Former groupie Kamila Rymajdo
Former groupie Kamila Rymajdo

Erotic Capital As A Gender Equalizer?

... The word “groupie” has traditionally carried negative connotations. So much so that in the 2000 film Almost Famous, Penny Lane derides another character who dares describe her as such. She says she’s a ‘band aid’ – a woman who inspires musicians simply by being there, deviating attention away from any sexual relationships. But why is sleeping with musicians seen as such a bad thing? If a man decided to sleep exclusively with musicians, would he get called a groupie? I think we all know the answer to that. But moreover, the traditional perception of a groupie as a powerless woman positions the male musician as someone taking advantage, and the sexual exchange which takes place is always perceived as something negative. It shouldn’t be that way though. There’s power to be gained in sleeping with people.

Just after I got dumped, I also stumbled upon a book called Honey Money by the feminist writer Catherine Hakim. Her shtick is that along with economic, cultural and social capital there is also erotic capital, a currency we can all tap into to become more successful. Erotic capital is more than just being fit, although that is definitely part of it, but also includes other factors such as charisma, grace, social skills, self-presentation and vitality. It applies to both sexes and you don’t have to be in an explicitly sexual situation for it to give you a leg up – in my opinion people like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have definitely used it to advance their humanitarian missions. Generally, the people who utilise their erotic capital are those who know their strengths and how to use them to get what they want. With austerity getting harsher and the divide between rich and poor widening, erotic capital is one form of capital available to society at large. So I, for one, think Hakim is one of the most relevant thinkers going right now.

By the time I decided to set up a club night with my friends as an antidote to the predominantly male dominated Hip Hop scene in Manchester, I’d already had sex with a '90s rapper from Brooklyn. He danced to the up-and-coming Manchester band I played him while telling me about hustling for a living in the Projects, and the following week I was at an afterparty rendezvous with the guitarist of said up-and-coming-band. However, I can date my adoration of musicians way back to when I was 18 and, heart-eyed, had asked Mark Ronson to autograph a tenner when he played at Sankeys. I didn’t have his album on me, I’d lost the gig ticket, and not even a chewing gum wrapper would materialise in my bag. Mark wrote, “spend it well.” Obviously, I never did. But along with being a nice memento, it’s a nifty reminder that money isn’t the only type of capital out there. With musicians, many of the stereotypes are often correct. Boys in bands will fuck you and after the deed inform you that they actually have a girlfriend. They’ll fuck you and get up two minutes later to play the same chord combinations over and over while they write their next hook, sending you crazy as their semen is still warmly seeping out of your vagina. But these encounters had given me a confidence and a lust for life which I’d lost following my breakup. I was ready to start living again and try my hand at something new.

— Read Kamila Rymajdo’s revealing essay, There shouldn't be so much stigma around women using their sexuality to get ahead in a music industry that is still rampantly sexist, on the Noisey website

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