I get a lot of questions about sexism in marching arts on here.
“Are people on drumlines sexist?” “Is it harder to audition if you’re a girl?” “Do you have a hard time fitting in because you’re a girl?” etc.
The short and painful answer is yes. Yes there are men in ensembles that will treat you differently and unfairly. There are women who will accuse you of being every name under the sun. And as hard as it is to admit, there are organizations out there who will make snap judgements based on the fact that you are female.
I once marched with two young men who HATED me, absolutely hated me, partly because of my confidence and the way that I carry myself. Now obviously that is a long story with a lot of he said/she said and I could go on and on about how they felt and how we each reacted to one another. But one of the comments they said has rolled around in my head for a long time;
“She thinks she’s so pretty and such a good performer. It’s so annoying.”
Yeah. They had a problem with me because I believed in myself. I doubt very seriously that had I been a boy I would have been treated or received as negatively.
That’s the catch 22 of being a girl on a drumline sometimes. If you’re silent you’re weak. If you speak up you’re a bitch. If you’re friendly you’re a slut. If you’re standoffish your (again) a bitch. I’ve met a lot of female drummers who are so negative and down on their playing ability when they’re just as good as the guys next to them. You’re allowed to think you’re good.
The thing that makes it all tolerable is that these are isolated, pockets of incidents. For every sexist comment or jerk I have received, I’ve gotten 10 compliments. I’ve made more friends than enemies. I have more brothers than I know what to do with.
The reality is, it’s 2015 and we need to talk about the way we treat each other. Women are strong, and tough, and just as ALPHA as men are. But they’re also people who make mistakes and should be shown the same forgiveness, understanding, and chances at redemption.
So the long answer is yes, you’re going to experience sexism in this activity. It’s not just in batteries, it will be in all sections and experiences. You’re going to experience it in life too. That doesn’t mean you should stop trying, or pushing yourself to be better. Stand up for yourself. Raise your voice. Believe in your abilities. Beat back those negative voices that say you can’t until they’re gone forever. You can do this. Now go do it.