Singer Bjork denounces sexism in pop music industry


Bjork performs onstage at the Airwaves Music Festival in Iceland (05 November 2016)Image copyright
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Bjork argues that women in music are allowed to be singer-songwriters so long as they steer clear of controversial subject matter

Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork has delivered a scathing denunciation of sexism in the music industry on her Facebook page.

In an impassioned post she argued that female performers were frequently derided if they sang about anything other than love, relationships and motherhood.

She said that sexism had also affected her career as a DJ.

There has been a mostly supportive reaction to her comments on Facebook.

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The 51-year-old performer wrote on her page that “women in music are allowed to be singer-songwriters singing about their boyfriends”.

“[But] if they change the subject matter to atoms, galaxies, activism… or anything else [other] than being performers singing about their loved ones they get criticised,” she said.

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The singer says that sexism has affected her new career as a DJ

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Most people commenting on Bjork’s Facebook post have supported her stance

Bjork said that she had made it a point of her career to tackle numerous thorny issues, including “pregnant suicide bombers and for the independence of Faroe islands”.

But she said it was not until the release of her ninth album, Vulnicura, that she won full acceptance from the media.

She said that whereas “men are allowed to go from subject to subject” in their song writing, women are deemed to be cheating their audiences “if we don’t cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives”.

She said that she had experienced similar discrimination in her new career as a DJ, because “some media could not get their head around” that she was no longer performing and was instead “hiding” behind desks.

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Among those commenting on her Facebook post, one contributor said: “If artists like Bjork don’t speak out about things like this then nothing will change for women in music.”

Another compared the discrimination she was complaining about to the sexism experienced by the artist Joni Mitchell in the 1970s.

But one woman wrote: “Believe in sexism and you will forever be a victim.”

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Bjork says that only after her ninth album, Vulnicura, were media fully accepting

It is not the first time that Bjork has complained about sexism in the music industry.

“Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times,” she told Pitchfork.com in January 2015.

“After being the only girl in bands for 10 years, I learned the hard way – that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they – men – had the ideas.”


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