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.
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?