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CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry and Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves talk misogyny and music

CHVRCHESLauren Mayberry and Perfect Pussy‘s Meredith Graves spoke to Paper Mag as part of their Girl Crush series, where “women with mutual admiration for one another get together for conversations that offer illuminating looks into what it’s like to be a woman right now.”

“When people talk to women in music about music, the primary topic is suffering, because people love to read about how hard it is to be a woman,” starts Meredith. ‘They love to have it validated that we are really struggling; it’s never just, like, fun and easy for us. Misogyny porn is ‘tell us the worst thing a music writer has ever written about you,” or ‘tell us about the times when people privileged your appearance over your music,’ or “tell us the most sexist thing anyone has ever said to you.” Why don’t you ask me about my guitar tone? Why do you want me to recount, for free, the times that I have been abused? Why is that the story? That is misogyny. Focusing every single story on my suffering instead of allowing me to talk about things that are good.”

“I read the Carrie Brownstein book last year, and there’s a bit in that where she is talking about people asking her ‘what’s it like to be a woman in music,’ continues Lauren. “She used to get so frustrated about it, and then she decided that talking about being a woman in music is a separate, additional job that she does as well as being a musician, basically she said “I’ve never had any experience as a musician which didn’t involve me being a female, so this is always going to be a thing that comes up, regardless of whether I want it to or not.”

“Given that a lot of the sexist, awful, disgusting people in the music industry are men, I want to see male musicians asked the same question: ‘Do you ever feel like people think you’re a piece of shit just because you’re a dude?’ I want to talk to male musicians about what it feels like to be a male musician in an age and era where more men in music are total garbage pieces of trash. I just want to see them held to the same standard,” Meredith adds.

“When the other members of CHVRCHES get asked about any of the stuff that has happened to us, it’s, ‘how do you guys feel about what Lauren has to deal with?’ It’s an interesting question, but it’s also a blinkered way of looking at it. (Bandmate Iain Cook) had a good answer where it was like, ‘it’s not really important how I feel about it, insofar as how I go into the world and conduct myself and how I want other people to work with me, because I’m coming from a place of privilege anyway, and not recognizing that is worse,’ Lauren explains before adding “But there are a lot of good things about what we do too!”

“It’s true, agrees Meredith. “We have the best job in the world. Two years ago I was a small-minded seamstress in Syracuse, New York, and I was happy, I had a great garden, but now I get to fly to Australia. It’s great, and all I have to put up with are threats of death and rape.”

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