It’s been a month since the results of The Hottest 100 came out, and the media uproar surrounding the lack of female artists included in the tally has erupted. Again. This uproar has become somewhat of a trend in recent years, with post-Australia Day media filled with opinion pieces calling for gender equality and a lot of blame directed at nobody in particular.
Deputy Multimedia editor at The Conversation, Wes Mountain went as far as to create this infographic that highlights the lack of women included within each facet of the countdown. The infographic proves to be interesting viewing, but apart from highlighting the discrepancies between sexes, what more does it say? Does it suggest an alternative or a solution, and is it going to change the results of next year’s poll?
As the annual post-Hottest 100 lamenting and finger pointing continued on schedule, we have to ask ourselves, does it really matter? Because there are a few boss ladies who are doing pretty well without the number 1 spot.
Maybe this is because there isn’t really any individual or group of people to blame here – Do we blame triple J? Do we blame entrenched cultural values that mean that women are often overlooked? Do we blame all of the voters themselves for being subconscious misogynists? All of this seems deeply ineffective, and not quite right, so maybe we should stop looking for people to blame, and focus on what we’ve got to work with, which in actual fact is pretty fucking amazing.
Chick #1: Courtney Fucking Barnett
You’re either one of two groups of people in this world: Those who love Courtney and can’t get enough of her uniquely Australian vocal twang, or those who find her voice like sandpaper to the eyeballs. I prefer to distance myself from the latter boorish group of people, and it seems that the rest of the world is also thinking along these lines, because the woman was nominated for a GRAMMY. A spiffing GRAMMY. You know who else was nominated for the Grammy’s? Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift. Speaks for itself really.
Chick #2: Montaigne
Her 2014 debut EP Life of Montaigne was put off until Montaigne finished high school because chicks need an education too. In 2015 the FBi SMAC awards gave their prestigious ‘Next Big Thing’ trophy to Montaigne, proving just how on the pulse they are. In the year since then, she’s toured with San Cisco, Megan Washington and features in the newly released Hilltop Hood’s single 1955.
Chick #3: Le Pie
Another relative newcomer, fresh from the streets of Newtown, Le Pie captivated audiences with her catchy as hell single Secrets. If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch Le Pie and her band The Sha La La’s live yet, hop to it because it’s a mesmerising ordeal. Her first 2016 tour in support of her latest single Up All Night kicks off soon with an EP scheduled for release later in the year.
Chicks #4: The Jezabels
The Jezabels cemented themselves as mainstays on the Australian music scene after their 2009 debut EP The Man Is Dead catapulted them to local fame. Almost seven years later, their third album Synthia proves that they still have what it takes, with its characteristically soaring vocals and combination of the perfect balance between sass and sex appeal. It was heartbreaking to learn of the cancellation of their world tour this year due to keyboardist Heather Shannon’s battle with ovarian cancer, but equally inspirational to read the press release that went out alongside this news, detailing Shannon’s struggles and urging fans to donate to various cancer research institutes.
Chick #5: Sia
This one might seem obvious, but credit where credit’s due. Australian’s love a sledge, and this means we often fall victim to partaking in tall poppy syndrome. There is no denying that Sia has absolutely slayed it overseas, writing some of the biggest pop songs of our generation for other artists, and then creating some of the biggest pop songs of the decade behind her own name. We need to remember where Sia came from – and that was Adelaide. Those of us who are old enough to remember her frolicking on the Big Day Out stage while the sun was well and truly still up are lucky enough to have seen the musician most comfortable in her own skin before she took on world domination and completely slayed.
Chick #6: Airling
Brisbane native Hannah Shepard, aka Airling is one of those women who manages to portray an otherworldliness through their vocals. Part of the Pieater Records family (Big Scary, #1 Dad’s and Tom Snowden), Airling dominated the last part of 2015 with her smooth single Stallin, leaving most of us itching for what’s next. Only 2016 will tell.
While it is important to be aware of the major discrepancies that plague the Australian music scene in terms of gender equality, it can be far too easy to become awashed with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Focusing on the amazing work that some of Australia’s best female musicians are doing out there is far more effective than lamenting their inclusion in one poll. Let’s stop the blame game because frankly, it’s getting us and these boss ladies nowhere.
While you’re here, check out our list of Aussie girl drummers who pound their kits like beasts.