I recently attended the Emmy music branch networking event, honoring the nominees with a composer friend who happens to be a woman. She noticed that often she is ignored during conversations or not taken seriously as a composer while the men were. This bothered me and so I reached out to her to discuss what can us guys who want to support our fellow composers in similar situations do better? In consultation with my friend, composer Miriam Meyer, we came up with these 10 tips.
1. Introduce her as a composer.
2. If she does multiple things make sure you introduce her as a composer FIRST!
For example: This is my friend Jane, she’s a wonderful composer and orchestrator.
3. Don’t just talk about yourself, make sure you leave space for others to jump in the conversation.
4. Direct questions to her so she can speak up for herself.
For example: What have you been working on lately? What’s your connection to this event?
5. Talk up her talents and strengths
For example: Jane has a real gift for melody
6. Bring up her accomplishments.
For example: Jane just won best score at the LA Independent Film Festival for a short she scored, what was that film called again?
7. If she’s not participating in the conversation because it’s veered away, try to bring her back into it by directing questions to her.
For example: Do you know so & so? Or what do you think about such and such?
8. Don’t ignore her when you’re in a group.
9. Don’t comment on her looks or what she’s wearing. While you may intend it as a compliment you’re unintentionally focusing on the superficial instead of what matters.
10. Try to imagine how you’d want someone to treat you if the situation was reversed and do that.
Furthermore, if you’re ever in a situation where you discuss a fellow composer who happens to be a woman, don’t refer to her as a “female composer” just say “composer” nobody says “male composer” so let’s not say “female composer.”