Grimes = battling music industry gender stereotypes like a boss
Claire Boucher, the artist behind the moniker Grimes, has always been outspoken about sexism in the music industry. According to a recent New Yorker profile, the indie electronic artist, “has a hard time censoring herself in interviews, or on social media,”— but we’re pretty fine with that. Her outspokenness is bringing awareness to the issue of industry sexism in a truly necessary way.
In Boucher’s words, within the music industry, “women feel pressured to act like strippers and it’s OK to make rape threats but it’s not OK to say you’re a feminist.”
These issues don’t just speak to the music industry’s expectation of a female artist’s image: Unfortunately, they go much deeper. Boucher told Fader earlier this year that, “Going into studios, there’s all these engineers there, and they don’t let you touch the equipment.” She goes on to say, “I was like, ‘Well, can I just edit my vocals?’ And they’d be like ‘No, just tell us what to do, and we’ll do it.’ And then a male producer would come in, and he’d be allowed to do it. It was so sexist. I was, like, aghast.”
Obviously, these experiences are upsetting; however, when coupled with engineers being what Boucher calls being, “sexually creepy,” it’s frankly enraging. She relates to Dazed that an occasional producer or engineer will give her their number, following it up by saying, “I’d like to be able to go to work and not be asked on a date. I’d like to go to work and be allowed to touch the computer.” Boucher’s ideals for her work environment are so nominal, it would almost be funny if it didn’t speak volumes about the sexist attitudes that manage to prevail.
While Boucher is definitely fighting the good fight by sharing these experiences, she’s doing even more to practically combat the issues: She writes, produces, and engineers all Grimes songs herself. She told the New Yorker that the reason for not using an outside engineer is simple: “Because, if I use an engineer, then people start being, like, ‘Oh! That guy just did it all.’ ”
As a result, she’s altering a classic music industry narrative in which a man writes and produces songs for a female artist; as she told the New Yorker of the Boucher/ Grimes dynamic: “It’s like I’m Phil Spector, and then there’s Grimes, which is the girl group.” This enables her to ensure the voice being heard on the radio is in line with the writer behind it; Mic calls Boucher’s plan for the upcoming Grimes album, “to record songs so aggressively feminist, no one would think of questioning her credentials.” Which is great, because no one should ever question her credentials based solely on her gender.
We commend Boucher for not backing down and continuing to dismantle the absurd sexism that exists in the music industry. Now, we’re going to wait impatiently for that upcoming Grimes album to drop — we have a feeling it’s going to be a new favorite.
[Images via Instagram]