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Old 04-19-2017, 04:09 AM   #21
Macswegan
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

For much of the 1900s, top-level orchestras did not have blind auditions, and the percentage of female musicians in these orchestras stood at 6% in 1970. When blind auditions became the standard, the number of female musicians in these top orchestras increased dramatically. Apparently until blind auditions began, evaluators thought a) women played differently from men and b) the way they played was worse.

(Source: Goldin, C. & Rouse, C. (2000), Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians. The American Economic Review 90.4 (2000): 715-741.)

I can imagine a situation where "You play like an x" is a neutral statement. Perhaps in the keyboard world statements like "You play the harpsichord like a Spaniard" or "You play the harpsichord like an Italian" are neutral statements of fact. (Oh, everybody knows that Italian harpsichordists love their arpeggios, and that is a legitimate and beautiful style!) But in the world that I live in, "You play/talk/throw/think like a girl" is not neutral, and it is not positive, either. It implies that the way that a woman is doing something is less competent than the way a man would do it.

If I ever received a score sheet that said I "played like a girl," I would report that judge to my association in a heartbeat. Why? Because I would eat my hat if a judge saying "You play like a girl" meant "Everyone knows that women always phrase things so clearly!" or "Such confidence!" or "Damn, you have fantastic tone!" In my experience, when people say that a musician "plays like a girl," they mean "plays tentatively or uncertainly." If a judge wants to say that I play tentatively, he can go right ahead. But if he assumes that that kind of poor playing is typical of girls and women, he shouldn't be evaluating them.
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Old 04-19-2017, 04:36 AM   #22
colinmaclellan
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

I can share two experiences of my wife Jenny, who is a well known piper. One she took as a compliment, the other less so.

One was when she played in her very first professional piobaireachd competition, it was at an Ontario games with the late great Ed Neigh judging. She played Catherine's Lament, getting a 2nd prize amongst all of the strong Ontario pipers of the time, and when she finished Ed told her that she had "played that tune as only a woman could".

The other instance was after playing in the World Pipe Band Championship in a prize winning performance with the 78th Fraser Highlanders in the early 1990's, she found herself in the company of one of the most famous Grade One Pipe Majors of all time. "Did you play today"? he asked, to which Jenny replied in the affirmative; his next question was "Really? All the way through"?
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:42 AM   #23
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macswegan View Post
SNIP

If I ever received a score sheet that said I "played like a girl," I would report that judge to my association in a heartbeat. Why? Because I would eat my hat if a judge saying "You play like a girl" meant "Everyone knows that women always phrase things so clearly!" or "Such confidence!" or "Damn, you have fantastic tone!" In my experience, when people say that a musician "plays like a girl," they mean "plays tentatively or uncertainly." If a judge wants to say that I play tentatively, he can go right ahead. But if he assumes that that kind of poor playing is typical of girls and women, he shouldn't be evaluating them.

"you write like a woman"
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #24
CalumII
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

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Originally Posted by colinmaclellan View Post
his next question was "Really? All the way through"?
I hope she left him some teeth!
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:36 AM   #25
johnsog
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

This has been interesting to follow and not at all unfamiliar, unfortunately. I agree that men and women can have very different habits/ways in how they do things (playing music, speaking, signing, etc.) and these should be accepted and respected. Comments that can be taken as disparaging, however, should not be used anywhere. It could be the judge didn't mean anything he realized was derogatory; many people say things without thinking or are thinking only of how they would take them, not able to hear how they may sound to someone else. Hopefully the person is teachable and can be informed courteously that what they just said or wrote could be taken someway other than how they meant it, then given a chance to explain.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:52 AM   #26
el gaitero
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

Quote:
Originally Posted by colinmaclellan View Post
"Really? All the way through"?
...with all respect.....it sounds like convivial beer tent banter ...unless it was indeed a malicious sneering gaff. Was it?

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 11-09-2017 at 07:39 AM. Reason: Fixed malformed block quote syntax.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:13 PM   #27
Rooklidge
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

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If you don't want to play like a girl then learn to play like a man. If you don't want to play like a man then learn to play like a girl. If you want to pretend that there is no difference between men and women then more power to you, but don't expect the realists in the audience to go along with your delusion.
I'm stunned that this kind of opinion is still openly expressed, let alone believed. "..learn to play like a man.." There is just no verbal response to this that would be regarded as appropriate.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:19 PM   #28
Green Piper
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Default You play like a girl!

Well.... there may be nuances of playing and interpreting music that allow a very discerning and experienced listener to identify the sex of the musician. If I had access to PubMed or some other academic search network, I'd see whether any peer-reviewed work has been published on the subject.

Whether that is actually the case, or not does not justify comments that are made in a disparaging manner. Only the people there at the time can gauge the intended meaning of the original comment.

Judges need to be mindful of their comments to ensure that their meaning cannot be misinterpreted, and if the judge in question intended the remark to be disparaging, then he needs to be taken to task.

Charlie
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:03 AM   #29
bob864
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Default Re: You play like a girl!

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Originally Posted by Macswegan View Post
But in the world that I live in, "You play/talk/throw/think like a girl" is not neutral, and it is not positive, either. It implies that the way that a woman is doing something is less competent than the way a man would do it.
We live in different worlds.

When my wife says that a fiddler or violinist "plays like a man" it is not generally a compliment. Men, by way of nature, are more aggressive.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:04 AM   #30
bob864
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Originally Posted by Rooklidge View Post
I'm stunned that this kind of opinion is still openly expressed, let alone believed. "..learn to play like a man.." There is just no verbal response to this that would be regarded as appropriate.
I'm stunned that so many people honestly believe there are not differences between men and women. We're not the same and pretending otherwise cannot lead to good outcomes.
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