Tag Archives: misogyny

Sexist Lyrics Make Better Equality Slogans

Let’s change sexist lyrics!

(Enter Empowering Slogan Here)
‘You Know You Want It’

Got your own idea for a slogan about fighting sexist music or equality? Post it in the comments section and I’ll make it into a poster!

-Rocheen

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Sick of Sexism: Female Artists Speak Out

It’s been an interesting couple months for sexism in the music industry. One of the trends we’ve been seeing of late is female musicians from various genres of music speaking out against sexism and sharing their personal stories. We’ve already commented on ex-teen star Charlotte Church’s comments (check out our blog post for details) and how she didn’t have control over her image. Haley Williams who is the lead singer of Paramore has also spoken out about the way she’s been treated as a lesser part of the group or the token female singer. Chvurches has started the discussion and we’re glad to see the conversation doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon. 

 All female Aussie band Stonefield told Tonedeaf about how they experienced inappropriate remarks when they used to go to largely male dominated rock competitions. 

“I definitely notice there are comments that probably wouldn’t be said about male bands. Just inappropriate things with like way older men saying,” Findlay takes on the voice of a gruff drunkard, “Can I get your number? You’re sexy.” 

The band said they simply ignore the remarks as something they have to deal with in the industry. But why should they?

 

Gabriella Climi, the Melbourne artist best known for her track ‘Nothing Sweet About Me’ told the Independent about how her record company decided to sex up her image for her second album with lyrics such as ‘I love it with your hands all over me’ and ‘superhot ride’. She appeared topless in FHM, something that she regrets. 

 ”At the time it was sold to me that I would have approval over all shots, but it turns out we didn’t. I was in Australia at the time it came out and I just bawled my eyes out. I did the shoot, so I can’t really blame anyone else for doing it.

“There’s nothing wrong with women celebrating their bodies, but I was so upset because I didn’t want to do it,” she adds. “I’ve had some really great men working on my campaigns but sometimes they can get really carried away.”

The pressure to be sexy and something she wasn’t came to a head when she suffered from an anxiety attack as she was about to go on stage for a sports event dressed as a sexy alien. 

“I had to perform ”On a Mission“ dressed as a sexy alien and I thought, ‘this is so far from where I wanted to be, how did I end up doing this?’” she says. “I remember bawling my eyes out.

Bursting onto the scene with her first album when she was just a teenager, Climi describes how for her second album the male record executives took control, and her music wasn’t being marketed the way she had anticipated. She said that it was so over sexualised, not true to herself, and was not what she wanted. It made her so upset to the point that she almost quit. 

This pressure to be sexy, and female artists being judged on their looks rather than their talent seems like it’s sadly normal in the music industry if Stonefield’s and Climi’s accounts are anything to go by. However if artists like these keep speaking out maybe we’ll see a change in the way female artists are oversexualised, and convinced into uncomfortable situations by record industry professionals.

 

What do you think about female artists speaking out?

 

Do you think it might start to change the way women are treated in the industry?

 

-Rocheen. 

Miley Unwrecked

Miley Cyrus has released a director’s cut version of Wrecking Ball.

People have responded with confusion and forgiveness for her earlier footage.

This is confusing on a number of levels.

“Oh, well if that’s what she really meant to do, then it’s not as bad.”

Ok, but why would she do it if she had direct control over her image, as so many people (including Cyrus, herself) have suggested? Why would she and the label spend so much on that other weird concrete stuff if it was not really in the original vision?

“Ah, now I see how it was meant to be like Sinead’s Nothing Compares to You. Just a face! Aha!”

Except, the original video was the one Cyrus was comparing to that clip. She’s dulled it down to support her argument about the video.

I think that the most disappointing part of this is that Cyrus tried to defend the video and eventually caved. Why? Wouldn’t her point be more easily made if she stuck to her guns?

I don’t know. Does it matter? What’s the point?

Pick of the Parody Videos

What if men were treated the women are in music videos? Women are paraded around as play things, seen as body parts, and blatantly over sexualised and objectified. As mentioned in a previous post parody videos are a great way to get the message that misogyny in music is not okay. I’ve already shared the amazing video by a New Zealand law revue group parodying the song ‘Blurred Lines’. With lyrics like:

‘We ain’t good girls/ We are scholastic,
Smart and sarcastic/ Not fucking plastic.
Listen mankind! / If you wanna get nasty,
Just don’t harass me: You can’t just grab me/That’s a sex crime!’

The group has cleverly changed the lyrics and elements of the music video to get their point across. With videos reaching 100,000s they are great way to spread the message of equality in a creative way. These are my pick of some great videos that show how effective a medium parody can be to get a message across to such a wide audience on YouTube, and other outlets.

These videos show that messages of equality can be powerful in the form of parody:

Using Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, this parody video created by the Women’s Party honours the women that fought for the right to vote in 1920 in the USA.

