A few men sat at the edge of the table, but they rarely spoke as the women talked about concerts and studio sessions.
This was a meeting of the Missfits Music and Arts Collective, a feminist group that junior founder Jess Mann said prioritizes opportunities for women, non-binary people and others who have been disadvantaged by their gender.
They met to discuss, among other things, a fundraising show Sunday that will feature local artists including Duck Trash and Osmosis Tones.
“A main goal of the collective is to bring women musicians out of their bedrooms,” Rose Harding, a member of the collective, said.
Harding said the collective wants to combat stereotypes of women songwriters by giving them a spotlight, and the artists at Sunday’s show will all be women or women-led bands.
Missfits officially formed in October, but the group had existed since the previous spring as a musical element of the Quiet Grrrl organization, Mann said. Since splitting off, they’ve put on a Halloween fundraising show and released a zine.
To date, the collective’s biggest project has been an album featuring seven local women songwriters and set to be released sometime before the end of the semester, Mann said. The songs were recorded in a two-day session, dubbed “Record-A-Thon” by the group at Bloomington’s Airtime Studios.
“It was very collaborative and organic,” she said. “I played drums on one of the songs, and I’ve never played drums before. That’s kind of the point.”
The seven resulting songs range from grungy-punk to blues-country to electronica, said Mann, an audio engineering and telecommunications major. About 15 musicians were involved, many of whom were women who hadn’t worked together before, she said.
“I think ‘Record-A-Thon’ is our pinnacle,” she said. “It’s representative of our overall objectives.”
She said the album is now in its mixing stage, which involves four members of the collective.
A short documentary about “Record-A-Thon” is also in its final stages, Mann said. The film will be projected on loop at Sunday’s show, she said, and it will be screened officially at a later date.
Mann said the collective is looking toward another “Record-A-Thon” around the time of the album’s release.
In the meantime, she said she wants to bring more people into the fold. The collective will have a call-out meeting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at Monroe County Public Library.
Mann said the collective has about 15 members who come to meetings consistently, but she would like to expand beyond Bloomington.
“Eventually, I think it’d be really cool to have contacts in other cities, maybe even branches — a few people in Indy, a few people in Chicago,” she said.
She said the ultimate goal of Missfits is to give women — photographers, designers, show promoters, musicians and others — a chance to work cooperatively with each other.
“It’s unlearning this way of speaking to each other, of competitiveness we’ve been socialized to do,” she said.
“It’s not unique to us, but when you get into a group of women and there’s not the pressure to be in a male space, it’s a lot more supportive.”