Positions of Power: an ongoing series documenting persons of marginalized
genders in leadership roles at New York City venues.
Gender inequality in the music industry isn’t just relevant at face value with the musicians and bands who create the music we listen to, but strongly present within the venues we go to experience music at.
A significant portion of the annual audience who enters these spaces is of marginalized genders, female, trans, and non-binary, those most at risk of experiencing misogyny, toxic behavior, and assault. Since the rise of social media and the #MeToo movement in 2017, survivors have used their voices to share their experiences in large waves. In September of 2018, the Chicago-based band The Orwells was outed by a grassroots collective of women via social media on accounts of sexual assault. In April 2019, the Brooklyn venue Elsewhere was caught under controversy when it was revealed that one of its former investors had a history of sexual assault. This past July, California-based rock label Burger Records folded after an overwhelming amount of women shared their negative experiences of assault, toxic masculinity, and grooming related to Burger artists and the culture cultivated around the label. These cases and patterns make us countlessly question how to uproot these deep-seated issues that plague our community.
In an attempt to answer, these portraits turn the spotlight on those who are statistically most at risk to experience assault, toxic behavior, and misogyny within venues but have the power to stop it. From owners to managers, directors, and bookers, each of these portraits includes the total number of persons of marginalized genders in leadership roles at these venues, at that current point in time. Their presence in these spaces alone showcases their power, while simultaneously asking if strength in numbers could do more to create change.