So yesterday I attended Un-Convention’s Un-conventional Women event in Manchester’s awe-inspiring Victorian neo-gothic town hall (I have a wee bit of a soft spot for anything gothic). A fairly last minute decision since I was only told of the event a couple of days prior, and Manchester isn’t exactly in my general area. Nevertheless I grabbed a friend and off we went, almost unacceptably early on a Sunday morning.
It was awesome.
The main reason I decided to go to this convention/conference wasn’t to indulge some kind of feminist man-hate that these events have an unfortunate tendency to turn to. I was interested in learning about what the “state of the art” in the music and media industries is today, how do these influential figures in the music industry understand the age of digital music, and how can I work the situation to my advantage in what is very much a male-dominated industry. Another reason was a chance to network with the speakers and others in the industry to further my base of contacts.
It was very eye-opening just how little understanding of the relationship between music and the internet was demonstrated by some of the speakers. And what a fantastic opportunity this is for our generation to become the next great innovators in the music industry.
But mainly, I have to say, I was incredibly pleasantly surprised by the sheer presence of the speakers. Most of these were charismatic, no nonsense women. They have every bit the confidence to play with the boys, and they elegantly shot down all the characters that show up in these crowds to cry and whine about how “the boys make mean jokes” and are “insensitive”. Have you ever seen a bunch of guys hanging out together? They’re not exactly having a tea party and complementing each other’s hair. If you’re having to work with a bunch of guys, you need to learn how be one of them. I’m not talking visually, or about renouncing your femininity. But you can’t expect to walk in a room and everyone adapting to you just because you’re a girl, because let me tell you something, sweetie:
That is not equal treatment. That’s preferential treatment. And you’re nothing more and nothing less than every guy in the room.
Besides, from my experience, most of the time a girl’s biggest enemy in a male-dominated place is the other girl. Just something to think about.
I’ve still got a thing or two to say, so stay tuned for Part 2!