I tend to think I’m a much stronger interviewer than interviewee. I feel more comfortable asking the questions than getting asked them. Feel free to read into that as much or as little as you’d like.
I have a track record of traveling roads less traveled by women than men. I played trumpet nearly non-stop for 20 years – I could give you highlights all day about being a trumpet player who also happens to be female. I’ve been stuffed in trash cans and punched in the stomach because I was ‘better’ than the boys; I found myself in a precarious situation once when I showed up for a ‘special’ trumpet lesson to a teacher in a robe who wanted to give me a back rub. I was 16 years old.
And of course, I love games and talking about games. But let’s get to the point.
A word of advice, to anyone who ever interviews a woman in a ‘male-dominated’ field: never ask them why there aren’t more gals in the field. Never, ever ask a woman why more women aren’t involved in a certain field. I’ve been asked this many, many times.
When I’m asked that question, I instantly judge you for one of two things. Either a) you failed every single history course you ever took, or b) you can’t think of any better question to ask.
What do you expect me to say? Right now, if you think of an answer to that question, what pops to your mind? Why do you think there are fewer female composers, for instance?
Since much of the music you like grew from the world of Western classical music, we can briefly observe from that perspective.
One of the most famous female composers in the classical world is one of the oldest composers on record in the history of music – a woman named Hildegard von Bingen. Check her out; she had an interesting life. A long one, actually.
Fanny Mendelssohn published some works under the name of her brother, Felix. Clara Wieck Schumann had a fairly substantial output, given the societal expectations of a female in the 1800s. And there are many others, believe me. But for centuries, women were actively discouraged from composing music.
Well, women were actively discouraged from doing many things. So, ask me your question again?
But it’s different now. Women aren’t (supposed to be) discouraged from doing things. Because, over time, we’ve learned that in most instances, it just doesn’t matter. I want the world to not give a shit that a composer is a woman. I want that woman to be considered a composer, not a female composer.
In an equal society, nobody would care what gender anyone is at all.
Let’s set one thing straight: I am, indeed, a feminist. I believe in equal rights for women. That means I’m a feminist. And if you feel women should have equal pay and all the nice things that come with equality, then guess what, you’re a feminist too.
But I don’t appreciate calling attention to something that needs no attention. If you think it is remarkable that a woman is a composer, or a trumpet player, or a gamer, then you clearly think very little of women.
My two cents.
Emily Reese is an on-air host for Classical Minnesota Public Radio. She is also the host and producer for Top Score, Classical MPR’s podcast about video game soundtracks, and created MPR’s Listening to Learn series. She earned an undergrad certificate in music education and jazz studies from the University of Colorado — Boulder, and a Master’s degree in music theory from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Emily lives in Twin Cities with her cats Atticus, June Bug and Lee, and loves gaming, with or without friends.