Today I came across an article with a very disturbing title; The ”Woman Composer’ is Dead. This terrified me into reading on.
The article mainly discusses the struggles of female composers throughout history, but also that in today’s society, many of these issues can still be found.
Many female composers in the up to the late 20th century were faced with gender restrictions which made any artistic or career pursuits very difficult. Clara Schumann, well-know and highly regarded pianist was also a brilliant composer, although this fact is often omitted from texts. She faced many obstacles and was fiercely criticised for presenting performances of her works. In her diary she wrote:
“I once thought that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose—not one has been able to do it, and why should I expect to? It would be arrogance, though indeed, my father led me into it in earlier days. “
And she’s not the only one. The list of women who have faced the same issue is endless.
The rest of the world is progressing, slowly as it may be, where gender stereotyping and restrictions are concerned, so why is the creative industries (which is at the forefront of technological advances and an acclaimed area for building awareness and fighting serious social and political issues for decades) still working with such an archaic way of thinking?
Was Schumann right? Is it arrogant to think that women can be successful as creative innovators? Is it impossible for a female to really possess enough creative talent to compete with the male dominated industry?