Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry Writes Editorial Blasting Online Sexism
Lauren Mayberry, singer of Glasgow electro pop trio Chvrches, has penned a piece for The Guardian in response to misogynist messages she has received online. Her essay stemmed from a recent post made on Chvrches' Facebook-- a screengrab of one of the sexist Facebook messages the band received. She noted that comments on the post included such vile responses as "This isn't rape culture. You'll know rape culture when I'm raping you, bitch" and "It's just one of those things you'll need to learn to deal with."
In The Guardian piece, Mayberry described how being an internet-bred band, reliant on blogs and social media, has fed into this. She elaborated on her personal feminist identity and referenced this Kathleen Hanna interview. "I am incredibly lucky to be doing the job I am doing at the moment – and painfully aware of the fact that I would not be able to make music for a living without people on the internet caring about our band," Mayberry wrote. "But does that mean that I need to accept that it's OK for people to make comments like this, because that's how women in my position are spoken to?"
What I do not accept, however, is that it is all right for people to make comments ranging from "a bit sexist but generally harmless" to openly sexually aggressive. That it is something that "just happens". Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over and accept defeat? I hope not. Objectification, whatever its form, is not something anyone should have to "just deal with".
Mayberry also wrote specifically about how she has dealt with sexist Facebook messages:
Since we began the Facebook page, I have seen every message – good and bad – that has come into our inbox. Many people involved with our band argued that we should give up maintaining this routine as things got busier and Chvrches' schedule got tighter, but it is important to me that our fans know we value their interest in us by giving things a personal touch. Perhaps people assume we have a team of fancy PAs who deal with our social networks for us. Maybe the men – and I'm sorry, but they are all men – sending the notifications of impending unsolicited "anal" bothering don't realise it will actually be me who reads the emails – or maybe they don't care either way. But in order to get to the messages from people who genuinely wish to share something with the band, I must filter through every condescending and offensive message we receive.
I read them every morning when I get up. I read them after soundcheck. I read them, as we all do with our emails and notifications, on my phone on the bus or when I have a break in the day. And, after a while, despite the positive messages in the majority, the aggressive, intrusive nature of the other kind becomes overwhelming. During this past tour, I am embarrassed to admit that I have had more than one prolonged toilet cry and a "Come on, get a hold of yourself, you got this" conversation with myself in a bathroom mirror when particularly exasperated and tired out. But then, after all the sniffling had ceased, I asked myself: why should I cry about this? Why should I feel violated, uncomfortable and demeaned? Why should we all keep quiet?