, manufactured pop.

Simone de Beauvoir’s concept of the woman as ‘Other’ comes to mind. Historically, while the men were seen as the “default” human, women were seen as the deviation from the norm. This impacted how culture and society related to women, women’s bodies and women’s experiences, causing significant inequalities and discrimination. So could these discourses be impacting the way we experience and appreciate music, and art more broadly, produced by women?

Does the gender of those who create the music we like matter? Why/Why not?
Do you think there is an issue with a lack of women at award ceremonies such as the ARIAs?

Share your thoughts below!


2 thoughts on “where were all the women at the 2013 ARIAs?

  1. I beleive women are hugely discriminated against in the music world and there is far too much emphasis on their body shape and size – the sexualisation of their bodies is constantly used to sell music. The saddest thing about all this is that australian women are only to happy to demean themselves to please men – which appears to be their primary motivation. I am often saddened to hear the negative comments emenating from the men in my circle – an average aussie family – the comments either to accuse women of being too fat or too thin or make derogatory comments about how annoying their ‘whining’ voices are. I think women are often scorned when they have something worth saying – and are not the object of male desire. What do we have to do to attach a greater worth to our gender?

  2. I agree – I feel that the gender of your favourite musicians should not matter, and men and woman both create fantastic (and sometimes awful) music, music by female artists seems to be secondary, as you say, ‘Other’. I also agree with Linda_81 that perhaps music by female artists is demeaned by focusing too strongly on image rather on the quality of the music itself, which is equally as good.

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