2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Nicola Leel)
by Steven Spoerl
Doe made several appearances on this site over 2015, from mixtapes to several Watch This appearances. Their subversive brand of pop-punk that owed more to the gritty roots of the latter than the polished gloss of the former landed with considerable force. After 2014’s brilliant First Four compilation, Doe followed it up with two memorably impressive entries for Fierce Panda’s singles series. Nicola Leel, the band’s central driving force, was kind enough to lend her talents to this series and submitted a piece that focuses on the inspiring strength and resilience of a few of the women who dominated the industry in 2015. Read it below and make sure you’re doing your part to combat sexism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head.
The most impactful moments of 2015 for me were not my own, but those of all the women who went out of their way to make things better in the music industry, quite often putting themselves in the path of online abuse to do so. In previous years there were defining highlights, but in 2015 there seemed to be a constant stream of positive movements building to form a wider shift and pathway for change.
Seeing people like Sadie Dupuis, Lauren Mayberry and Girls Against taking active steps to change the culture of sexism was so important, creating a ripple effect so others were able to acknowledge their own experiences. To varying degrees, these women sent the message that what we’ve become used to is not acceptable. The mere act of speaking out against something from a position of power can and does have so much impact in filtering through to others.
Meanwhile, Sleater-Kinney dominated the mainstream, returning after a ten year hiatus. A band that spent their formative years championing discussion of the female experience, S-K reached a wider audience than ever before and were embraced by long term fans and new listeners.
In the UK and beyond, festival organizers were forced to answer for themselves when people started flagging the abysmal representation of women on bills. Edited posters of what the line ups looked like without the men called to light something that had been happening for years – women were being ignored. Suddenly this wasn’t OK anymore.
This is just a tiny snippet of what was going on – and I’m not saying 2015 was the year things got fixed by any means, but huge steps were made in the right direction and moments like these paved the way for more to come. It really felt that across the board sexism and misogyny became less tolerated, experiences of such were more widely talked about, pressure was put on individuals — and the industry as a whole — to make changes. Here’s to more of that in 2016 and beyond.