Bleached’s new EP title brings up three of the most important and powerful words: CAN YOU DEAL? This concept album tackles the truth behind gender bias in art, music and media in an honest, unapologetic way. 

    Jennifer Calvin’s (lead singer, guitar and mastermind behind the album) empowering, authentic attitude makes Can You Deal? more than just an album; it’s a meaningful piece of culture, exposing the damages of gender bias in every industry. It seeks to break down the walls that keep women inside. Jen affirms that women and our creations should be able to roam freely in a pool of fresh thoughts and like-minds, blind to gender and any other societal labels. Yes, Jen’s a girl in a band, but that’s surface level. She’s not making music as a girl. She’s making music because she has something to say. And it’s got some serious meaning.

     Can You Deal? is a game changer because it tackles an idea that has held women back in every industry. Female leaders and trailblazers in different fields are constantly asked what it’s like to be a woman in a certain position. Instead of being asked about our work, we are critiqued on our gender’s role in our work. Gender labels diffuse what women have to say, and our messages, therefore, are dulled down to a “girl’s” version of an idea already created by man. 

     That’s not how it should be, but even in 2017, it is, unfortunately, a reality. Each day, women create new ideas and say new things, but our accomplishments aren’t viewed with significance because we are judged first on our gender and second on our art. Labels like ‘girl band’ and ‘female rocker’ were created to make the female gender feel ‘less than.’ These subtle gender labels cause women to lose agency. Soon, our words have less meaning. But look beyond the gender label that’s shoved down your throat, and you’ll see that we’ve really got so much to say. 

     Girls in a band are nothing new. Girls having a brain are also nothing new. Females who have something significant to say have been around forever and society never cared to give us validation to speak. Jen doesn’t need validation. She’s making music, writing, and creating zines, and saying, “can you deal???” Women’s accomplishments are nothing new. And if you can’t deal with that, too bad. Jen’s gonna keep bein’ Jen.

       As a female whose character has been victimized by men, boys and ignorant individuals, whose needs have been neglected by leaders, whose ideas have been ignored by misogynistic egomaniacs, Jen’s message is every piece of anger, depravity and energy to create change that I’ve ever felt.  And what’s even more meaningful about this, is that I know that I’m not the only girl who feels this sense of resonance. Jen’s words hold special significance to an issue that’s always been a problem but never really had a name. 

     Bleached reminds us that we don’t need to normalize the sub treatment of females. We don’t need to accept poor behavior. When we stop acknowledging gender bias in art (and in life!!) the patriarchy (and any other haters) lose power. Instead, what we should focus on is how these words hold significance to people who care and need it, people whose lives are changed because of someone else’s creation. People like me. Thank you for such a powerful album.