Social media is great for a lot of different reasons. Possibly the best thing about it is the ability to easily be heard by a large audience. Recently, female artists have taken to social media to talk about two big problems in the music industry: sexism and sexual assault.
Last week, Dirty Projectors’ vocalist Amber Coffman sent out a series of tweets sharing her story of an unpleasant encounter with (former) Life or Death PR CEO Heathcliff Berru. Her entire line of tweets can be found on her Twitter.
Coffman’s bravery to come forward inspired many other women to do the same. Best Coast’s Bethany Consentino added to the dialogue of dealing with unwanted sexual advances.
Due to his recent time in the spotlight, Heathcliff has since stepped down as CEO of Life or Death PR and said he would be checking into a rehab facility for drug and alcohol abuse. Soon after his statement was released, the rest of the employees at Life or Death announced they would also be leaving the company and starting anew. It’s safe to say this move is an attempt for Life or Death’s former employees to separate themselves from Heathcliff.
This isn’t the first time Consentino has dealt with sexism. Just a few months ago, she fired off a series of tweets when a male concert reviewer focused more on her outfit than her performance.
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Sexism is alive and well people!!!!! This literally makes my blood boil. If you aren't happy with my show that's perfectly fine, but leave my looks + outfit out of it. @sffoghorn you should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing a "writer" to write this sick excuse of a live music review 👎👎👎
Sexism in the music industry has existed since the music industry has existed. Unfortunately, even when bands like Sleater-Kinney land the second best album of 2015, and songwriters like Courtney Barnett win Songwriter of the Year, women are still fighting to be heard and respected. Some of the responsibility falls on the media. People listen to what the media says. This is the perfect opportunity for the media to help shape how we view female artists and sexism in the music industry. Perhaps reviewers can write an in-depth article about why (or why not – it’s okay to not like her show, just not her outfit!) Consentino’s show was worth it. When was the last time you read a concert review about a male-fronted band that focused on his outfit, not his music? It’s probably been awhile.
So, what about everyone else who isn’t considered to be the media? How about the age-old saying: If you see something, say something. Ignoring sexism in the music industry doesn’t mean its not there. Nothing has ever changed because people just stood by and watched.
Perhaps, with the existence of websites such as Twitter and Instagram, women artists can have a safe and effective platform to be heard from.
Need a little encouragement to stand up to sexism? Check out this TEDxTeen talk where a fifteen-year-old talks modern feminism.