Female musicians speak out against misogyny in social media

By: AMANDA DEE – Staff Writer

Today, people can record an EP, share it with thousands and make a profit without leaving their bedrooms. People can tweet at the singer humming to them in their ear buds. From behind a screen, people can type words they might otherwise never say.

But some of these words render female musicians victims.

“This isn’t rape culture. You’ll know rape culture when I’m raping you,” a user said to singer Lauren Mayberry on the synth-pop band Chvrches’ Facebook page. “Act like a slut, get treated like a slut [sic],” another posted.

The Internet has built a lawless “purgatory” for music: It’s built an interim cyber-realm between playing in parents’ garages and playing for summer festivals, for hundreds of sweating fans.

Chvrches is a band born in “purgatory.” The blogosphere and social networks are why anyone knows about Chvrches, Mayberry wrote in her September 2013 Guardian op-ed. After “more than one prolonged toilet cry” from the Facebook floods of gender-based hate, Mayberry asked herself, “Why should I cry about this?”

The singer accepts the role of review and criticism in the music industry. She does not accept that it is “all right for people to make comments ranging from ‘a bit sexist but generally harmless’ to openly sexually aggressive,” Mayberry said.

Sky Ferreira, eighties-infused dark pop musician and model, ventured into the cyber-realm in her early teens. According to the Guardian, she covered pop songs on YouTube and Myspace, drawing in Capitol Records. The label signed her and, unbeknownst to her at the time, her image – “a Myspace version of the girl next door,” Ferreira described to writer Lizzy Goodman of the Fader.

Capitol abandoned the album when 17-year-old Ferreira abandoned the image.

In the 400-song rubble of Capitol’s desertion, as cited by the Atlantic’s Nolan Feeney, Ferreira was left to fend for herself and her record. At 19, she obsessed over her online critics.

“It took a toll on me mentally,” Ferreira told Tim Jonze of the Guardian. “It was literally like being spat on. And because I didn’t believe in the music I was making myself, it was hard. I felt like the worst person to ever exist.”
Ferreira, who sullenly compares herself to her voiceless 10-year-old self in “I Blame Myself” on 2013’s “Night Time,
My Time,” broadcasted her voice in her March 5 Facebook post: “I recently blocked someone because they were constantly harassing me & making fun of sexual abuse that happened in my past…Which I’ve publicly spoken about to hopefully help others.”

“If you see hateful/disgusting/abusive comments, please start reporting it or deleting it. I think that’s the only way we can start to lower that sort of thing from happening. Use the internet as a way to connect with others & LEARN.”

Claire Boucher, who performs under the moniker Grimes, was born in the blogs of Tumblr. Boucher’s ethereal, warrior-princess experience “Visions” ranked in the best albums of 2012 for the Guardian, Rolling Stone and the blog site Pitchfork.

On April 23 last year, Boucher posted a feminist essay on her birthing ground. She responded to “creeps on message boards” debating whether or not they want to have sex with her. She responded to the new misogyny.

“…I don’t want to be molested at shows or on the street by people who perceive me as an object that exists for their personal satisfaction… I don’t want my words to be taken out of context. I don’t want to be infantilized because I refuse to be sexualized,” Boucher said.

“I’m tired of people assuming that just because something happens regularly, it’s OK.”

“…Why should women ‘deal’ with this?” Mayberry asked.

“…Why should we all keep quiet?”

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