The lack of gender representation in pop punk needs to change, and it starts with us.
There is a lot of discussion going on right now in the music community regarding gender diversity. It’s a hot topic because a lack of representation helps form prejudice, which leads to a lack of participation by women and LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s a vicious cycle, which I have drawn up in a neat little flowchart because I’m garbage at explaining it in a nice paragraph.
When you’re young and see someone ‘like you’ in a position of power, you feel validated. Race, gender and sexuality are all common identifiers; when these identifiers are shared with people you look up to, you’re able to picture yourself in their shoes.
It makes you feel included and encouraged, even if you don’t realise it at the time. It can inspire people to actively participate in the community by going to shows, starting bands, and working behind the scenes. By seeing other individuals you identify with, you feel welcome.
I often reflect on how representation had an impact on me. Hayley Williams of Paramore and Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive were the two women I modelled my adolescent self after. Their music resonated with me, and I found inspiration for my own developing identity within their public personas.