A Tune of One's Own
Girls should be seen but not heard. Well, not in 2016.
Greer Clemens, a 22 year old Arts student at Melbourne University, is vocal and proud. A self-described freelance journalist, music critic and musician, Greer has been active on the Melbourne arts scene since her teens.
At the age of sixteen, Greer and her friends formed an all-girl-band called the Darjeelings. While they encountered very little open hostility, the girls were acutely aware that they did not fit the traditional band model.
'When we started out, we were playing with a lot of all male line-ups...We were really conscious of the fact that we didn't necessarily look like the bands we were playing next to'.
Not only were their fellow performers male, but all the back-stage personnel and recording producers were male too. As Greer reflects, the fact that the sound technician at gigs was almost universally known as 'sound guy' was emblematic of this.
Bursting with talent and passion, the Darjeelings boldly persisted with their music and quickly made waves on the Melbourne gig-circuit, introducing a distinctive new ‘female voice’
Raising the profile of emerging female artists and bands has been slow, but 'it is changing,' according to Greer. In The Age music Victoria nominations for 'Best Emerging Act' this year, all five nominees were female acts. This, Greer argues, is a major breakthrough, sending a powerful message to both the music world and to aspiring young girls that female musicians are a force in their own right.
Jen's Greer has also been active in challenging the male world of music criticism. She has written articles regularly for Junkee Media's Fasterlouder, as well as contributing to Pitchfork, Noisey, and Melbourne-based zinesFilmme Fatales and FEMS zines.
Greer's inspiration? Feminist music critic, Jessica Hopper. It was Hopper's book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, that really struck a chord with Greer.
And thanks to women like Hopper, and the expanding world of the internet and independent media, more and more young aspiring critics like Greer are speaking up.