Pandora’s Box: female sound and power in music technology

by Helen Reddington

Historically, women have not been associated with technology unless it helped with the housework – vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and washing machines – or their fertility (ten years ago I did a search for women+technology and was rewarded with a pageful of sites offering reproductive technology solutions). In times of war, we were useful as code-breakers and navigators; suddenly our supposedly non-mathematical brains develop useful ‘male’ attributes that disappear as soon as peace resumes. Women were at the forefront of computing in the 1940s (see I Code Like a Girl). In the competitive world of the music industry, the marketing of women’s sexuality has always been to the forefront, conveniently stereotyping women as singers, and men as instrumentalists or controllers of sound production. This stereotype appears to be impossible to shake off. Continue reading