Mystery, intrigue, gender and guitars



So we have wrapped up the first week of blogging. I have since regretted not making my blog posts anonymous. Paradoxically, I feel I would divulge more personal information if I had not disclosed my identity. I should’ve made my identity a mystery, allowing you, our dear and large audience, suspense and intrigue and allowing myself more freedom. Alas, it was not meant to be. I gave it all away. And hence, we realise I am a no good at concealment (perhaps, an amicable trait in a journalist). And, so I have decided to go the other way around: Giving it all away through a couple of bylines and snatching it back piece by piece.

I may or my not have (sneaky, ya?) recently written a profile for the Sunday Post about Tashea Nicole Delaney, a rock/metal guitarist from Jakarta. When writing a profile, you face the usual conundrum — what to include and what not to include. Personally, I am interested in finding out what journalists don’t include in their stories and their subsequent reasons. So, I thought I would share what I didn’t include in my profile of Tashea.

Rick Harris

Hmm ... multimedia. Photo: Rick Harris

When I arrived to interview Tashea (as you will read in the story), I waited for her to ready herself for the photo shoot. In the meantime, I chatted with her dad, Jim, about how the Indonesian media had pitted Tashea against another talented guitarist, Prisa. He explained that the two girls had completely different styles and different influences.

Therefore, the main point of similarity is their gender.

I thought: Why should two guitarists be compared on gender, and not on style?

I asked Tashea about what she thought about being compared to Prisa. This was her response:

Nothing bothers me. It doesn’t bring my mood down or, like, make me lose my faith in playing the guitar or making my music. It just makes you want to keep on doing better. And just prove to the people that you are good, that you are great. Stuff like that doesn’t bother me at all. Individually, I know that we are both different. I have my own style. She has her own style. It is up to people if they want to compare.

Later in the interview she said:

What I don’t like is sometimes, and this is anywhere, I have heard people say this to other chicks, “Yeah you are good – for a girl”. I mean I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be compared to a girl. I want to be compared to a guy. Because I know that I can play just as good and maybe even better that any other guy.

Maybe the can play, but can they perform on stage in front of a big crowd? And give them a good performance? Can you write music? Understand the music that you play? Do you know what you are playing? Are you just playing?

I didn’t include these quotes not because I was dissatisfied with the response, but rather because the quotes  I did include gave a better indication of Tashea’s personality and what is important to her. The quotes included were higher up my priority list. Furthermore, I was conscious not to promulgate any preconceptions the media has based on gender, and I was conscious not to reinforce such an easy, and perhaps unjustified, comparison.

Why should successful women have to answer questions about gender? Why should Tashea have to answer questions about what is like to be a chick that plays guitar?


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4 Responses to “Mystery, intrigue, gender and guitars”

  1. bellesbits Says:

    Oh she plays so awesomely! I want to be her. Or have her genetically-blessed babies. Or at least steal her guitar.

    How frustrating though for a talented muso to have to put up with such crap. So the Indonesian media’s no different from the Australian media, or anywhere else. Seems the ‘ohmygod, attractive women playing guitars/doing any other activity that brings attention that is remotely termed as a man hobby’ angle never gets old. Actually it’s some lazy arse unoriginal journo going for the cheap shot because it’s a sure-fire attention grabber.

    That’s the thing though… why does it always work? Why does the ‘hot chick doing something considered kinda masculine’ story, so often recycled, still work (are male readers of this blog rolling their eyes and saying… errr, duh, cause she’s hot?!). And would the media have even paid attention if she wasn’t? And if the readers keep falling for it, what does it say about them?

    Every time women like this are put up on a pedestal for their talents by the media on one hand, they’re being slapped in the face, or patted on the head, with the other.

    Thanks for walking us through your writing decisions. V interesting. Something I grapple with and think about all the time.

  2. jemise Says:

    Wendy Bacon would be so proud.

  3. Marline Says:

    yes she doing well i can see the way she play and her soul and ♥ and very clean tunes. is that the way you doing with spontaneous because with out any other beat 🙂 by the way you doing well at jakarta blues festival with Syaharanie . i saw you doing hard play janis joplin with out any instrument accept your alone with the gibson guitar omg you are damn good !!!! we Salut with you 🙂

    its good if you dont like to be compared to other . yes you have defrent style .

    You are really true Rock and Roll Tashea Forever !!!!!

    i saw your profile at myspace

    Keep on Rock and Roll Tashea .

  4. Jim Delaney Says:

    Just wanted to say that I enjoyed chatting with you before Taseha’s interview. I like to thank you for your honesty and tast as it is much appreciate by both myself and Tashea. We both wish you all the best. Cheers

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