Alim Kheraj
August 01, 2017 12:41 am

It’s been 10 years since Paramore released the song, but Hayley Williams is still responding to criticism over the band’s track “Misery Business” and its apparent sexist, misogynistic, and slut-shaming lyrics.

The song, which was released in 2007 and taken from the album Riot!, features many contentious lyrics, including: “Once a whore, you’re nothing more / I’m sorry, that will never change.”

Likewise, the video for the track features moments that seem to back up the anti-feminist, sexist lyrics, with Hayley and her band approaching a girl in high school, removing the padding from her bra, and aggressively removing her makeup.

While this isn’t the first time Williams has spoken out against the lyrics — in 2015 she wrote a blog on Tumblr about backlash against the track, noting that “‘Misery Business’ is not a set of lyrics that I relate to as a 26-year-old woman” — the singer responded to the criticism again.

Speaking to Track 7, Williams contended that she is a feminist and again reflected on the lyrics.

At the time when her feminist credentials were being questioned by fans, Williams attempted to take accountability for what she had written, but explained that, 10 years later, she had grown up and learned from her experiences.

“[The lyrics for “Misery Business”] literally came from a page in my diary. What I couldn’t have known at the time was that I was feeding into a lie that I’d bought into, just like so many other teenagers – and many adults – before me,” she explained. “The whole, ‘I’m not like the other girls’ thing… this ‘cool girl’ religion. What even is that? Who are the gatekeepers of ‘cool’ anyway? Are they all men? Are they women that we’ve put on top of an unreachable pedestal?”

Continuing, she added, “The problem with the lyrics is not that I had an issue with someone I went to school with. That’s just high school and friendships and breakups. It’s the way I tried to call her out using words that didn’t belong in the conversation. It’s the fact that the story was setup inside the context of a competition that didn’t exist over some fantasy romance.”

While performing as Paramore now — the band just released their latest album After Laughter — Williams doesn’t sing those controversial lyrics from “Misery Business” any longer.

In fact, she puts the whole experience down to personal and artistic growth.

We respect Williams for speaking out about the creative mistakes she’s made in the past. As a teenager you have to learn from the things that you’ve done, and it sounds like, after 10 years of rumination and soul-searching, the singer has come to a place where those events have made her a stronger and more compassionate woman.

Paramore’s new album After Laughter is available now. The band kicks off their tour on August 12th.

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