[RANT] Please Stop Downgrading Women’s Fandom To Romantic Adoration

See this man? I love his music and therefore love and support him in every way I can. That doesn’t mean I want to have sex with him. I can’t believe I have to even say this. 🤦🏼‍♀️

See this man? I love his music and therefore love and support him in every way I can. That doesn’t mean I want to have sex with him. I can’t believe I have to even say this. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Over the weekend, news broke that seven time Grammy winner and one of the most important artists in my life, Beck, had filed for divorce from his wife of 17 years.

Less than a week prior, the world saw him snag 2 of said Grammys at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards show. Earlier in the week I had been discussing with fellow Beck superfans how great it must feel to finally be seeing the amount of success and recognition for his art that we all thought he should’ve had for basically decades now. In my mind, Beck had to be super happy, therefore I was super happy for him.

Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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I don’t know why they’re getting divorced and frankly I don’t care because it’s none of my business.

What I do care about, is that I couldn’t have a moment of empathy for someone who means a lot to me without having to be on the defensive for my level of fandom and feeling the need to tweet something like this when the news broke:

The quick “cute” comments I’ve received from people I either barely know or are relatively close to have been all something to the effect of, “Get in there, girl!”, “You’re in”, “Where’s my wedding invite?”, and my new favorite from today where someone suggested that the reason I finally changed my profile picture across the internet after 10 years is because I “didn’t want Beck to get the wrong idea now that he’s getting a divorce”.

Yes, I celebrate the man’s birthday like it’s a friend’s birthday. Yes, I was the person who claimed /r/Beck from becoming a portal for Glenn Beck on Reddit. Yes, I occasionally sit in private Facebook groups analyzing his Instagram posts. Yes, I have a stockpile of bootlegs. Yes, I’ve seen him perform live over a dozen times. Yes, I will most likely mourn his inevitable death to the same level I have for friends and family (perhaps more tbh).

Yes, I am a superfan to the extent that people in my life think of me when his music comes on.

….so why the HELL does that equate to me wanting to essentially just fuck the man?

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Let me do my best to explain to what happens in my brain simultaneously when people make comments like this to me.

On a top level:

  • I’m immediately downgraded from a full human being to a female sex object. Am I really just on the planet to be sexualized and fuck a lot? NO.

  • I’m frustrated that my career in the music business isn’t where I hoped it would be at my age and a lot of that has to do with not getting afforded the same chances men get in music thanks to sexism.

  • I relive dodging gropey men at music industry winter holiday parties.

  • I remember how many times I’ve had to shrink my level of interest talking about music at label jobs because I didn’t want to get dismissed as a “groupie”.

  • Speaking of that triggering ass word, I remember how many times I’ve had someone say. “Oh so are you like a groupie for them or something?” When I spoke passionately about a band that had men in it.

  • I remember the time I had to tell a band whose label brought me out to meet them for potential coverage that seemed uncomfortable to my general friendly demeanor, “I don’t wanna suck your dick. I just want to help you get famous” and how their mood changed immediately.

  • I remember the time I co-hosted a CMJ showcase with The Audio Perv and all the other music blogger dudes who showed up thought I was someone’s girlfriend instead of the person who bought this domain, built the site, solicited pitches from publicists, etc. etc.

  • I get angry on behalf of the women in music who have had it much worse than I have.

  • Most importantly my capacity for love is immediately confined. Not just my capacity for love, but for every woman who loves music.

That’s really depressing if you think about it and that’s just me as a HUMAN PERSON!!! As a woman who has to choose every day to interact with male musicians, there is so much of my head space that I occupy with trying to overcome the above as I write reviews, leave meaningful comments on artists social posts, and just generally try to be the person I know I am. Imagine if I could just like….spend all my brain power seeking and reporting on Turkish goth bands carving out a space in the Turkish music scene, the badass house DJ who helped pioneer the first music production course at a Girls Rock Camp, or any of the other artists out there that could end up being the thing that YOU get as hopelessly devoted to as I am to Beck.

I wanna talk about that, too. Since I’ve addressed above the way my capacity for love gets shrunken to whatever box people think my fandom should fit in. When my fandom gets discounted as something silly or seen as anything other than just, well, fandom, it dismisses:

  • The degree of loyalty that I am capable of.

  • The fact that I’m not sure if I’d be where I am today writing this very thing without Midnite Vultures because that record gave me the permission to be as different or weird as I wanted to be.

  • The transformative power music has over me and my desire to share that with others.

  • The money I’ve invested in something I believed in.

  • The love-centered the community I have to turn to for more than just Beck’s music.

  • The ways his music informed details in my methods of self-expression.

….and a ton of other things that I can easily identify has deeply rooted bits that factor into my identity. Whether we want to admit to it or not, music shapes all of us to some varying degree. Just because I express my gratitude for that by providing as much support as I am able to should not make me less of a person. I’d say it’s the opposite, honestly.

So please. For the love of the song that makes you feel things the most, just let me love whatever music I want to, however hard I want to, without your preconceived ideas of how you think loving art works or any assumptions rooted in patriarchal garbage nonsense.