The Most Interesting Part of Women Responding To The Pfork People’s List
Before it gets interesting, a recap:
Pitchfork just announced the results of their first ever People’s List. Anyone who wished to was invited to cast a ballot for their top albums from 1996-2011. To what ends, other than giving Converse something to attach a sponsorship to, no one knows.
Things got really ugly today when the world saw the demographic breakdown and realized that of the votes cast by nearly 30K people, only 12% were from women.
Perhaps some people were also blown away by Radiohead occupying 3 spots in the top 10, but I strongly doubt it.
If you scroll down far enough and play with the data sets, it shows you what women voted for and the ladies only top 10 isn’t so different from the full populace.
So why did so few women bother to vote?
I’ve enjoyed reading the reactions/explanations today. Rachel Maddox makes a bullet point list of verbose reasons she didn’t vote. Lindsay Zoladz polled several woman friends who all had similar but different reasons for opting out. Locked In Sameness offers her two cents but ultimately had the same problem I did: didn’t even hear about it. I stopped paying attention to Pitchfork on any sort of regular basis years ago and, in spite of having Twitter and Facebook feeds full of music writers (and following Pitchfork on the former). I literally had no idea it was going on until sometime shortly after voting closed. I probably would have ranked had I caught wind of it. But when we discussed this at work today and someone asked what I’d have voted for, no immediate #1 must-vote album came to mind. I started consulting my listening profiles and the lists of things I liked. I still don’t have an overwhelming #1 in mind.
In discussing this with some female friends of my own, I said:
I’ve done about 500 interviews on this topic. IN GENERAL. Women don’t like making lists or memorizing statistics about…uh anything. Music. Sports. Wedding dresses. Whatever. Men do.
I think it’s just a fundamental difference in how we empirically process information, but I have no scientific data to back that claim up at this time.
It seems to be a prevalent theme among women commenting on the lack of women voting on this poll. My hypothesis is that it is all framed in a way that is not engaging to how women talk about music. You’d see similar gender breakdowns if Rolling Stone showed you the voter demographics behind their yearly Reader’s Poll.
Perhaps making definitive lists is simply not the way to draw women into a conversation about music.
And perhaps the sort of statistics and bravado needed for those conversations is why the archetype of the music nerd has remained definitively male in popular culture.
But can I just say: I think Radiohead are pretty fucking boring and clearly the lot of you voted for what you’ve been told is good and not what you really love and listen to on the regular. Vote your conscience, people, not what someone told you is critically brilliant.
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- rawcuriosity said: My top pick (Tom Waits’ Mule Variations) rated, like 117 or something. I don’t think there are 116 albums EVER that I like more than that one, nevermind between the years of ‘96-2011.
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