Music, Does It Mean More to Men Than Women?

The ideas for this blog tend to come from unusual places.  I went to the cinema with a friend recently and somehow (just don’t ask) we ended up watching the wrong film. We spotted fairly on in the film that it wasn’t a fairly lightweight Friday chill out film; as soon as the dialogue started in fact, as it was all in French…thank goodness for subtitles. After a fit of silent-ish giggling  (and don’t worry about us disturbing anyone-we were alone in the balcony which with hindsight should have been a clue) we decided to stay put as the opening scenes had gripped us.

And it was one of those  happy accidents. We had wanted to watch an undemanding film and got something that required a bit of effort to follow, and we actually quite enjoyed it.

A line in the film has stayed with me. The lead male actor is a DJ and he is consumed by music. At one point he muses that music matters so much more to men than it does to women, that while women like music it they are rarely as passionate about it as men are. Interesting I thought, that’s probably true of me.

The thought came back to me when on BBC’s Radio 4 programme, Desert Island Discs the castaway was Simon McBurney an actor, writer and director (who sounded like a really wonderful man by the way, would love to meet him) and he spoke passionately about music he couldn’t live without.

It set me wondering: having done a quick mental trawl of all my friends all the real music aficionados are men. Of course the women like music too and have favourites (Elvis since you ask, my guilty pleasure but that’s as much to do with the person as the music, which may be a key factor) but actually there did seem to be a difference. In the main the men I know seem to know more facts about music they like while women just like stuff they like. Even though I do know a lot of facts about Elvis they are not so much about his music as his life, I can’t tell you about his back catalogue and who played on any of his albums, but I can tell you about his lost twin and what he was like in school.

It is certainly true of me and my husband; he has an extensive music collection while my interest waned with motherhood to be resurrected by wanting to take an interest in what my children were into. He, on the other hand, helped inform our children’s tastes and is pretty knowledgeable. I’m not asking this question wishing to create an artificial divide; I am genuinely interested. It matters not what the outcome is, but do you think there’s a difference, generally speaking?

It seems like an interesting question to ask. Do you think men are generally more passionate, even geeky, about music than women? How important is music in your life? What music could you absolutely not live without? What would be the one record you would take to a desert island and why? Please share!

The film was Cafe Floret by the way.

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Posted on July 15th, 2012 by

2 Responses to “Music, Does It Mean More to Men Than Women?”

  1. Rachel Hubbard says:

    I find this really interesting.
    I know some men (my brother included) who love music – they show it by writing reviews, amassing huge, categorised collections and following favoured musicians wherever they go. This seems to continue a path of collecting, categorising and criticising that I can understand but can’t really say I could do.
    My appreciation of music is emotional and visceral. I love lyrics and songs that drive particular emotions – and sometimes make me want to move and dance.
    Now this could very easily turn into a discussion on gender stereotypes but I’m not really interested in the ‘soap opera’ elements of musicians lives but it is about the power of music to move me emotionally and physically. I think that applies to everyone…

    • Jane says:

      Thanks Rachel, I like your comment. I too listen to music on that level but apart from occasionally ordering our CD collection so we can find things, am not keen on the details. Fascinating topic. No doubt someone, somewhere has done some research on it! Jane

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