Comments on: Women, Men, and Music: the XY Factor, Part 1 /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/ A feminist pop culture adventure Wed, 22 Jun 2011 09:08:48 +0000 hourly 1 By: Philip Roth wins the Booker Prize: Carmen’s Complaint « Velvet Coalmine /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-744 Wed, 22 Jun 2011 09:08:48 +0000 […] Ellis – and it is no less the case that many male readers really don’t. Like the comparable myths about male and female approaches to music and music writing, the suggestion that writers, and […]

By: Women, Men, and Music: the XY Factor « Velvet Coalmine /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-743 Sun, 13 Feb 2011 21:01:52 +0000 […] it's been around, this article, on Bad Reputation and Collapse Board, occasioning varying degrees of debate and disagreement. Let here be […]

By: Women, Men, and Music: the XY factor (Part Two) | Collapse Board /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-742 Wed, 02 Feb 2011 06:15:02 +0000 […] written for the excellent ‘feminist pop culture adventure’ website Bad Reputation, reproduced with kind permission. Rhian Jones blogs at Velvet Coalmine AKPC_IDS += "9016,"; […]

By: Women, Men, and Music: the XY factor (part one) | Collapse Board /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-741 Tue, 01 Feb 2011 04:09:32 +0000 […] written for the excellent ‘feminist pop culture adventure’ website Bad Reputation, reproduced with kind permission. Rhian Jones blogs at Velvet Coalmine AKPC_IDS += "9011,"; […]

By: Rhian Jones /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-740 Wed, 26 Jan 2011 22:01:22 +0000 In reply to CV null Harquail.

Thanks for the download, I shall read with interest! The overlap (or lack thereof) between cultural presumptions and data is indeed an interesting area to explore – I think there’s a wider gap than might be presumed.

By: Miranda /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-739 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:18:13 +0000 In reply to Russell.

I dunno – I love reading reviews after I’ve bought an album, just to see what effect the music had on different pairs of ears, or just before I buy an album I was already going to purchase. When it’s the latter, reading and interacting with the review is kind of part of my band-fan experience.

At the moment I’m barely buying any hard-copy music mags the way I used to; in my teens I bought Kerrang! religiously, with the occasional Q, and also now-defunct gothzines Kaleidoscope and Meltdown. At the moment I use the internet, predominantly, to discover music. And it’s definitely different; without the confines of one magazine’s page limit and style guide, voices mesh together on my bookmarks list and give me, arguably, a more fulfilling, or at least varied, spread of ideas, responses and approaches to music of many kinds.

I do miss mags, though, and the sort of world I used to occupy in which I read and shared them. Somehow.

By: Russell /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-738 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 16:56:52 +0000 In reply to Rhian.

Ah – to be fair I’ve never paid any particular attention to music criticism whatsoever. I like what I like and that’s that, so I’m probably not best placed to comment in this discussion except to say that critiques, as a general rule, have absolutely no impact on my decision to buy or not to buy or enjoyment of anything. I expect I’m the exception, or an entire industry is built on a myth (though that wouldn’t be the first time, either).

By: Rhian /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-737 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 16:33:31 +0000 In reply to Russell.

Hi Russell,

Thanks for your comment. I think we both agree on the inaccuracy of the idea that men and women engage with music in strictly different ways – your own experience attests to this. What I’m addressing here is the tendency for much mainstream critical writing on music to favour technical analysis of songs over personal engagement with them. There’s a related tendency to disparage the latter approach as somehow ‘girly’ and overly emotional, in contrast to a rational and calm intellectual critique. This not only misses out on a large part of how music works, but also fosters a particular construction of music criticism which is off-putting to many, especially women. Part Two may make these things clearer – at least I hope so!

By: CV null Harquail /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-736 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 16:14:35 +0000 Rhain,
(Despite being a huge fan of Alex Ross’s writing and reviews) i don’t know much about the empirical support for claims that men and women listen to music differently, and so your post is raising an important set of issues of the overlap (or lack thereof) between cultural presumptions and data. Here’s a link to an empirical research article about why we listen to music–it might be fun to consider:

Why do we listen to music? A uses and gratifications analysis (pages 108–134)
Adam J. Lonsdale and Adrian C. North
British Jnl of Psychology Feb 2011

right now you can download the whole paper, free.


By: Russell /2011/01/25/women-men-and-music-the-xy-factor-part-1/#comment-735 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 14:14:32 +0000 I am – hang on.

*checks again*

I am STILL a man and I would say that I engage in music on a purely emotional level, very rarely actually dealing with it (or any sort of art) on a technical level. I’m interested in what works make me feel, how evocative they are, not whether they meet an arbitrarily designed checklist of what makes good music. I’ve never really spoken with my male friends about how they engage with music and in what ways as I always assumed this was how everyone, regardless of gender, interacted with art forms. I do know that, as compared to a lot of people I know, I often relate better to music which is slower and uses non-Pop instruments such as violins and pianos, and that I enjoy the sound of the female voice better than the male, but none of these things are absolute. I’m going to have to explore this now that you’ve brought it up and find out what my male friends think constitutes good music. I would have thought that the only people who care how “technically” good a song is are musicians.

Unless I have completely misinterpreted you, that is. :S