Electronic Wizardress Grimes Writes Amazing Treatise On Sexism In The Music World

grimes writes feminist manifesto on tumblr

Grimes is pretty much the best. Through a combination of technical wizardry, obsessive perfectionism, vocal prowess, and pop sensibility, she makes music that feels like having your dancing muscles lovingly prodded by Korean computer ghosts from the nineties. She’s also an accomplished artist and jewelry designer with a great sense of style. But in case you needed another reason to love her, she’s also an outspoken feminist who is not afraid to call out the indie music world for sexism, despite the fact that it has granted her a livelihood.

Like the riot grrls before her, Grimes (a.k.a. Claire Boucher) is not afraid to talk about her politics or address sexism in a sincere way. In a missive she posted on her Tumblr last night, titled “I don’t want to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living,” she addressed many of the gripes she’s been feeling about her treatment in the music world. “i dont want to be infantilized because i refuse to be sexualized,” she writes. Good luck with that! Just like the world of mainstream music, the male dominated indie rock world has never met an attractive female musician it did not publicly fantasize about.

Next, she addresses her safety:

i dont want to be molested at shows or on the street by people who perceive me as an object that exists for their personal satisfaction

i dont want to live in a world where im gonna have to start employing body guards because this kind of behavior is so commonplace and accepted and I’m pissed that when I express concern over my own safety it’s often ignored until people see firsthand what happens and then they apologize for not taking me seriously after the fact…

Stop touching Grimes, people! That’s just not cool.

On her ability to be taken seriously as a musician:

I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if i did this by accident and i’m gonna flounder without them.  or as if the fact that I’m a woman makes me incapable of using technology.  I have never seen this kind of thing happen to any of my male peers

I’m tired of the weird insistence that i need a band or i need to work with outside producers (and I’m eternally grateful to the people who don’t do this)

im tired of being considered vapid for liking pop music or caring about fashion as if these things inherently lack substance or as if the things i enjoy somehow make me a lesser person

Fuck anyone who does this! And just because something is coded as “girly” doesn’t make it inherently stupid.

On the undue emphasis placed on her body size:

im tired of being congratulated for being thin because i can more easily fit into sample sizes from the runway

On that pervasive, postmodern “whatever shrug” that turns hipsters into conservatives by default because they refuse to take a stance on anything:

I’m sad that it’s uncool or offensive to talk about environmental or human rights issues

More on creeps:

I’m tired of creeps on message boards discussing whether or not they’d “fuck” me

I’m tired of people harassing my dancers and treating them like they aren’t human beings

On men’s defensive misinterpretation of feminism:

I’m sad that my desire to be treated as an equal and as a human being is interpreted as hatred of men, rather than a request to be included and respected (I have four brothers and many male best friends and a dad and i promise i do not hate men at all, nor do i believe that all men are sexist or that all men behave in the ways described above)

On how fucked up it is that “waif” can mean either an abandoned child or an attractive woman:

im tired of being referred to as ‘cute,’ as a ‘waif’ etc., even when the author, fan, friend, family member etc. is being positive


waif |wāf|


1 a homeless and helpless person, esp. a neglected or abandoned child: she is foster-mother to various waifs and strays .

• an abandoned pet animal.

cute |kyo͞ot|


1 attractive in a pretty or endearing way: a cute kitten.

• informal sexually attractive.

I’m tired of people assuming that just because something happens regularly it’s ok

She also included a disclaimer saying she knows how good she has it, but it’s still not okay to treat her (or anyone) in a sexist fashion:

i have so much love for everyone who has been cool and amazing. I have the best job in the world but I’m done with being passive about any kind of status quo that allows anyone to suffer or to be disrespected

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Can you imagine how different the world would be if every popular musician was willing to talk about these things?


(Via Pitchfork)

Photo: The Windish Agency

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    • Maggie

      Fucking awesome.

    • Lastango

      That bit about possibly needing bodyguards to help keep the public at a distance is something I’ve heard about before a few times. I recall one country musician who lives out in a rural area mentioning that people feel free to come right up to the house and say hello: “They feel like they know you, but they don’t,” he said.

      I used to think bodyguards were for physical protection. That may be true in come cases for some celebrities, but I get the impression that the larger, more common role is to give the star enough space to be able to browse in a bookstore without being hassled. That must be a tough call; what to do when loyal fans want an autograph, and that’s the last thing in the world the performer wants be interrupted with at that moment?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500084103 Scott Indrisek

      I couldn’t concentrate on the words, too distracted by how hot Grimes is in this video. What was she talking about?

    • kj

      Whoa. Lady Gaga WISHES she was this badass.

    • Jen

      “I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians
      continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if i did
      this by accident and i’m gonna flounder without them.”

      I can relate to this personally. I write songs, record them (playing all my own instruments), produce them, and perform them. At just about every open mic I’ve played at, some idiot I’ve never even met–much less heard of–has offered to “help me” by playing alongside me. The attitude is never like, “It would be an honor to play with you!” but rather, “I’d do you the honor of playing with you, little girl.” Being a dude doesn’t automatically mean having more experience about the music business. Sorry.

      I’m not a well-known musician whatsoever, and I don’t play solely in the hopes that someday I will be famous, but unsolicited advice from these men has grated on my nerves like nothing else.