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Study: Female Bands Only Paid 78% the Exposure of Their Male Counterparts

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Years of clinical research has found that, on average, female bands playing local shows receive only 78 percent of the exposure paid to male bands of the same talent and stature, according to a study released today by Harvard University.

“This is just another example of glass-ceiling sexism at work. Female musicians should be held back from success at the same rate as male musicians,” said lead researcher Dr. Margaret Dowd. “At least our study proved that women have reached one level of equality — all bands in the study were paid the exact same amount of money: none.”

The comprehensive, 227-page report surveyed 421 hardcore shows across the U.S. and identified “female bands” as “any band that has a female member: whether it is mostly women, fronted by a woman, or ‘just had a chick bassist or whatever.’”

“We demand equal non-payment for equal work,” said Rachel Damron, guitarist and lead singer of DIY band Hoe-Mags. “I absolutely hate being paid in ‘exposure.’ It’s a total nonsense word promoters use to take advantage of bands that have no power in their scene. We should be able to play for an equal amount of people who don’t plan on buying a demo or a shirt.”

Despite vigorous peer reviews, some experts in hardcore gender studies disagree with the findings, arguing the issue is “more nuanced.”


“The real number is much closer to 98 percent,” said Dr. Herbert Stevens, a Yale University professor who teaches “The Economics of Punk.” “While it is true female bands receive less exposure than male bands, the reasons are twofold: societal pressure forces female bands to choose gigs with lower exposure, and female bands lose gig exposure when they get pregnant.”

“I’ve dedicated my life to researching band exposure: which, to be clear, is a made-up currency that amounts to literally nothing,” Dr. Stevens added. “But it’s extremely important to be accurate about the details.”

At press time, one local promoter reading the study admitted he was “just happy to be able to help out so many young bands while making pretty sick-ass profit.”

Photo by Shelby Kettrick @ShelbyShootsStuff