Since Negative Space opened in July 2011, our policy has been to host shows that include at least one woman in a performing band. The rule is an imperfect solution to a complicated problem, but we still think that it’s the best policy for our space.
Until last year, Negative Space was run exclusively by women, and it was important to us to see other women on stage and support women in music.
We want to let other women and queer people know that we care about how they feel in our space.
We want to start a conversation about why it’s hard to find women in music.
We hope that people will support women who want to get involved.
Our policy is not perfect, for many reasons.
We know that some women who are asked to play Negative Space feel tokenized because they wonder if they are being asked to play only because they are a woman, and not because of their music.
Our policy doesn’t actively break down any of the barriers that women face to getting involved in music. Not all women are the same, and women are not the only people that experience systemic barriers.
We are aware that our policy doesn’t explicitly address the experiences of trans, queer, or gender non-conforming people who don’t identify as women, but who might face similar barriers to getting involved in music.
As men who are a part of Negative Space, we want to recognize that this policy was made by women to address an issue that directly impacts women. We feel that men who want to act as allies to women led iniatives against sexism should support the policy.
In order to address sexism, men should not be taking leadership roles, but be looking to women for ideas and then acting as allies.
Some men have claimed that there is no sexism in underground music, but it is not up to men to decide that, as sexism is not their lived experience.