INTERVIEW: Beth Martinez
Written by Cameron Capers
Photo: Drunken Werewolf
After the dust settled from SXSW, we chatted with Beth Martinez - founder of L.A based music PR company Danger Village. Working with artists including Bishop Briggs, Astronauts, etc, and Travelers. We spoke about what it’s like being a woman in the music industry and how we need to address victims of sexual harassment in the interview below.
First off, I wanted to say I have a lot of respect for you, Amber Coffman, Bethany Cosentino and all the other women and men who helped shed light on Heathcliff Berru’s actions. As I was following the story, one of the most alarming details I noticed is a lot of these women that were harassed didn’t say anything for years….what steps can we take throughout the music community to open dialogue about sexual harassment toward women?
Thank you. I think that just by being open with our experiences and sharing what we’ve gone through is helping to make men understand that all women face harassment. Women tend to only share our stories with each other because we’re faced with disbelief and rebuttals from men. I think that men should listen more and believe women’s stories. There seems to be a prevailing attitude that men are raised with in that there is a belief that women lie about being raped. That is statistically not true. Almost no one lies about rape, so it’s a false assumption that women are lying about these things. That attitude needs to change.
Even though it’s 2016, we still live in a very male dominated society. With you being a successful women in the music business, have you found yourself being treated negatively by men throughout your career?
These things are very subtle, but I do think that I’ve had an uphill battle in being respected in what I do. I’m not a complainer and I don’t victimize myself, so it’s not something I put too much thought into recently, but I’m realizing now that a lot of the feelings of being an outsider in the music industry came from not being part of the dominant Boys Club that rules the old school music world. I think a lot of the older music industry men realize that they can’t control me, so I often just get shut out in certain situations. There’s not really a way to prove this, but from hearing so many other women’s stories in the past few months, I am putting two and two together here and things are clicking in my mind of why things have been the way they have been.
There are women doing amazing things for music but are still bogged down by double standards and fear of speaking when it comes to traumatizing experiences. What will it take for women to be given the same status and respect as men?
I think it will just take a changing of the guard for women to be given the same status and respect as men in the music industry. A lot of men in their early twenties seem appalled by hearing about so much sexual harassment, while older men are keeping their mouths shut, or saying things behind doors because they know that this is what has been going on in the music industry. With the changes in the industry in the past few years, a lot of the men who treated women badly are no longer finding work. Maybe it’s karma for having treated artists and women so badly for so long. The music industry reaps what it sows. I think if we invest in talented good people of all genders, races, etc, we’ll eventually be able to turn around what was once a misogynistic industry, and thus inspire the world to do the same.
On a larger scale outside of music, what advice would you give to young women looking to make a career in a male dominated field?
My advice to women looking to make a career in a male dominated field is to treat yourself with ultimate respect, and others will follow. You’re a leader, and how you treat yourself - how you take care of yourself, how you talk about yourself, how you feel about yourself - will lead others to treat you the same way. When you act like a leader, others will follow.
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