Leonard, Marion – Gender in the music industry: Rock, Discourse, and Girl Power, Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate, 2007

The copy I have of this book appears to have been loved almost to death, judging by how many times the library staff at the library I’ve loaned it from appear to have painstakingly patched and re-patched up the binding. That in itself is testement to how useful and how important a book this is.

An academic textbook, ‘Gender in the music industry’ situates riot grrrl within a wider discussion of indie music, punk and the music industry’s attitude to female performers. Whilst U.K centred, there are U.S and European artists included, and in discussing riot grrrl Leonard looks at the U.S and U.K scenes seperately, which is useful when it comes to comparing similarities and differences.

There are 7 chapters:

Rock And Masculinity

Gender and indie rock music

Meaning making in the press

Strategies of performance

The riot grrrl network: grrrl power in indie rock

The development of riot grrrl: through zines, the internet and across time

Ladyfest: online and offline DIY festival promotion

Because it’s an academic book, the audience would be assumed to be mainly students and academics, and it is certainly situated within established modes of academic discourse, so is not for everyone. But there’s some very useful research in here, and a wide scope of investigation that should make it of interest to anyone interested in discussions of gender and indie/punk/riot grrrl scenes.

Incidentally, for anyone who’s read more historical accounts of women engaging with the music industry as performers, what may shock you is how little appears to have changed in terms of industry attitudes. This book was published in 2007, 4 years ago, and the interviews range from 1994 through to 2007 in timescale. Sobering indeed.


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