Yesterday, I read something so relatable and hard hitting that I felt a stronger-than-usual obligation to continue on about this subject. Lauren Mayberry of a fabulous project called CRVRCHES has sent us female musicians into a frenzy over her insanely true article about the sea of verbal sexual abuse we must overcome in the music industry.
It is being talked about by Hayley Williams, Tegan and Sara, and so many more strong-voiced and even stronger minded women all over the internet! And many of you may have probably seen my very similar (and much less classy) Twitter rants about the way I have been treated since entering this industry - as well as some of the marvelous people I have encountered, of course. Not everyone is bad, but there have been a few occasions where I have feared going out in public, or even logging into my social networks.
Who am I, you ask? Compared to these powerful females - I can't even imagine what they have to deal with on such a larger scale - I am a small speck of the growing population of female vocalists in the world. I am a "new" frontwoman of a "new" band. And I put those in quotes since I have actually been performing since I would talk, and have been singing in bands since I was 13 years old. I have performed with/ written with many artists you probably listen to today. I have been featured on a few songs, including "Don't You Ever Forget About Me" by Sleeping With Sirens. And I have also traveled all over the country aspiring to spread the word about my music while occasionally assisting my fabulous boyfriend (You can check out his new single "Told Ya So" when you're done reading this entire blog and sharing it with your friends.) As you can see, I am far less known than many of these other ladies - which makes it even more shocking the amount of verbal sexual abuse I encounter on a regular basis. ESPECIALLY on Youtube. But I feel that I am as much a part of this as the rest of them. Us girls need to stick together!
Within this past year (Yes, I have only been pursuing this for about one year) I have witnessed some pretty horrible things. Some of which has been physical mistreatment from fellow musicians and peers, and COUNTLESS hurtful and sometimes horrifying Youtube comments. It's a sad day when I have to look at people spamming "nice rack" on my videos and think to myself "Wow. I expected much worse. What a relief." What's even more terrible is the lack of support from fans, other people in this industry, and even some of my own "friends."
I have worked three jobs in my life. I spent 3 years at an AMAZING company who had strict policies against sexual harassment. I also worked for a not-so-great company who allowed sexual harassment in the workplace, coming from my own manager at the time, and I was eventually forced out of the picture. Now, I am a full time active musician and music enthusiast - which is MUCH harder than I ever would have imagined. Being a musician is my full time job. It's how I make my living, and it's not easy at any moment. I have spent a lot of time pondering HOW and WHY is inappropriate treatment of women in music considered acceptable?! And moreso, WHY is it so common? If this was a standard day job, I would hope the things I have read about myself and that have been said to me would be completely forbidden and employees would be warned or even terminated from their jobs.
I absolutely refuse to sit back in silence as I'm mistreated and talked about SO disgustingly that my own family has wanted to take action. It's upsetting how a video of me singing turns into something I dread looking at for the fear of seeing the harassment from male viewers in the comments. Some of them are just appalling. There are many things I would love to address but unfortunately can not get into specifics. And of course nobody is sitting there proposing sexual acts to my male guitarist via the internet. I'm a musician. Not a prostitute or a porn star. If that's what you're looking for, you can direct your eyes elsewhere. Comments and criticism ARE expected, but inappropriate explicit messages have driven me away from Facebook as well as other networking apps such as Snap Chat. Just because I'm a musician and choose to put myself out there doesn't mean I or anyone else should have to "suck it up" or "deal with it." The way women are talked to and talked about CAN change, but it starts with YOU.
You can read her original post HERE!
How do you propose we take action and make necessary changes to protect our fellow females? Do you think the flag or block button is not enough?