St. Vincent is bringing innovation to music.
When you think of a "women's" version of a product, what comes to mind? Pink, purple, flowers, butterflies — stuff like that? It's kind of (very) ridiculous and, honestly, usually pretty pointless. Do we need pens for women? Or razors? Or the host of other lady-specific products? Most of the time, they're completely unnecessary. Like, why do earplugs need to be gendered anyway?
Musician and all-around badass Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, recently helped design a guitar better fit for women's bodies. And no, it doesn't come in pink.
Now, if you're not familiar with her music, there are two things you should know: 1. It's suuuuuuuper catchy, and 2. She knows how to absolutely shred on the guitar.
She teamed up with the folks over at Ernie Ball to create a custom signature guitar that people have been describing as "made for the female body."
This guitar is different than other unnecessarily gendered items because it serves a function and solves a problem.
As someone who spends months at a time on the road, playing guitar for hours at a time, night after night after night, Clark learned that she simply couldn't play some of the classic guitars she'd grown to love.
"For me a guitar that is not too heavy is really important because I’m not a very big person," she told Guitar World in December. "I can’t even play a Sixties Strat or Seventies Les Paul. I would need to travel with a chiropractor on tour in order to play those guitars. It’s not that those aren’t great guitars, but they render themselves impractical and unfunctional for a person like me because of their weight."
Neither Ernie Ball nor Clark refer to the guitar they designed as a "women's guitar," and ... that's kind of the point.
The new guitar is lightweight and shaped in a way that makes room for, as she put it in a recent Instagram post, "a breast. Or two," and is made with smaller-handed players in mind. Does this seem a bit more geared towards women than men? Sure. Does that mean it's only for women? Nah.
Gender can be complicated, and Clark's even written a song about it. "Prince Johnny," a track off her self-titled 2014 album, deals with society's hang-ups with what it means to be a real girl or a real boy.
"We get handed down these ideas of gender and sexuality," she told Rolling Stone in 2014. "You're supposed to be this or that. What happens if you float around the cracks and don't fit into these narrowly prescribed things?"
So maybe that's the best way to think about her guitar. It's a new shape, a new design, and a new set of solutions for guitar players who'd been previously ignored by the industry. It doesn't need to come in pink to be a women's guitar, and it doesn't need to take classic shape to be a men's instrument.
It just is, and that's pretty cool. Maybe that's what the world needs more of.