While it’s a known fact that the contributions of women have been deeply discredited for decades, it’s a more disputed fact that a woman’s opinion is deemed as less valuable especially in the music industry. Women in every industry often find themselves talked over, ridiculed, and disregarded. This tendency expands throughout every facet of the music industry– including right down to the fan base. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it.

Oftentimes, what girls and women flock to as preferred music is easily disregarded. Anything that a girl loves is seen as childish. The whole stigma against “fangirl” is meant to shame girls for the things they love. In music, this clearly refers to stigmas against tropes like the boy band. Countless men are too afraid to even listen to boy band music with the fear that listening to it might make them less “manly” since the whole category of music is so frequently traced to girls.

But then again: what’s so shameful about being a girl?

Even when we expand away from the pop circle, we see women’s music taste ridiculed. Bands like All Time Low and Waterparks have been branded with the term “girly” as if there is something wrong with that. Some people have even tried to claim All Time Low into the same category of “boy band”, but I often wonder if people realize just how ridiculous that is considering most bands are still male heavy if not full. Heavier bands like Black Veil Brides are often looked down upon for drawing a predominantly female crowd.

It seems like anything a girl lays her hands on seems to turn to dirt in the eyes of many music fans, which makes women trying to discuss their music taste frustrated, and rightfully so. Recently, I defended my mom’s music taste against a fully grown man who was insisting that Rick Springfield wasn’t real music. Perhaps the most haunting part of this experience was the terms of “honey” or “darling” that are so often used to condescend women who seem “unruly” and speak out.

People, mostly men, seem bewildered when I actually discuss music with them. As if a woman who enjoys classic rock and some punk is a rarity. They are even more surprised when I explain that I write for a music website and interview artists. However, even after all that, the moment I bring up more “feminine music” (i.e. boybands, female musicians, etc) I am almost immediately given a condescending eye roll.

I am by no means saying ALL men or JUST men are guilty of this, but I am saying that this stigma around things that women enjoy is truly irritating. This infatuation our culture has with hating the fangirl baffles me considering fangirls are what build an artist into allowing them attention from the media. People love to make fun of girls crying over and getting upset over musicians they enjoy, but the moment a sports game is on, these emotions seem perfectly rational coming from a man. This duality in our perception of gender and emotions is both intriguing and downright disturbing.

While there are certainly bigger fish to fry in the world of gender inequality, this is just a microcosm of a larger issue. This post may not solve anything, but I want it to be know that women are going to keep loving music and hopefully you’ll put down your mantra of toxic masculinity long enough to open up to some really great music.