Gender Issues in Classical Music?!

Classical music has been around since like the beginning of time, and it is known for its elegancy and beauty. When you think of classical music, you think of people who are more civilized and intelligent. They are usually articulate, know what they’re talking about, and has their mind in the correct place. The classical music genre seems to be a perfect genre to listen to and be a fan of for all these reasons. I could listen to classical music, study, and drink tea every day!

However, like most stereotypes, these observations are definitely not true for everyone. Most notably, the well-known and successful conductor and composer Bruno Mantovani and composer Yuri Temirkanov said something so dumb that he made the classical music genre seem like the hip-hop genre (shots fired). Mantovani “posted an interview with him in which he ran through a veritable laundry list of putative reasons why women couldn’t succeed as conductors, ranging from infant-bearing to child-rearing to [women’s] innate lack of brawn and stamina”, while Temirkanov announced “the essence of the conductor’s profession is strength. The essence of a woman is weakness” (Tsioulcas, “What is Classical Music’s Women Problem?”).

These two statements said by the two “gifted” composers are really unacceptable especially for well-known composer. They should be a role-model for musicians all over the world except they are an embarrassment. It is pretty sad to see that even classical music has sexists, who are against women in classical music culture. Women may have the same passions as men, and gender differences should not limit these passions. It is true that men tend to be physically stronger than women, but they should be respected and treated as equals. So for these famous composers to say such things is unacceptable and disrespectful. They should apologize for what they have done. Furthermore, the idea that women and men are equals is not only limited to classical music or not even music in general. It should be applied to all aspects of life.

Alex Ross, a journalist who revealed the translation of the interview with Temirkanov suggested that “it would be more constructive for male participant in this discussion to examine himself, his record, his biases, spoken or unspoken … Silent neglect can do just as much damage as open contempt” (Tsioulcas, “What is Classical Music’s Women Problem?”). I totally agree with this. Men should speak up and try to correct the views of such people like Temirkanov and Mantovani. Speaking up with rational and logical opinions may be able to convince others that gender discrepancy is wrong. In addition, Tsioulcas suggests that women should also speak up as well, for they are the ones being patronized for stupid reasons. I believe expressing your views is the best way to change the views of those who are against women being equal to men. This may change their views hopefully.

Gender inequality is prevalent in many genres of music, in the business world, on the streets, and basically, everywhere. For classical music to experience this was a big upset for me. I mainly thought that hip-hop had this problem, but I can see now that probably everywhere there has to be at least some cases of gender inequality. Just because a man is generally physically strong than women does not make a man greater in skill or intelligence or any other qualities in any way. Women and men have passions and goals, which should not be interfered in any way especially when it comes to gender.


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