Another female guitarist, working from within the industry, who is promoting her gender on a large scale, is Ottawa, Canada-born guitarist Sue Foley (b. 1968).
Foley, an accomplished guitarist with no less than 10 CDs to her credit, is
the driving force behind a triple- (or possibly quadruple-) tiered
project called "Guitar Woman." This encompasses a work-in-progress
book currently available only online, a CD titled "Blues Guitar
Women" (Ruf Records, 2005), a national tour (often done in segments
with select performers from her extensive list) and a possible
documentary. The entire project is meant to showcase a wide variety
of female guitarists who cut across musical genres. In an article
in "Modern Guitars Magazine," Watson (15)
writes that women guitarists are under-represented by music media
and that males account for 90% of the guitar-buying market, then
alludes to the near total lack of what is popularly called "household
names" among female guitarists. What Foley's web site does (www.guitarwoman.com),
the author continues, is to show that a plethora of female guitarists
("goddesses" is used) have made and continue to make large contributions
to guitar-centered music. Watson's article also shows that some
male figures are advocating for female guitarists. Thomas Ruf,
owner of his own record label and who has a preference for female
guitarists, approached Foley and signed her, resulting in the
"Blues Guitar Women" release.
Foley, in the interview with Watson, explained why she believes more women are taking up guitar-and why they traditionally did not. She believes the guitar, even among women, carries a masculine imagery, and most women who choose this instrument are somewhat more masculine in character. Even the instrument's origins (Middle East, Africa, Portugal and Spain), she explains, denotes masculinity because of the primarily patriarchal social structures in those regions. Foley believes that women have not only been long-term victims of discrimination in the performance arena, but in literature as well. Her book is an attempt to correct that situation.
And while Foley will encourage young women to follow their dreams of becoming
guitarists, she contends that gender issues will never disappear
because the music industry, notably the guitar, is a male's domain.
Reasons for each sex choosing to create music with a guitar, she
says, are likely nearly identical where creativity is concerned.
However, women's experiences and the way they are perceived will
be different-something Foley believes to be biological. Foley's
belief is that many guitar magazines do not write much about female
guitarists, nor do they reach out to female audiences. She says
over 90% of the guitar magazine buyers are male-something she
does not see changing until the editors of these magazines reach
out to entice female buyers or until a female guitar hero becomes
so big that they simply can no longer ignore females.
Go To Gender, and Genre, Bending