A petition to remove a TC Electronic TonePrint - Satchel’s ‘Pussy Melter’ - has become one of the most talked-about controversies in the guitar world, and now one of the guitarists who called for the preset to be taken down, Braids guitarist Raphaelle Standell-Preston, has spoken out on her experience.
In an editorial on Pitchfork (opens in new tab), Standell-Preston has detailed her reasons for confronting the Danish effects company and Steel Panther guitarist.
“The future of the guitar and its associated effects gear is gender diverse, and companies are starting to recognize that. Even TC Electronic has promotional ads on its website targeting women guitarists, clearly in hopes of capturing a growing market. Why would you simultaneously alienate a large swath of your potential audience with a marketing campaign that has zero self-awareness about how exclusionary it is?
“I believe fiercely in the free expression allowed for and promoted by rock ’n’ roll. But as a woman working in this world, I am tired of seeing my own kind denigrated and objectified - the butt of some eternal joke I can’t figure out why we’re laughing at.”
Standell-Preston also details the abuse she suffered as a result of her speaking out.
“Braids’ social media accounts were hacked and targeted, with abusive comments left all over unrelated Facebook posts and Instagram photos.
“Even the addresses and phone numbers of my bandmates were posted on Twitter, proving that doxxing can extend to male musicians if they’re aligned with a publicly outspoken woman.
“All in all, almost 1,000 people took time out of their lives to tell me that I am, in short, the reason people hate feminists, attempting to kill rock ’n’ roll, destroying free expression, and totally bereft of humor.”
There are important issues raised here: regardless of whether Steel Panther are a parody band or not, guitar players shouldn’t have to tolerate marketing material that’s alienating and offensive (example copy from TC's effort: "When we met up with Steel Panther’s oh-so-humble guitarist, he had only one condition: that the tone be as wet as the ladies on the front row!")
As a point of comparison, Satchel has a signature guitar with Charvel (opens in new tab), but you won’t find anything so objectionable and exclusive in the company’s copy.
TC Electronic removed and republished the offending TonePrint under a new name, the oldie-but-a-goodie pun ‘Repeat Offender’, earlier this week.