As a woman you have to explain every single move you make. You were assaulted? Well what were you wearing? He hit you? Why didn’t you just leave then? You don’t want children? Won’t you be unfulfilled? You slept with how many people? Don’t you think that’s a little whore-ish? In the music industry they are all the more scrutinized. When Miley Cyrus released Wrecking Ball Sinéad O’Conner took to her personal blog to express her concern, “I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying f*** about you. They’re there for the money … we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.” To which the embattled pop star responded via social media with a screen grab of O’Conner’s Twitter feed in 2012 where the Irish performer is seeking psychiatric care.
Tanya Rad, of On Air with Ryan Seacrest works with many women and many stars and frequently posts photos with them on her personal Instagram using the hashtag ’empowered women, empower women.’ A mantra I have personally adopted. The music industry, the entertainment industry more accurately, however is a little less progressed. Male artists with large female followings are notoriously written off as some how less than. But why? Why is having me, an educated, young female as a fan a negative? And why is it that I am expected to be a fan of Arianna Grande and Demi Lovato but when I say I know every word to 85% of Eminem’s discography people think I’m kidding. Why is the fact that I host a pop-punk format radio show some how laughable?
As the traditional music industry is collapsing it’s becoming more realistic for women to be able to create and own their ideas, but it’s still a boys club. Women who hang out with artists are groupies while men must be involved in the industry. If I had a dime for every time an assistant, publicist, stylist or make up artist or any other female involved with a male artist’s career, got trashed in the tabloids and on social media as the “new fling” or “rumored girlfriend” I’d be able to pay off my student loans in a snap. While male artists have no privacy, females involved with them and female artists themselves have no self. Halsey has said it a thousand times, critiqued magazines and other interviews for naming the male artists she’s connected to before they name her, the person being interviewed. She becomes the act associated with Twenty One Pilots and Justin Bieber, hanging out with Matty of the 1975 and posing with Michael and Luke from 5 Seconds of Summer, instead of the artist who could, in my opinion, lead the next Riot Grrrl movement.
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called ‘The Punk Singer.’ The film was all about Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill a feminist motivated, 90% female, punk band from the time of Hole and Nirvana. Angry, smart females took up arms in the form of music and literature and thus formed the Riot Grrrl movement, fronted by bands like Bikini Kill. In an early zine released from the movement they explained the reasoning behind it “because I believe with my wholeheartmindbody [sic] that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will, change the world for real.” And if we taught girls that instead of creating and sometimes encouraging the growing behavior of objectifying yourself before someone else can then girls absolutely would change the world for real.
While male artists joke and are written with ‘devilish grins’ in magazine articles as they divulge the secrets of post show antics with multiple girls a night, Taylor Swift is called a slut for her dating habits. Calum Hood of 5 Seconds of Summer gained infamy and publicity for his band when a snapchat video of him fully exposed, which he’d taken himself, leaked but Jennifer Lawrence and Vanessa Hudgens? They should not have ever taken photos like that and what were they thinking!? We need more Kathleen Hanna’s, we need to stop making women in music second class citizens, my gender has nothing to do with my value as a fan or as an artist. We need to stop allowing the music industry to pimp out female artists only to slut shame them for what they’ve been asked to do. And we need to stop applauding the objectification of women in the media, in the songs we hear on the radio and in the interviews done with our favorite bands. I am a well versed music junkie and if the opportunity presented itself you can bet I would gladly be the name next to Harry Styles’ in the headlines, but I am also smart, and driven, and plan on making my name as known as anyone else’s in this industry and I won’t compromise for that because I am a female. I shouldn’t have to, and we shouldn’t be asking that. Women in this industry, at all levels, in all facets are incredibly smart and strong and talented. There is so much more to talk about with us than bust sizes and who’s slept with who. It’s nearly 2016 and it’s time for a real change.
[Image from The Odyssey Online]