Where are Joan Jett or pre-solo career Gwen Stefani, back when she was “Just a Girl” who fronted No Doubt, when you need them?
Of the 10 bands on this week’s Billboard top modern rock tracks list, none featured female members. Though bands with female vocalists such as Paramore and Flyleaf are growing in popularity, modern rock music is still dominated by men.
Amanda Leblanc, a graduate student and teaching assistant in women’s studies, said the absence of females in rock ‘n’ roll is directly linked to standard societal behavior.
“Some music styles just fit gender roles better,” she said. “Pop music is typically thought to be fluffier or lighter than rock. With rock musicians, you’ll find a lot more screaming and jumping around. It’s more about hardcore energy, which isn’t something women would usually be thought to take part in.”
With the knowledge that there are ladies who like to rock, guitar manufacturer Daisy Rock is fostering the love of rock in a gender that is often excluded from the genre.
The brand that calls its products “guitars for girls” has a line of both electric and acoustic guitars, all with some kind of feminine touch. Daisy Rock makes guitars in hot pink, purple sparkles and even one in the shape of the company’s namesake flower.
Founder of Daisy Rock and mother of two, Tish Ciravolo said she started making guitars because she doesn’t want her daughters to feel out of place if they choose to take up music as a hobby.
“When the time comes, I want their experience as musicians to be different from when I was growing up, when every guitar available was designed with men in mind,” Ciravolo said. “I want them to be able to walk into a music store anywhere and be able to find something suitable for girls. Daisy Rock isn’t about making me a hero to anyone. It’s simply an opportunity to leave a legacy for my kids and to provide females with great instruments designed with them in mind.”
Since its start in 2000, Daisy Rock has made more than $2.5 million a year, a number that continues to grow thanks to major retail sales by Guitar Center and a recent endorsement from Disney Channel icon Miley Cyrus.
Despite Ciravolo’s good intentions, anonymous posters on ultimate-guitar.com’s forum have called the brand sexist and said it actually makes it harder for women to be taken seriously in rock music because it perpetuates a dainty image that doesn’t fit the genre’s sound.
However, freshman dance major Rachel Shields said she is glad that someone is helping women get involved in rock, even if the means are blatantly gender-specific.
“I think (Daisy Rock guitars) are a great idea,” she said. “Young girls aren’t going to be drawn to manly, edgy guitars. Having feminine design options available makes things a lot easier for girls who have any interest in music, and I would hope to see more guitar companies offer things like these.”
Flower-shaped guitars may not be seen on the cover of Rolling Stone anytime soon, but Ciravolo said that was never her goal.
“We’ve had some big time endorsements recently and that’s great,” she said. “I’m not in this to get rich and famous, though. All I want is for girls to pick up guitars with confidence, knowing that they can play whatever they like.”