What difference does it make? Women's pop cultural production and consumption in Manchester
This paper explores the experiences of women in small cultural businesses and is based upon interviews with women working in a range of contexts in Manchester's popular music sector. The research seeks to promote wider consideration of women's roles in cultural production and consumption. We argue that it is necessary that experiences of production and consumption be understood as inter-related processes. Each part of this process is imbued with particular gender characteristics that can serve to reinforce existing patterns and hierarchies. We explore the ways in which female leisure and consumption patterns have been marginalized and how this in turn shapes cultural production. This process influences career choices but it is also reinforced through the integration of consumption into the cultural workplace. Practices often associated with the sector, such as the blurring of work and leisure and 'networking', appear to be understood and operated in significantly different ways by women. As cultural industries such as popular music are predicated upon the colonization of urban space we explore the use of the city and the particular character of Manchester's music scene. We conclude that, despite the existence of highly contingent and individualized identities, significant gender power relations remain evident. These are particularly clear in discussion of the performative and sexualized aspects of the job.