Why I’m Sick Of Hearing Complaints About Sexism In The Music Industry

I’ve written a guest blog for Female Arts Magazine! You can read it on their site or for your convenience, I am posting it here as well 🙂

LeeSun, still from Mother Dear music video
Do you think that by and large, in today’s modern enlightened society, we have got sexism pretty much in hand? Are you tired of hearing people complaining about inequality? I’m tired of all the complaining too. I really wish there was no need for it.

I’m not here to convince anyone that sexism is still woven through the fabric of our culture, and apparent in all industries, including the music industry of which I am a part. Because that is not up for argument. It is too blindingly obvious and if you are in denial of it, that is your issue, not mine.

The question is not whether sexism and inequality exist, but rather what is the best response?

Well, that’s really up to each individual to decide for themselves. But believe me, if you do not make a conscious effort to be aware of the situation, and make a conscious decision on how you will respond, you will have it decided for you, by the media, by people with an agenda, by organisations and corporations who will feed you ideas and assumptions based on what is most profitable for them, and not what is best for you.

So what is the situation in the music industry? What are the signs that all is not okay?

Why does Annie Mac, talented electronic dance music DJ and TV presenter, feel the need to say, “Stop Asking Me Questions About Being A Woman“?

And why does Clara 3000, another talented DJ, have to say, “I’m not a girl DJ, I’m a DJ“?

Why does Charlotte Church, whose beautiful singing came to worldwide attention with her debut album as an 11 year old, tell us in her BBC John Peel lecture that as a 19 and 20 year old, she came increasingly under pressure, usually by middle aged men, to wear outfits that were more revealing than she would like?

Josh at Crack In The Road (music blog) posted an image earlier this year of what the Leeds Reading Festival line up would look like if only bands with at least one female member were playing. There were only 9 acts on the entire poster. The image went viral. There was no message with the image, just the facts of what it was. People were shocked, angry, and very very defensive.

Josh followed up eloquently in a blog called “Where Are All The Women“. I would highly recommend reading this article.

At the end of the day, like Annie Mac, Clara 3000, and Charlotte Church, I just want to get on with the business of creating great music without being judged for being a woman, or treated like a novelty due to my gender, or pressured into marketing myself as a sexual object. And like Taylor Swift, I don’t want to be frequently treated as though the most important thing about me is the man I am dating. Like Adele, I do not want my weight to be a topic of public interest. Like, seriously? How many world class male musicians have to put up with this sort of nonsense?

I want to play at festivals where women are represented equally amongst the participants. I want to go to a music panel event, and find as many women on the panel as men. A world where an all female music industry panel is not a freak occurrence that only happens at the BBC 1Xtra Women In Music event. (Yes, I did attend that event this year, and yes, it’s the only music industry event I’ve ever attended with an all female panel.)

And this is bigger than the work I want to do, bigger than my musical projects. This is about longing to live in a world where there is no need for the Everyday Sexism Project. The sort of world where on a first date, an educated young man doesn’t think it is perfectly acceptable to try to compliment me by telling me that I am exactly what he needs at that moment, and that he bets I would give a really great blow job. Ew. A world where a woman’s main value is not linked to how well she serves the needs of men.

That’s the world I want to live in. And every song I write is a step into that world.

You can hear my upcoming single by clicking here.

It was featured on BBC Introducing Mixtape last weekend.  The show can be downloaded for free until 22nd December.


Acts of Kindness, Launching People, Paloma Faith, and Living Large

So … a couple of weeks ago, I found out about a competition being run by Samsung called “Launching People”. I thought, “Do I want to be launched?” My answer was a resounding, “YES!” The only catch was, the deadline was a day away. So I cleared my day’s schedule, and buckled down to the serious business of putting together a video all about me, in the hopes that Paloma Faith would choose me (to mentor and LAUNCH) out of the hundreds of entries.

I didn’t think twice. I just knew I had to do this. I skipped group therapy (which I’ve been going to for nearly 2 years, and which is a big deal for me!) and I also skipped my weekly counselling post-grad lecture and skills session at Leeds Met (also a big deal for me!). I spent my precious time mainly finding video editing software and figuring out how to use it via Youtube tutorials. Then I cut up bits of a video that my amazing, beautiful, talented friends Aurora and Lucy did for me awhile ago, and cut up bits of my songs from my album Prime, recorded a voiceover and voila! The above 2 minute video was born.

It was one of those moments / events / days that felt so strongly guided by the hand of destiny, I felt so certain that OF COURSE I’d be chosen for this, it really was a shock when I wasn’t contacted the following week to be invited to participate in the Launching People mentorship thingy. “How strange,” I thought. “So what was that all about?!” I have no idea. But now I’ve got this video which gives a pretty clear statement about my creative ethos and what I’m about.

I’m still scratching my head (not literally). Well, as my little boy might say, at least I made a Youtube video! 🙂

Conclusion: Kindness and self-belief. You need both. Or perhaps another way to look at it is, love others and love yourself, and everything else shall follow …

I hope you enjoy it!