Taking off Taylor Swift’s 22, this video has over 150,000 views on YouTube. The MS Foundation for women used this as an outlet to express their frustration at the 22 men who voted against a violence against women bill in the U.S.A senate.

Any other great parody videos that fight for equality that you know of?

Do you think it’s an effective way to reach a large audience with your message?

Love to hear your thoughts!

-Rocheen

 

 

 

The Coercion of Charlotte Church

One way I know that fighting sexism in music is necessary is by searching for the term “sexist music”. Every day there’s something new. And every day there’s something actually classed as “news”. 

The most recent of these is a story about Charlotte Church, a Welsh singer whose attack on sexism in the music industry over national radio made headlines yesterday. 

Having experienced coercion from male label bosses to wear revealing clothing and act in a sexually demonstrative way, she is angry about women being forced to show their sexuality as “a prize to be won” and a toy. 

She said her “history” in music videos has almost certainly limited her ability to market her music in certain areas where it would probably be best received. 

She also said her performances and appearances led to internet and social media harassment, seeing her called “slut”, “whore” and a “catalogue of other indignities”. 

This is a common phenomena, where women are both forced into taking their clothes off for music footage and performances, while simultaneously being vilified for it by viewers. 

She said the backlash against Miley Cyrus is a good example. 

What do you think? Promiscuity in video clips – liberating or limiting?

Justifying our guilty pleasures

I look back on music I loved when I was in highschool and I cringe like hell. Mariana’s Trench, The Fratellis, Cobra Starship, even Fall Out Boy. Their music was catchy and made me feel lots of things and was generally pretty decent. The songs I still remember the words to, even now. 

I almost have the attitude that, well, if I didn’t know the songs were sexist or misogynist back then, maybe neither did they. Wanting to forgive so I can still enjoy. I am so disappointed when I listen to songs that I love (in a nostalgic way…) and can barely justify the way I used to think. 

I am better disciplined now. If music I hear sounds like the singer judges women, objectifies women, hates women, or has unrealistic expectations of women (that last one is somewhat flexible, and I don’t know how to feel about Cake’s Short Skirt Long Jacket because, frankly, it’s just a bit confusing with that deadpan, melody-free voice he’s got) I generally can’t listen to it.

When I’m in clubs (on my biannual visits), I know I just have to deal with it. I make mental notes of how much I’m not enjoying myself, and that I probably just shouldn’t come back, but I know I can’t change it. 

I try to avoid criticizing friends’ choices of music because it’s one of those “pick your battles” kind of situations, and I’d rather keep my friends than feel morally superior for ten minutes. 

But when it comes to music I choose to listen to, I am selective like crazy. I know there is a popular way of dealing with skeazy music, which is generally to “compartmentalise” as Ann Friedman writes about in her article, Blurring the Lines: How to Enjoy Maybe-Sexist Music, but I am unable to abide. 

I am so angry at Thicke and West and Timberlake for their disrespect, laziness and unoriginality, that I can’t even WANT to listen as a guilty pleasure. It would be too guilty and not even close to pleasurable enough to bother forcing.

What do you think? How do you justify listening to music with an iffy moral message? 

Shit people say to Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts

Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts wrote about what she hates experiencing in the music industry. Along similar lines to the last post on our blog, she deals with frustrating phrases, tones and treatments she has had to put up with. 

Being told that she shouldn’t be so upset at these things is the first one she mentions. Sick of being told how she should about things by men, Loveland says:

“Don’t tell me I should be excited that I can’t wander the beautiful cities we visit on tour alone at night, that I’m consistently belittled by promoters and security or that you have any idea what it’s like to read about the way your butt looks in jeans in a music review.”

Being told you’re “too much of a girl” to handle things, constantly being asked if you’re “just the merch girl”, or being accused of being a gimmick your band uses to sell records are all up there as well on Loveland’s list of crappy gender-related jibes.

The “did you see what she was wearing” line rates a mention as an irrelevant preoccupation people have with assessment of female musicians. 

“I should be able to wear a pair of shorts without later reading comments about the way my butt looked (good or not), or how I’m sexualizing myself to sell records. I shouldn’t have to feel disgusting and violated because I have a female body and it is in front of you in clothes that don’t always fit right.”

To sum up, Loveland acknowledges the sexism is not the biggest part of her musical experience, but equally, that it’s worth mentioning. 

“Someone’s weight or ill-fitting gown has nothing to do with her worth, and women are put in the unfortunate position of needing to be 1,000 things at once. We must be sexy but not too sexy, nice but not too nice, feminine in this mysterious, ever-changing way and ostensibly agreeable. When we are not, we are divas and probably menstruating, or worse—our love for makeup, frilly dresses and radio pop has lead people to believe we are ditsy, vapid individuals.”

What are your thoughts?