Required Reading: Half Waif’s Nandi Rose Plunkett on being “the girl in the band”

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Nandi Plunkett | photo by Tonje Thilesen via https://www.facebook.com/HalfWaif/

If you haven’t noticed by now, we at The Key are big fans of Pinegrove and Half Waif, two New Jersey bands that share a common denominator in Nandi Rose Plunkett. Both groups find Plunkett as the sole woman, one in a keyboards-backing vocals situation and the other as the founding, writing, and recording frontwoman. In other words, she is a musical force to be reckoned with.

Why, then, in 2017 – especially in an industry that theoretically draws the creatives, the open minds, the dreamers – do we find Plunkett responding to slews of misogynist aggressions against her being simply because that being is female? After originally posting last month on Twitter in response to comments on her part in Pinegrove, Nandi Plunkett has penned an extraordinarily eloquent, insightful, and sharp long-form piece published by Esquire on what it means to be “the girl in the band,” what it feels like to be a woman constantly silenced and disregarded and dismissed as a girl, as a girlfriend, as a pretty face but nothing more.

Her essay speaks for itself, highlighting Plunkett’s gift with words and powerful lines as it cuts straight to the heart of her experience and the larger problems that are faced every day by women across the world.

It is a tiresome prospect, to have to keep defending my passion and career against the onslaught of some inconceivable prejudice. I feel caught, against my will, in some idiotic pantomime of no progress. No, I am not someone’s girlfriend trying to sneak back into the green room before a show. Yes, I understand how my own gear works and have, in fact, built up the muscles to carry it. Don’t turn down my vocals in the mix. Don’t ignore me when you high-five my bandmates one by one. And don’t call me “The Girl.” You would never say, “Does the boy need help setting up his rig?” You wouldn’t ask a man if he needs help, and you wouldn’t call a 28-year-old man a boy—and no one would know which boy you mean because everyone else on stage is likely a man anyway. So why do those words seem acceptable to you when they are aimed at me?

Click here to read the article in full, published by Esquire on June 20th.

For too long we have been told what a woman should and shouldn’t be. I want it all, to embody the multitudes of possibility. And at the end of the day, I want to sit inside my room and dance with the task of knowing myself. After all, I’m just a being who loves music, looking to turn down the rest of the noise.

 Catch Half Waif opening for Mitski at Union Transfer on July 7th. For more information, see the XPN Concert Calendar.

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