Teen Girl Band Gives Epic Response To Judge Who Told Them To “Use The Sultry”

Kalliope Jones, a teen girl band from Massachusetts, were docked points at the Tri-County Fair Battle Of The Bands in Northampton for not being “sultry” enough. Given that they are only 14-16 years old, they’re not too happy about it and say this wouldn’t have happened if they were boys — which of course it wouldn’t.

In the category of “Showmanship,” the panel gave the band a 3 out of 5, with one judge including this in his notes:

- Good outfitting style-matches music style well
– ♥ the sultry in bassist voice + Guitar singer’s too
– Use the sultry to draw in the crowd.
– Audience participation opportunities missed

The judge, however, did give them an additional point with a note saying “Chicks Rock!”

The band, which consists of Isabella DeHerdt, 16, on vocals and guitar; 14-year-old Alouette Batteau on drums and vocals; and Amelia Chalfant, 14, on bass, had some words for that judge, and responded to the criticism in a post on their Facebook page.

Today, we played at the Tri-County Fair at a Battle of the Bands for ages 12-16. Everyone played spectacularly.

There were three judges who decided who got first, second, and third place in the competition, and they ranked each band on different aspects of musicality and performance. They also commented on what each band’s strong points were and how they could improve. After they gave out awards, everyone received the judges’ sheets so they could look at the said comments.

We received third place, a cash prize and gift certificates. In the comments, we were told to “use our sultry to draw in the crowd.” We ended up losing points for not utilizing this aspect enough. As Amelia Chalfant said, “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! WE ARE 14-16 YEARS OLD.” The judges tried to say they meant it as a positive thing; that it was supposed to mean “soulful”. They did not understand why we confronted them about it.

From Merriam Webster -
Sultry
: very hot and humid
: attractive in a way that suggests or causes feelings of sexual desire
We then asked if they had made similar comments to any of the bands that were made up of only boys. 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.

The fact that they made these glaring and crude, sexist and stereotypical notes about our performance was made worse by the fact that they did so while drinking beer, blowing their bloated beery breath in our faces. It was astonishing , revolting, and VERY offensive. We are grateful to have ranked among the top three performers (who, by the way, besides us, were all boys), but 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.

Oh my god, I love these girls. Good for them! It is so great to see young girls standing up for themselves and not taking any shit like this. My cold, cold heart is warmed.

And yet, it gets even better! Because bass player Amelia Chalfant’s mother just so happens to be Katryna Nields, of The Nields — who have actually been one of my favorite folk bands since I saw them open for Dar Williams back in the 90s. She had some words for the judges as well.

“That is not acceptable to say to a 14 year old. (That) sex appeal is part of rock N roll – male or female. No one felt the urge to talk to the 14 yr old adorable boys to grind their hips a bit more. This is a double standard that goes far beyond the music business. 14 yr old boys are just cute boys. 14 yr old girls are sex objects. Unacceptable and I am proud of these girls for speaking out about it. (Judges) feel free to tell them to practice; to write catchier songs; to have better transitions between songs; to connect with their audience; but don’t tell them they are sultry and they should use that to connect with the audience. We have to look at this. (Whether it is a) reality in the world or not, it is not acceptable.”

It’s not! Quite honestly, I think we’d have much better music in the world right now if this weren’t a reality. And I don’t mean that in a slut-shamey way at all–if a (grown) woman wants to incorporate sex appeal in her act, then that’s great, but it shouldn’t be any kind of requirement and therein lies the problem.

On Tuesday morning, the band responded again on their Facebook page saying that they didn’t mean to demonize the judges, just to call attention to what they felt was a problem in the music industry in general–and to say that they wish to be judged on their musicality and talent rather than their appearance and sex appeal.

These girls are super bad ass, clearly have their head on their shoulders and I hope they go on to do great things! Check out one of their previous performances on YouTube!

[MassLive]