The Tale of Indie Music’s Women Sexism Problems

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A BBC documentary tracing the story of indie music called “Music for Misfits) was aired in 2015 in three episodes. The documentary started with Two-Tone label in Coventry, and the Postcard Records in Glasgow as the two labels and cities where indie music began. Indie was not necessary a music style but more like a way of sensing one’s independence against the conventional notion of indie music as white boys with guitars.


The first and the second episodes were alright, but the third was off in some aspects. First, there was an almost total absence of women apart from journalist Sian Pattenden who was the only woman representing women among countless men in delving at more than two decades of indie music. Second, there was a total shutdown of stories that were on screen. For instance, Riot Grrrl was not mentioned anywhere in the episode, which was well covered in a similar program on C86.


Mentioning Riot Grrrl would have been a good way of straightening the misconception that British indie was in a stalemate with United States’ music. In fact, there were travels across the Atlantic between bodies and music which influenced each other. Even if white is the norm in indie music, it is highly notable that Riot Grrrl times in the UK had bands led by people of color such as Cornershop and The VooDoo Queens. It was depressing to see the program overlook major players Elastica, Shampoo, and Echobelly. This in chronicles are also found on


The article writer, a band member of Kenickie, says that they were patronized by men and were kicked by roadies mistaking them for groupies. At one time they were asked by NME for them to be featured on the cover, they should get naked and paint themselves gold and their refusal saw them not featured on the cover. On stage, they would get shouted at being asked to show their tits. She recalls although great things happened to them, sexism was part of everyday life. She notes that she airs these views to reveal how sexism in the daily life of women musician later turns to retrospective sexism by having their stories cut out.

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