Voices of female musicians grow louder answering back and calling out the sexism in their industry. This month music giants Björk and Madonna both had something to say to the music industry media, so listen up.
Björk hit the media back yesterday on her Facbooksite after being the only one slated for giving her DJ set on the music festival Day for Night in the US last weekend. The media criticized her for not performing her own music and for hiding behind a table during her set. Björk points out that some of her favorite musicians also appeared as DJ’s in the festival but were not mentioned nor scrutinized by the media, she calls out the sexism embedded therein, citing her male colleagues Aphex Twin, Arca, Oneoh Trixpoint Never and Matmos doing the same thing she did, sharing music via Dj-ing. She went on to say she can no longer ignore the sexism in the music business after what she calls “this tumultuous year” and goes on to retrace her own carrier and how her work has been received through the goggles of the deeply rooted sexism in the business. Her backlash ends on a positive and hopeful note, she can sense a change and sais we all deserve the end of sexism.
She posted an open letter to the media yesterday on her facbook side and in her own words below.
Björk’s response comes shortly after a moving and critical speech by Madonna when she was honored as Billboard’s Woman of The Year. Her speech in its entirety at Women in Music 2016 is in the video below where she talks about “blatant mysagony, sexism, constant bullying and relentless abuse”, about sexual exploitation towards women in the industry and about her own rape and abuse.
The letter from Björk and a video where part of her DJ set can be heard and seen below as well.
dear little miss media
!!!! happy winter solstice !!!
as you know the majority of my career i havent moaned about sexism and just got on w it . but im feeling there is an enormous positive current in the sky , a flow w possible changes
so i wanted to mention one thing
last weekend i djd twice at a festival in texas . it was a magical event with some of my favorite musicians djing : aphex twin , arca , oneoh trixpoint never and matmos … the list is endless !!
most of us played mostly other peoples music and would slide in instrumentals of what weve been working on recently
i am aware of that it is less of a year since i started djing publicly so this is something people are still getting used to and my fans have been incredibly welcoming to me sharing my musical journey and letting me be me . its been so fun and the nerd in me editing together pieces of others peoples songs for weeks , gets to share the different coordinates i feel between some of the most sublime music i know .
but some media could not get their head around that i was not “performing” and “hiding” behind desks . and my male counterparts not . and i think this is sexism . which at the end of this tumultuous year is something im not going to let slide : because we all deserve maximum changes in this revolutionary energy we are currently in the midst of
its gotta be worth it
women in music are allowed to be singer songwriters singing about their boyfriends . if they change the subject matter to atoms , galaxies , activism , nerdy math beat editing or anything else than being performers singing about their loved ones they get criticized : journalists feel there is just something missing … as if our only lingo is emo …
i made volta and biophilia conscious of the fact that these were not subjects females usually write about . i felt i had earned it . on the activist volta i sang about pregnant suicide bombers and for the independence of faroe islands and greenland . on the pedagogic biophilia i sang about galaxies and atoms but it wasnt until vulnicura where i shared a heartbreak i got full acceptance from the media . men are allowed to go from subject to subject , do sci fi , period pieces , be slapstick and humorous , be music nerds getting lost in sculpting soundscapes but not women . if we dont cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives we are cheating our audience .
eat your bechtel test heart out
but i know the change is in the air . we are walking inside it . therefore i leave this with you in kindness at the end of this year and i hope that in the next year even though i was brave to share w you a classic female subject matter : the heartbreak , i get to have a costume change and walk out of this role . you froze edith piaf and maria callas in it ( not one documentary i have seen about her doesnt mention onassis but no mention w male musicians the women they loved or broke their hearts )
lets make 2017 the year where we fully make the transformation !!!
!!! the right to variety for all the girls out there !!!
And here is Madonna’s speech: