Justice

The Sad Reason Grimes Isn't Surprised by What Happened to Kesha

Another female pop star has come forward to support Kesha.

This week, Grimes sounded off to Rolling Stone about the situation, in which Kesha finds herself bound to a recording contract with the same company that employs her alleged sexual abuser, Dr. Luke.

The "Art Angels" creator admitted that she wasn't fully privy to what happened between Kesha and Dr. Luke, but said she faces sexual pressure similar to what Kesha described.

"I don't know enough about the specifics of that situation, because it seems very complicated. But I will say that I've been in numerous situations where male producers would literally be like, 'we won't finish the song unless you come back to my hotel room.' If I was younger or in a more financially desperate situation, maybe I would have done that," she told Rolling Stone.

Grimes comments suggest that there is a bigger problem that contributed to the power dynamic Kesha faced, in which her career was effectively held hostage by her alleged abuser.

The problem is bigger than Kesha.

Grimes also voiced concern about gender inequality in the the music industry more generally. "I don't think there are few female producers because women aren't interested. It's difficult for women to get in. It's a pretty hostile environment," she explained.

She expanded on her frustration in a tweet, and suggested that the media should empower female producers rather than simply portray women as victims.

Grimes implied that the industry's sexual assault problem is related to a larger issue — instead of simply expressing our sympathy for Kesha and other victims of assault, we should promote accomplished women so that female artists need not be at the behest of predatory male producers.

The music industry gender gap.

In October 2015, Music Business Journal reported startling statistics about opportunities for women in the recording industry:

"In the U.K, for example, facts speak for themselves. Women working in the business are more inclined to have a superior qualification as compared to their male colleagues but nearly 50% of them earn less than £10,000 ($15,000). Moreover, even though there are more women in the population than men in working age, 61 percent of music professionals in the U.K. are male. In sectors such as promotion, management and live music, that number rises to 70%. Except for the salaries, the United States is unlikely to be that different."

Women are both less visible and less recognized in the music business. "In Nashville, Tennessee, fewer than 5% of all professional producers and engineers are women and, overall, only six females have ever been nominated for best producer at the Brits and Grammys combined; none have won the prize," author Natasha Patel continued.

In a 2013 blog post on the Huffington Post, Lara Baker, organizer of the AIM Independent Music Awards, noted that "the gender divide across all music industry related jobs is 67.8 percent male to 32.2 percent female," according to Creative & Cultural Skills, a UK resource advocating youth employment in creative fields.

"Statistics consistently show that women in music earn less than their male counterparts," Baker added.

It isn't enough to #FreeKesha.

Grimes suggested that it isn't just money that prevents women from rising through the ranks in the industry — it's also that the media fails to spotlight female success, and paints female artists simply as "singers," even if their creative roles go far beyond performing.

Meanwhile, Kesha recently shared that she was offered freedom from her contract with Sony if she would “apologize publicly and say she never got raped.” Her fans quickly came out in support.

As Grimes pointed out, while solidarity with victims is important, we also need to hold ourselves accountable for perpetuating a cultural climate in which female artists' careers are almost always controlled by men.

[H/T Jezebel]