© Alisdare Hickson https://bit.ly/3oPpfXh CC BY-SA 2.0

What the “Girl Band” nonsense says about modern Ireland.

I don’t like writing outrage pieces. As a rule of thumb, I try to stay well away from them. Journalism in a nutshell has become nothing but a cacophony of outrage in recent years and I begrudge adding to that stereotype. However, I feel I must momentarily abandon my principles and express my own outrage, although disbelief and derision might be more appropriate terms.

A reasonably well known, Dublin-based musical act known as ‘Girl Band’ have got their knickers in a bit of a twist in recent days. The self described post-punk band, comprising of an all-male lineup took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that they had changed their name from ‘Girl Band’ to ‘Gilla Band’. Nothing shocking or newsworthy there. However, what is rather incredible, dare I say, ridiculous, is the reason why they changed their name.

According to the band’s Twitter feed, the band’s name was an unintentional act of misgendering and the public deserved an apology for ‘Girl Band’ propagating a culture of non-inclusivity in music’. What a heinous crime.

Newly baptised and christened Gilla Band stated, ‘we apologise for choosing a misgendered name in the first place and to anyone who has been hurt or affected by it’. The band continued, stating that they chose their own musical stage name out of ‘a place of naivety and ignorance’, but that regardless of their intentions ‘the effect of the name has been damaging to individuals’.

Doesn’t sound like the typical statement or manifesto of any punk bands I know or grew up listening to. Some readers might be old enough to remember a time when musical artists were actually anti-establishment figures who were praised and idolised due to their defiant, loud, and outspoken opinions and beliefs. However, long gone are the days of Sum41 roaring into the microphone that they will not ‘become another victim of your conformity’, or Rage Against the Machine screaming so beautifully; ‘f*ck you, I won’t do what you tell me’. No, those days are gone and instead we are left with snivelling musicians who bend and sway to the ever changing tide of public opinion.

Moreover, have we truly become that sensitive that the name of a band could offend us? I honestly do not think so. I think this is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to receive increased media attention and retweets to promote upcoming gigs and events. The headline of their own tweet simply reads, ‘We are changing our band name. We are also playing some shows in Dublin in January.’ As I said, thinly veiled.

By announcing this artistic dribble to the world, Girl Band naturally came to the attention of every major Irish publication, from RTÉ to the Journal, from DublinLive to The Irish Sun. Additionally, they made it to the headlines of major music magazines and publications such as NME and Pitchfork. Jaysus, fancy that, lads. You’d almost think they planned it. For there is nothing in the 21st century quite like a public apology for drumming up attention and coverage.

Albeit this is little more than artistic dribble as I said, what I do find quite funny in this story is that ‘Gilla Band’ had taken their original name of ‘Girl Band’ in an attempt to subvert typical gender expectations when they originally formed many moons ago in 2011. Effectively, they were culturally progressive when they started, but ten years later they are not progressive enough and as the saying goes; the left seeks traitors. To stay relevant in the progressive music industry, Girl Band chose to update it’s image rather than face the backlash of the woke mob who are constantly in the business of developing new jargon in an attempt to subvert cisgender, heteronormative Western belief systems that are allegedly predicated on an outdated binary gender system and caste. See what I did there?

Call me cynical and bigoted, but it seems to me that this announcement is not an act of artistic expression, but a blatant attempt to leverage woke ideology in lieu of greater media attention and ticket sales. Perhaps it’s about time that Girl Band developed some testicular fortitude. I can’t speak for readers, but this writer will continue misgendering Girl Band in the future and pretend that I am still listening to them as if it was 2011 once again.

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