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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Mary Humphreys womens role in folk clubs (88* d) RE: womens role in folk clubs 02 Apr 03


To answer Fay's summary of points made so far:

There was an imbalance in the 60s & 70s in Manchester. More men than women were involved in running clubs, singing & playing music. Not any more, as far as I can tell.

More women are involved in playing/singing due to encouragement than they used to be.
Not sure it is due to encouragement in most cases.Women feel freer to go into pubs and clubs on their own now. That gives them the choice of participating in the singing/music.

Women aren't as good as men generally, why should it be different in singing?
Where did you get that generalisation from? I would dispute that totally.

Women are/were culturally trained to be more reserved than men so don't push themselves forward as easily.
I won't argue with that one.

Women more prolific in the singing scene than the pub session scene. Poss. due to a social statement surrounding women going into pubs alone.
Possibly.I still don't like going into pubs alone, unless I am sure there will be someone I know in there.

Women tend to be in a supportive role, doing the food/posters etc..
Not that I am aware of.

Women have a different repertoire which doesn't fit with the folk club scene.
That is not true. There are many individual women singers who can entertain a club audience as well as any man. Janet Russell, Maggie Boyle, Ellen Mitchell, Alison MacMorland,Eliza Carthy, Isla St Clair, Peta Webb, Chris Coe, Sandra Kerr ... the list goes on.

The 'big' women in folk are of the sexy pop variety, not real folk singers.
Rubbish. Who are you talking about? See list above.

Women don't/didn't play guitar as commonly as men so had to rely on accompaniment (usually by a man) or appear unaccompanied.
Most of the women named above don't use a guitar for accompaniment. They play other instruments if they use accompaniment at all. The guitar is not a sine qua non of the folk performer.

Women had to stay home and look after the house and kids.
Good opportunity for trying out repertoire on kids and family. Many restrictions in life can have some positive outcomes.

Women's voices sound worse than men's when singing badly.
No. They sound as bad as each other.

A lot of clubs were connected to colleges/universities which had a higher percentage of male students.
True in the past. Not so sure now.

More men than women want to go out and sing in the evenings.
Pass.

Any more for any more? what about the 'tone' of the evenings? were there male dominated conversations? political connotations which women weren't involved/interested in
Why shouldn't women be involved/interested in political discussion? The state of the nation is as important to women as it is to men.
Most of my early years in folk music were based in and around highly politically active and motivated singers. Their enthusiasm communicated itself to me and their audiences. I didn't notice women complaining then. They don't now, in my experience.


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