unknown UK music magazine

unknown date

Women In A Man's World

In these modern times there's supposed to be equality between the sexes. In practice, though, that's sometimes just not the case. Strawberry Switchblade's Rose McDowall airs her views

When Rose and fellow Switchblade Jill Bryson first got together to form a band, they didn't take themselves or their music at all seriously.

We just wanted to have a good laugh. Consequently, we didn't bother with a manager - I got us the gigs. We didn't have to rely on anybody and were very much our own bosses.

This proved to be to the girls distinct advantage. Because when they did make the decision to get a manager to relieve Rose of such a hefty workload, there was no chance of them being manipulated into doing anything they didn't want to do.

We've never let anyone push us in a direction we didn't want to go. If they did, it would be a completely wrong tactic - we'd be even more determined to get our own way.

Although we've never experienced it ourselves, some men in the music industry think girls don't have a clue about music. And it's still a very male dominated profession, right from the executive producers to the actual musicians.

I think it's harder for women to gain unanimous respect in this business. It's not as bad as in the past, but it's still there. It's actually difficult for me to say that, as Strawberry Switchblade haven't experienced it personally. But we've talked to people who have, so we know it's true.

But although the girls have had a pretty smooth ride from record companies, producers, etc, everyday life has proved to be a different matter.

When I was at school, girls weren't allowed to do woodwork, and the same for boys and cookery,' says Rose. 'I thought this was wrong so I went up to the deputy head and said I wanted to do woodwork. He said, 'oh no, we don't have any facilities for it. How would you like to sit in a class full of boys?' was his attitude, 'think of all the stick you'd get'.

There were also sports that I wanted to do. I actually went up to a teacher and said 'why haven't we got a female football team - some of my friends want it?'. All he said was 'Och, we can't have that' and walked away.

There's still a lot of sexism in everyday life. I've noticed that since I left school, too, though it has improved a bit. But there's still a long way to go before we do get complete equality.

A lot of men come out with sexist phrases - they can say things which I find really offensive. That's why I get so angry when people think we're cute little girls or say we're trying to dress for men, to appeal to that kind of market. I hope we're far more interesting than that.

There are a lot of male chauvinist pigs around - men who consider women to be inferior. I personally think that such an attitude is all to their loss in the end. They're a very sad breed of person. I do believe that women are strong enough to stand up to them though - we HAVE to.