e2c wrote:You know what, fellas? There are a *lot* of men out here (in the US) who don't like the idea of women playing African and Afro-Cuban drums - there is a HELL of a lot of prejudice, and - sometimes - hazing - involved for women who want to try to learn.
That is truly sad
It took me almost 20 years to find someone who was willing to teach me (a woman) djembe and duns without regard to my sex, skin color, etc. etc. etc. And I got some small share of the hassle that occurs when women want to play/learn; I'm sure other women (especially in the drum/dance community where I lived for many years) got much, MUCH more grief for wanting to try.
That's interesting. One thing I have noticed is that, in Australian drumming circles, women usually account for 70-80% of the participants. I have no idea why that is. But there are definitely more women playing djembe here than men. Maybe it has something to do with that beating an African drum is hard to reconcile with the image of the Marlboro man riding off into the sunset...
And meanwhile, Sule Greg Wilson's book The Drummer's Path (much beloved of many early adopters of the djembe, back in the late 80s-early 90s) STILL has passages about why women should NOT play djembe. Greg thinks the drum is so powerful that it will damage our ovaries (among other things). I have to say, with all due respect to him for his musical ability, that that is complete and unadulterated bullshit to the Nth power. Yet he has a lot of partisans.
I read that book, and wasn't that impressed. There were interesting bits but, overall, I sort of thought he misses the point. And clearly, the bit about women is just total bullshit.
I have also heard from women dancers about the unfortunate tendency (seldom discussed in public) on the part of many men in the US drum & dance scene to demand sexual favors in "payment" for playing and other coaching. (And also about sexual harassment and even assault.) AFAIK, this is coming mainly from American men, but I suspect that some Africans are involved in this crap, too.
I suspect that this really has nothing to do with djembe or African dance, but simply with the fact that some men in just about any social situation will make inappropriate advances on women. In this respect, being a dancer in an African dance class is probably little different from being a waitress in a diner.
At the same time, I've also experienced being forced out of another online musicians' community (one that i helped build) by some guys who wanted the place to be a "men only" hang - to the point that some really nasty things were posted about me in public.
As I said, I care about the music, not the sex of the musician. (BTW--if you hadn't told me that you are a woman, I wouldn't know.)
I have no problem acknowledging that there are gender differences (life would be pretty boring if that wasn't the case!
), but please - can we just be comrades in arms (or in drums?) here and leave the rants about men's rights off to one side?
Sorry, it wasn't meant to be a rant. I was more trying to point out that there are losers on both sides.
And while we're on the subject of disparities, I have to say that I would love
to see more American guys dancing. There's a dearth of male dancers here and imo, that reinforces certain stereotypes as well as limiting what can be done onstage and off. (Dununba, anyone?!
Women make up for about 75% percent of drummers, but they account for around 99% percent of dancers over here. Now, for the men, what a missed chance: just imagine having a peer group where 99% of participants are of the opposite sex