There are probably a lot of reasons why I didn't continue drumming in junior high, but I think one might be this idea or feeling I got that said, girls don't play drums.
A couple weeks ago, I read an interesting article for my creative writing class. It was about gender stereotypes. The author used the Let Toys Be Toys campaign as a sort of springboard to talk about children's books. Basically, the article is all about this idea that we shouldn't be labeling interests as a boy interest or a girl interest. Just let toys be toys and books be books.
I'd like to add: let drums be drums!
The author, Tricia Lowther, says, "Typical themes for boys include robots, dinosaurs, astronauts, vehicles, football and pirates; while girls are allowed princesses, fairies, make-up, flowers, butterflies, fashion, and cute animals. There's nothing wrong with these things, but it is wrong when they are repeatedly presented as only for on gender. Girls can like pirates and adventure, boys can like magic and dressing up."
If you went back in time and interviewed me at 13 years old and asked if I was quitting drums because girls don't play drums, I'd probably tell you, "No. That doesn't matter to me."
I'd think of a million other excuses to give you. And some of them might be true. Like I said, there were probably many reasons why I quit. At the heart of all these reasons, though, I think you'd find that I just wanted to fit in. (Who doesn't at age 13?) In the end, I'd be lying to you. I probably, very much, felt that girls don't play drums, and I'd be better off in choir or doing some other kind of interest that was more readily acceptable for a girl.
Tricia Lowther says, "Children are individuals. They should feel free to choose their own interests, not feel that they're supposed to like or reject certain things."
How I wish I had known that in 7th grade. In the very least, I wish my band teacher had approached me and encouraged me to stick with drums. I didn't feel valued as a percussionist. I needed someone to say out loud, "You know, drums aren't just for boys," and show me some great women drummers like Cindy Blackman, Jen Ledger, Stefanie Eulinberg, etc.
I love that today we have programs like the Hit Like A Girl Contest. As stated on their website, their "purpose is to spotlight female drummers/percussionists and encourage drumming and lifelong musicianship for girls and women, regardless of age or playing level."
As part of my creative writing homework, I had to create a character who broke gender stereotypes, so a girl that likes typically things boys like or a boy that likes things girls usually like. My character is a 15 year old girl who plays the drums. I got an A on the assignment, which was good news for my grade, but sad news that the stereotype still exists.
If you know girls who play the drums, keep encouraging them. Don't let them quit like I did. It's super hard to get back to it as an adult. I'd glad I am. I love Drum Ambition. It's just hard.
Yeah--- let's kill the gender stereotype. Let's let drums be drums.