Kalliope Jones – a Massachusetts-based all-girl band made up of 14 to 16 year olds – was told by judges at their local Three County Fair Battle of the Bands competition that they needed to “use the sultry to draw in the crowd” to take home the top prize.
Outraged by the judges’ comments, the girls took to their Facebook page on Saturday, Sept. 6, to explain why they deemed their critique inappropriate.
“A woman’s sex appeal, or anyone’s for that matter, should not be the defining factor in their success in the music industry, and in addition to that, WE ARE CHILDREN!” reads the statement. “WE ARE 14-16 YEARS OLD.”
According to the statement, the judges said they meant their critique to be a positive thing, and did not understand why the band confronted them about their word choice.
“We then asked if they had made similar comments to any of the bands that were made up of only boys,” continues the post. “They said, ‘Oh, no. It is a completely different thing.’ Actually, it really isn’t. This conspicuous act of sexist and stereotypical thinking was deplorable and pathetic.”
While the band says they are thankful for their third place prize, they felt they were ultimately judged unfairly.
“To be judged on our sex appeal and told that we need to be more sexy in order to make it as musicians goes against everything we have been taught,” concludes the statement.
On Monday, the band released a second statement, clarifying that they did not “want to be demonizing or offending the judges, sponsors, or fair organizers by making this announcement. Nor do we want to be exaggerating what happened. We only want to bring it to attention.”
“We understand that the judges may not have even realized that what they said was sexist; it’s just what many define the music industry as these days,” it continues. “Our goal is to educate people who think this, and change the paradigm. We sincerely hope the judges made an honest mistake in their use of the word ‘sultry,’ and that they, the sponsors, and the fair organizers join us in eradicating sexism wherever it may show up.”
The Three County Fair did not respond to requests for comment.