‘Change the subject’

Björk claims music critics punish female artists for singing about topics other than ‘their boyfriends’

Icelandic singer Bjork (MALTE KRISTIANSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Iconic Icelandic artist Björk took the media to task in an open letter posted on Facebook, claiming that female artists aren’t treated seriously by critics if they “don’t cut our chests open and bleed about the men in our lives.”

Björk’s comments came in the wake of her D.J. set at the Day and Night festival in Houston, where she said she faced undue criticism for not ‘performing’ on stage. “Some media could not get their head around that I was not ‘performing’ and ‘hiding’ behind desks, and my male counterparts not. And I think that is sexism, which at the end of this tumultuous year is something I’m not going to let slide,” wrote Björk, noting that other male performers such as Aphex Twin and Arca played similar sets to her own without criticism.

As a general rule, Björk added, “Women in music are allowed to be singer-songwriters singing about their boyfriends” but “if they change the subject matter … journalists feel there is just something missing … as if our only lingo is emo.” The work of iconic singers such as Edith Piaf and Maria Callas, Björk argued, was reduced by documentarians to their relationships with men. Male musicians, Björk claimed, are far less likely to hear mention of “the women they loved or broke their hearts” from their critics.

Over the course of her four-decade career, Björk noted, she hadn’t really “moaned about sexism and just got on [with] it.” But with an eye toward the horizon, it appears she felt enough was enough.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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