Since the inception of She Shreds, one of our biggest priorities has always focused on changing and shifting marketing tactics in the guitar industry—as well as the music industry as a whole—to reflect inclusivity, visibility, and respectful representation of women. This can obviously mean so many things, and impact people in a number of ways.

Besides simply putting women at the front as musicians, performers, engineers, builders, legends, pioneers, executives, and heroes, we’ve made huge strides in eliminating the “sex sells” mentality—a tactic that has always been incredibly restraining as women in the fields of music performing/engineering. That’s why when Guitar World made the decision to call off their annual “bikini gear guide,” we knew this had gone from “hope” to “essential.”

As Fender reported in September of 2017: 50% of guitar buyers from the last five years are women. What does that mean? It means that as an industry, we all have to figure out a way to discuss, promote, and engage with players of all genders, and skill level (to say the least). And as readers and consumers—in order to exist within an industry that we actually want to participate and grow in—it’s important for us to vocalize our opinions and discuss what  does speak to us versus what doesn’t.

Therefore, we bring you our monthly series of Is This Offensive?. An interactive conversation that starts on our Instagram story in which we showcase marketing tactics (advertising, Instagram images, and ways in which companies depict themselves through images and language) and rather than have our own singular opinion released out into the world, we allow our readers to take a vote and share their opinions.

Points to consider:

  • All images shared will not be older than five years unless otherwise noted
  • Please be honest. This is a way for us all to understand and learn each other’s perspectives
  • There is no “right” or “wrong” answer. We won’t judge you for voting any which way. We simply want your honest feedback in hopes of educating our industry.
  • We will be showcasing a wide range of marketing approaches. Some obviously sexist, some totally empowering, and some incredibly confusing. Up to you to decide how it speaks to you.

Our first episode of Is This Offensive? features a Vancouver B.C. based recording studio who used a photo on their Instagram, which also lived as the image to their homepage background. We asked you for your vote and thoughts and here’s how you responded:

Note: We have reached out to the company to obtain some context. This article will be updated when we hear back.

Out of the 1,710 people that voted: 58% voted YES, it’s offensive and 42% voted NO, it’s not offensive.

The majority of you felt that it was encouraging rape culture in music and sexualizing/objectifying women:

Some of you described your own experiences:

Others that voted yes offered advice:

Those that voted no, saw the image as empowering:

One guy was pissed for some reason:

And a good amount of you all were pretty dang confused:

Hope we can all learn from so many different perspectives. Catch y’all next month for Is This Offensive? #2! Have you seen an ad or image recently we should discuss? Leave it in the comments below!