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Digitial Humanities @ uOttawa


Research has shown that rock is synonymous with cisgendered, heterosexual, white men, an issue that persists on Canadian Active Rock radio. Despite this, there are empowered artists working hard to change the genre’s image, by breaking down barriers in the face of oppression. For example, in the last five year period of our dataset, women are appearing on the charts in higher numbers. Actually, it might suffice to say that women are appearing in the charts, because from 2010 to 2016 they were only included as part of mixed gender ensembles. 2SLGBTQ+ artists are not represented in large numbers, however they do play key roles, as 71% of the 2SLGBTQ+ artists are lead vocalists in their bands (including Grace from Against Me!). Another positive result from the dataset is the prominence and support of Laura Jane Grace, a transgender woman, as she made a very public transition part-way through her career in the rock industry. Racially, there are higher percentages of diversity than gender and sexuality in active rock bands. Interestingly, bands with a BIPOC artist have more women than the overall average. There were more Canadian songs on the Top 100 charts than any other country, but unfortunately the Canadian bands are not a diverse group. In the end, despite the racism, sexism, and homophobia, there are marginalized artists on the charts and that gives us hope that the genre can change. While we are not listeners to active rock radio, we have found an appreciation for the BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+ and women artists that have worked hard to get their message and music across in a space resounding with white male noise.