“The Elephant in the Room”: An Essay by Claire Guerreso for Women’s History Month

Claire Guerreso
Claire Guerreso
In honor of Women’s History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays reflecting on identity, music, culture, inclusion, and more.
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Today, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Claire Guerreso shares her essay, “The Elephant in the Room,” as a part of Atwood Magazine’s Women’s History Month series. She says, “In a world where women are chronically undervalued, it’s time to be each others’ allies.” Specializing in making and performing music for media outlets such as film and TV as well as writing with and for other artists, Guerreso has had music in an array of shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and more. She recently released “In the Blink of an Eye,” her third song of the year and the latest single off an upcoming, to-be-announced project.
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In the Blink of an Eye - Claire Guerreso

by Claire Guerreso

Women’s History Month gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and pay homage to all of the trailblazing women who have come before us, paving the way for the next wave of creators and innovators.

Let’s be honest though, a month out of the year to honor women’s contributions is just sad. With women making up half of the population, we still haven’t been granted the same basic rights as our male counterparts – like the right to our own bodies, or equal pay. Is it just me, or does having a month out of the year dedicated to women feel more like a box to check? I would much prefer actual equality and change. With that said, it’s a start.

Like everyone else, during the month of March I see women empowerment posts and female-oriented inspirational quotes on my feed that provide moments of comfort. I also read things like how the first female mayor was elected in 1887 after a group of men put her on the ballot as a joke, or how the wage gap is almost the same as it was when the Equal Pay act was signed in 1963. I love a good fact, but the posts that stick out to me are the ones convincing or reminding women to empower each other. Why is it that some women don’t/won’t/can’t support one another? We all like catchy phrases like “stronger together” and “Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another.” But who are these cute quotes for and why do we even need to remind some women of these basic ideals?

Claire Guerreso
Claire Guerreso

Being a woman in the music industry has its challenges, like any other industry.

You might assume that prejudice and sexism in the entertainment industry primarily comes from men. You wouldn’t be wrong about that, but it also comes from women. It’s not always in the form of blatant comments about your body or suggested value (which has happened to many of us) – it also comes in the form of a quintessential mean girl. So let’s shed some light on the elephant in the room: women who hate other women. Yes, I used a strong word and that is because there are actually women out there who actively try to make life harder for other women. Those women have likely learned this behavior from the world around them making it a very difficult cycle to break, but it still needs to be broken.

To be clear, I’m not talking about differences in personality or having an expectation of everyone holding hands and singing kumbaya. I’m talking about the women who have been taught to do whatever it takes to get ahead of other women no matter what, as if there isn’t room for all of us. Unfortunately, these women are often more concerned with climbing the ladder of boys clubs than affecting change in them. But think about it – having women in the room would be better for us at every level. Success can be addictive, but lifting each other up and creating a strong community is far more rewarding and beneficial, and doesn’t have to hinder your success. There are many badass women who are also kind.

I would be remiss to not mention all of the wonderful men and women allies I have had the privilege to work with in my career, and there are many. I would also be doing a disservice to skim over the fact that women of color receive much less of a platform in the equality debate and have struggled more than white women just to have their voices be heard. Hierarchy was created to oppress certain groups and elevate others. It’s an antiquated way of thinking that will be difficult to change, but the change must continue in strides if we ever want more opportunities for those who will come after us. So instead of feeding the elephant, let’s send it on its merry way once and for all and help realize that kitschy quote on our Instagram feeds. We are, in fact, stronger together. – Claire Guerreso

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Stream: “In the Blink of an Eye” – Claire Guerreso

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In the Blink of an Eye - Claire Guerreso

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