I define myself as a feminist. This is often mistaken for a scary word, synonymous with ‘man-hating’; as if there’s a group of angry wom...

Ladies of the Music Industry – Your Silence Is Deafening.

I define myself as a feminist. This is often mistaken for a scary word, synonymous with ‘man-hating’; as if there’s a group of angry women sitting in a corner plotting the destruction of men. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A feminist is somebody who believes in political, social and economic equality between the sexes. I’d even go as far as saying, anybody who doesn’t identify with those ideologies, is sexist in one way or another.

Hollywood has seen a boom in feminism in 2018, triggered by the ‘Me Too’ movement; protesting sexual harassment in the film industry. It began in Hollywood after Rose McGowan bravely shared her alleged experience of sexual assault at the hands of a powerful producer. She stood alone until she sent out this moving tweet:
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 7, 2017  
This prompted film stars in their masses to come forward and share their brave and heroic stories, as survivors of sexual assault stood forward and said, ‘Me Too’. This progressed into the Time’s Up campaign, which saw the world’s biggest A-Listers protest the treatment of women in the workplace. They said no more unequal pay, no more sexual harassment and NO MORE inequality. The world rose up! Our prayers are answered, hallelujah; 2018 is the year of the woman! Time is UP on inequality.

But is it? Amongst the out-pour of love, praise and adoration for these heroic women, some asked a very important question. Where are the women of the music industry? Your silence is deafening.
Why are we not hearing about the fact that 90% of Grammy nominees in the last six years have been men? Why is nobody complaining that Wireless Festival only has THREE women playing over three days? Why don’t we know that only 2% of producers in the industry are women? Why are none of our idols standing with the women of Hollywood and saying ‘Me Too’. Call me naïve, but I find it very difficult to believe that the music industry is all butterflies and roses – why are the women I look to as heroes staying silent?

I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that some of the most beautiful and powerful voices on earth had hit the mute button, while their film industry peers were setting such a monumental example. The music industry is notorious for inequality and corruption – how have the women of music become so voiceless?

I found my answer in a tweet from the ever-outspoken, bold, and well-informed, Lily Allen:
Finally, it made sense.

Of course, it’s harder to speak out against an employer you’re tied to for the next ten years. Of course, it’s easier to speak out against a director you have a six-month project with. Of course, there have been trailblazers in the music industry who have tried to speak out against injustice. Who have those trailblazers been? Let’s talk about Kesha.

In 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against her producer, Dr Luke, claiming that he had drugged and sexually assaulted her on more than one occasion. Naturally, all of the women of the music industry came forward and started saying ‘Me Too’, right? They all stood together and said no to sexual assault in the workplace? Not quite.

What followed was a lengthy and traumatic legal battle. Not only did Kesha bravely share her story of survival with the world, she had to publicly fight for her right to be released from her contract; a contract that forced her to continue working with the man that abused her, and the company she claims knew about the abuse, let it happen, and knew she was not Dr Luke’s only victim. In her 2017 lawsuit she wrote:

“You can get a divorce from an abusive spouse. You can dissolve a partnership if the relationship becomes irreconcilable. The same opportunity – to be liberated from the physical, emotional, and financial bondage of a destructive relationship – should be available to a recording artist”.

To this day, in 2018, Kesha is still not free of her Sony contract. This is a producer Kesha signed with in 2005. Nine years into this contract she came forward about her abuse. Four years later, she is still stuck in the contract that ties her to her abuser.

And we wondered why the women of music stayed silent. We wondered who had stolen some of the world’s most powerful voices. 13 years tied to your attacker, 4 years working for a company you’ve publicly accused of unthinkable corruption; 13 years and counting.

13 years and counting.

I’m not going to claim to have all the answers, I’m not going to claim to have any answers at all. If this was an easy ceiling to break, there are many powerful women who would have done it by now. This is not a quick fix, but let’s take the first step: let’s acknowledge that this is a serious problem. Let’s continue this conversation until we are heard. Let’s pave an easier path for the female musicians of tomorrow. TIME IS UP. Let’s speak out.

Written by Kirsty Hoggins