Bjork discussed sexism in an open letter posted to her Facebook account.
Iconic alternative music heroine Bjork has addressed the issue of sexism that women are subjected to when it comes to topics they can cover in music, saying that female artists are criticised if they “don’t cut our chest open and bleed about the men in our lives”.
The prestigious Icelandic artist, 51, took to her official Facebook page to post an open letter on Wednesday (December 21st). She said that, while she had never up until this point “moaned about sexism and just got on w[ith] it”, a recent experience while she performed a DJ set at Houston’s Day and Night Festival had moved her to comment.
“I am aware of that it is less of a year since I started DJing publicly so this is something people are still getting used to and my fans have been incredibly welcoming to me sharing my musical journey and letting me be me,” she wrote.
Bjork performing live
“But 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 this is sexism.”
Male electronic artists, such as Aphex Twin and her former collaborator and producer Arca, performed similar DJ sets but didn’t face the same scrutiny as Bjork did. This phenomenon extends to the kinds of subject matter that women are allowed to sing about in their music, she believes.
“Women in music are allowed to be singer songwriters singing about their boyfriends,” she wrote. “If they change the subject matter to atoms, galaxies, activism, nerdy math beat-editing or anything else than being performers singing about their loved ones they get criticized. Journalists feel there is just something missing… as if our only lingo is emo…”
Bjork has authored exceptionally well-received albums since her debut solo album in 1993, having been a member of The Sugarcubes in the '80s. She also argued that it had happened to her regarding the reception given to her last two studio albums, 2011’s Biophilia and 2015’s Vulnicura.
“On the pedagogic Biophilia I sang about galaxies and atoms, but it wasn’t until Vulnicura where I shared a heartbreak I got full acceptance from the media,” she remembered. “If we don’t cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives we are cheating our audience. Eat your Bechdel test heart out.”