by Alexandra Pollard Contributor | Photos by Press

Tags: Chvrches 

The misogyny Lauren Mayberry endures is the rule, not the exception

Blog: Gendered insults are all-too rife in the music industry

 

Chvrches Lauren Mayberry misogyny, slut shaming, feminism is important Photo: Press

Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry has been the target of misogynistic trolling again. If you're thinking, given that she's been in the news several times lately over things like this, that she's been particularly unlucky - you'd be wrong. She's merely chosen to draw attention to the sort of abuse all female musicians have inflicted upon them on a daily basis.

The latest comes courtesy of a 4chan thread that might just destroy your faith in humanity. Initially, its users discuss their moral objection to the fact that Chvrches' latest video for 'Leave A Trace' focusses so heavily on Mayberry, while Iain Cook and Martin Doherty barely get a look in. "Nice 3 seconds of video time the other guys got. 'we're a band, not two producers and a singer'," writes one anonymous user. They're right of course - it's so rare in music that men get to take centre-stage in any way. One look at the Reading & Leeds line-up will tell you that. One day, surely, their time will come.

Quickly though, the argument moves on. There are hundreds and hundreds of comments in the discussion, most of which are too vile to recreate here. She's called a "slut" and a "whore" several times. "lauren mayberry playboy shoot when?" asks one smug commenter in broken English. Another quotes Mayberry's own words in a Guardian piece against online misogyny: "Objectification, whatever its form, is not something anyone should have to 'just deal with'," before adding, "*walks around in skimpy dress with wet hair*."

It's tempting, at this point, to point out how little explicitly sexualised content there actually is in the 'Leave A Trace' video. She remains fully-clothed throughout, and even the chainmail top she wears at one point is of a conservative cut. But in this argument, put forward by many Chvrches fans with the very best of intentions, there still lurks shades of misogyny.

Mayberry did not deserve to be subjected to such sexually aggressive abuse (which, though one commenter accused her of "actively seeking this type of stuff out", was linked directly to her on Twitter). And not because "she actually wasn't dressed particularly skimpily," but because no-one should be subjected to such a base level of disrespect.

Mayberry is far from the only female musician to take a stand against misogyny lately - Grimes, Anna Calvi, and Taylor Swift have all spoken out against it in the past few months alone.

Defending women against online abuse on a case-by-case basis - deciding that her outfit is, in fact, suitably reserved, and thus she did not deserve to be called a slut - is an incredibly damaging ethos. When a woman makes herself the unapologetic subject of her own music and aesthetic, no matter how 'sexualised' you might deem it to be, she is not inviting sleazy 4chan users to treat her like an object.

We shouldn't be defending Mayberry on the basis of her outfit. Had she chosen to writhe around on the floor in a bikini, she would have been no more deserving of being dissected with such hatefully gendered slurs.

After all, there's no clause tacked onto the end of criticisms of misogyny which adds, "...unless, of course, the way the woman is dressed renders your misogyny unavoidable."

Chvrches release second album Every Open Eye on 25 September. 

Tickets for Chvrches' UK tour dates are on sale now. See full dates below. For tickets and more information, click here.

Monday 16 November - Brighton Dome
Tuesday 17 November - Bristol, O2 Academy
Thursday 19 November - Manchester, Albert Hall
Saturday 21 November - Newcastle, O2 Academy
Monday 23 November - Aberdeen, Music Hall
Tuesday 24 November - Dundee, Fat Sam’s
Wednesday 25 November - Birmingham, O2 Academy
Friday 27 November - London, Alexandra Palace (w/ special guest Four Tet)

Below: 13 awesome photos of Chvrches stunning at Somerset House


Alexandra Pollard

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