When women don’t give each other the time of day, they’re encouraging each other to prioritize collabs w/ the ones giving them professional courtesy: men

“I read your article and yes to all that but not to reply to a friendly email – takes 10 seconds – seems churlish.”

That’s a comment I received about the 2nd short piece I posted last week, in which I described reaching out to women for collaboration and receiving replies just 1/10 of the time. This hadn’t been my experience when reaching out to men, who were much more likely to respond – and with “yes”.

In the piece, I was strictly empathetic to pressures any musician may feel to stick to projects that seem most likely to keep their career momentum going, and that –long story short– that often means turning down collaborations with women, who are less likely to have the industry “ins” that the gatekeepers (still predominantly male) do. To reiterate, because I think this is important: my theory was that all are reluctant to slow down their career momentum, but that women’s momentum, generally, faces more threats and hurdles than men’s, and that after all that struggling to get their own backs, they simply have less time/energy for side-projects than men do.

But that comment I received did set off some alarm bells for me.     First bell: you know what? It’s actually highly unprofessional (and socially: just plain rude) not to at least
send that 10-second email to decline involvement. Are you a professional? Okay, so act the part in your communications.

Consider, too, the positive notion someone must’ve had of you when they reached out to invite you to join their project. The fastest way to make sure you stop being viewed in a positive light is to treat others like they aren’t worth your dignifying them with a short reply. (And if your reason for not replying was that, in actuality, you don’t feel worthy for what they’re asking of you, then consider this a wake up call: it doesn’t read that way. Also, may I inform you that your modesty is a bit of a tired cliché?)

Second bell – and ladies it’s the most important reason it’s backfiring on you when you give each other the cold shoulder:
When you don’t give me the time of day, you’re behaviour encourages me to stick to asking the people who –past experience has proven– will treat me with professional courtesy: men. You’re perpetuating the whole situation I’ve got an issue with in the first place, which is to give the job to a man instead of a woman.

If you’re still not convinced that your non-reply is unacceptable, then how about this as a final argument:
Imagine a woman you’ve never heard of, but who is apparently in your extended music scene, comes up to you face-to-face, introduces herself, and says she’s working on a project looking for someone to fill just the role you are known for. “I know you’ve got what it takes, so wanted to reach out. Would you have any interest in being involved?”

And now imagine that your response is sticking your fingers in your ears, turning around, and walking off into the sunset. Congrats, you’re socially inept and just disqualified yourself from getting asked for future collabs with this person.

So, while I still can empathize with women’s reluctance to collaborate with other women, I didn’t want it to seem like I’m putting my seal of approval on their tendency over men’s not to respond to project invitation emails. I’m not cool with it. And make no mistake, it has dampened the positive glow I saw you in when I first reached out., and it has made me consider just sticking to men, even though I so badly want to connect with other women, musically.

I’m Gwen Thomas, artist name G.T. Thomas.
FB & twitter: @gtthomasmusic


I’ve been asking around w/ professional women musicians to join my disco band for over a year. 9 out of 10 of these women didn’t even reply to the emails. Here’s the reason:

This is a true story, by the way, that I’ve been asking around w/ professional women musicians to join my disco band for over a year. 9 out of 10 of these women didn’t even reply to the emails.

I used the exact same approach as I did when asking professional musicians –both men and women– to be involved in a different project, for which I got over 30 yeses, almost all men. I even had to host auditions to narrow it down. And by the way, by all measures, the disco project has far more chance of financial and popular success, and is just plain more fun than the other one was. Even the demos I sent in the introductory/ invitation email sounded better.

But women can’t even be bothered to reply to the emails. And guess what? I don’t even really blame any woman who doesn’t. Because I totally, completely understand where she is coming from.  Let me explain: Continue reading

On Being Sick : The Philosophical Shift

This blog is an extension of an email I sent to my mailing list on 3 August, 2015. In the email I explained the impact that dealing with chronic pain and migraines has had on my creative output this year. So, just a heads-up, if you’re only reading this part, it may seem a little mid-thought jumping in here… to avoid such lapses in the future, maybe you’d like to sign up for my emails? Click here to do so.

     There are people who have it FAR worse than I do. For one thing, I really don’t have reason to believe that my current health condition is going to be permanent, but meanwhile there are many who suffer in ways that they’ll never be alleviated or cured from. Yet even from my micro-version of “being sick for too long a period of time,” I’ve been confronted with many questions about what it means to have “value” and “worth,” especially given the way our society is currently constructed. And I think maybe I owe it to everyone worse off to get these thoughts on the table.

The messaging being hammered home ever since the first blow to my health in January 2014, is that ours is a society for the robust, not the frail. The robust are rewarded, and their reward justifies their existence. I am not robust right now. I am frail. Therefore, our society is not for me, and my existence receives no justification by our society.

Continue reading

Attack of the Squares!

Please note that for the purpose of this post, I’m using the word “square” to mean “square or rectangle” – any plane with 4 sides and 4 right-angled corners. I prefer the way “square” rolls off the tongue and I also appreciate that it represents “Earth” in the Chinese way of thought (something I’ll touch on at the end of this post.)

I had a pretty intense week, and part of this had to do with squares. Squares are everywhere and when you start to see them, it’s hard not to be a little irritated. What’s that you say? It’s *not* hard for you to not be irritated by squares? You mean one’s irritation is a direct reflection of something going on inside herself rather than the object of that irritation alone? Do tell! I’ve realized that squares are just the symbol my mind latched onto in order to call my attention, once again, to an ongoing issue that floats around my consciousness… the issue of FORMAT. Squares serve me as a metaphor for structures and formats through which we receive stories and information. I said something last week to that effect on Facebook, actually:

Ever thought about how visual-based news and entertainment (reading/ watching) comes to you off/ out of a rectangle? Always always. Audio-based news and entertainment is only shaped by the 4th dimension (time). It’s all around you. I think it’s important to appreciate and place value on our ability to experience the world in an auditory way for many reasons, but this is a majorly forgotten one: it’s good to take a break from rectangle-mode.

Continue reading

10,000 hours

“… it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.”

quote from: http://www.wisdomgroup.com/blog/10000-hours-of-practice/

It is expensive to create the quality of music-recording that I’m now experienced enough and skilled enough and should be expected to be creating. Too expensive.

The problem is found in simple mathematics: The value of the resources involved (labour, equipment, etc.) v. the fact that in today’s music industry there’s less income resulting from the creation of such quality music. It doesn’t and cannot add up.

Think about the quote above. There are only so many “10,000 hours” in a person’s lifetime. And just like any other professional person who values efficiency, I want as absolutely many of my 10,000s going toward the thing(s) I’m truly going to be able to make a contribution to the world with and build my vocation upon. I want to spill as little of my remaining reserves on doing things that shouldn’t be necessary for someone to do in order to just do their real job.

That is why even the most well-meaning suggestions to take on a side-gig are not practical in application: because putting in hours on a side-gig helps you master that thing and deters you from continued mastery at your real job where you can make your real contribution to this world.  (I know this from experience, by the way.)

Every idea I come up with to make ends meet in my career in the current climate feels like I’m suggesting “drrrr… yard sale?” to try to resolve a stock market crash. Continue reading