Professional Sound - August 2022 | Page 40

I think that that is a problem , no matter who you are . It ’ s hard to get into the industry , right ? It ’ s not easy for anybody . But we talked about mentorship and a lot of the women in the book said they had no mentors . That ’ s hard , because if nobody sees you worthy of teaching , then how do you progress ? You ’ re just on your own with what ? YouTube ? Sure , but that ’ s not going to keep you proficient and the hands-on stuff is really important . So , all you can do is bide your time , chase people around , try to work your way up , and build your own thing .
Ebonie Smith has built her own thing with Gender Amplified . So , you make your own clubs , do your own things , and if you do it right and you do it well enough , then people start going , “ Oh , well , I want to be over there and do what they ’ re doing . What are they up to ?” So , she talks about that in the book .
But the gals that came up in a slightly different time , it was interesting hearing Sylvia Massy say that she saw more women , and that for a while she was seeing fewer and that when she was coming up , she saw them all the time coming in and out of the studio , and so on . That ’ s fascinating that there was a shift there , and it ’ s great that she did see them , because what if she hadn ’ t ? Where would we be ?
Obviously , that ’ s not the 100 % contributor , because all of us have pushed forward even when we didn ’ t see anyone . So , that just shows even more how much we love it . But it also shows that it can be just as innate in us as anybody . It feels almost
silly saying that , but for so long , there has been a subset of “ sciences ” that believe that the brains are different and that we don ’ t have aptitudes and we ’ re not interested . So , I think that some of those outdated ideas also creep in , in terms of becoming a barrier …
And there are different frustrations or different things that people are dealing with . That ’ s why in some of the conversations we talked about getting home safely late at night . Like , do you burn out ? Do you get career fatigue from worrying about getting home safe , worrying about personal safety , when you ’ re dealing with people being passive aggressive towards you and making comments in the studio about , for example , “ Wow , you ’ re going to assist ?” I think Abhita Austin talks about some of her experiences in the book when she was working at a big studio . She was harassed so much by one of the clients at the studio that she finally left .
PS : For the men who have influence in the industry or even within a specific studio , what can they actively do to improve this situation ?
Maire : Well , mentor women . If you find someone you think is brilliant , mentor them , but be aware that they might be nervous or scared or uncomfortable , because some of our experiences are not the same . We might learn a little differently because we ’ ve been educated differently , or because we are still scared or nervous . Guess what , people don ’ t learn well or retain information when they ’ re scared or nervous . And so , it takes time for people to be comfortable .
We ’ re also aware of stereotype threat . Maybe not cognitively aware , but subconsciously , stereotype threat also influences people ’ s performance and learning capabilities . And so , if you ’ re working with somebody who ’ s a minority of any group , or they ’ re aware that they ’ re the only one of that group in that learning situation , they may not retain information well for a while until they feel comfortable and supported . So , I would say , if you ’ re up for mentoring somebody , just be aware of how that might be a little different .
I think it ’ s also important , when you talk to people about the person that you ’ re mentoring , if you ’ re trying to help them advance , be aware of the politeness perception , because we do get talked about differently , right ? If you ’ re writing a letter of recommendation and all the things that you ’ re saying about this person , even though they ’ re nice things , are more about their personality , and how they ’ re kind and sweet and so on , but you never talk about what they do technically , about how good at their job they are , then you de-professionalize them . Obviously , we all want to hire nice and honest people , absolutely , but I do think that sometimes we get recommended and spoken about a little differently …
So , if you ’ re going to mentor somebody , make sure that you ’ re up for understanding where they might be coming from , and challenge yourself to look at how you share information with others . That ’ s always a good place to start if you ’ re going to be a teacher and mentor , anyway . I taught audio and recording for a while and it was always challenging , because I would have people who had no technical background or had very bad educational experiences , male or female , depending on the socio-economic makeup of the students I had . And so , I had to stop and think about how I was going to teach them so that they could reach their potential , because it isn ’ t about me showing off my knowledge .
I think that that can be a hurdle sometimes , because people will be like , “ Well , I know all this stuff , just absorb it . Watch me do it and if you don ’ t catch on , you ’ re not meant for this job .” So , why is that the attitude ? What are you protecting in that moment ? That ’ s up to every individual to have that conversation with themselves . It ’ s emotional , it ’ s personal , and there ’ s a lot of people who have probably had terrible experiences throughout their career , and we carry that baggage , but we shouldn ’ t pass it on to the people that we ’ re trying to help .