A Bone to Pick with Lorde’s Feminism

lorde-cred-james-k-lowe-650-430I really like Lorde.

Ella Maria Lani Yellich-O’Connor has to be both the weirdest and coolest 16-year-old, which doubles how interesting she is. She claims to be lame, but if you listen to any song on Pure Heroine (or her The Love Club EP), you’d realize instantly how untrue that statement is.

She seems so truly brilliant, in-touch and authentic.

But I have the smallest bone to pick with her. In the spirit of feminism, she’s made some comments about other female artists and the unhealthy quality of their music.

On Lana Del Rey “She’s great, but I listened to that Lana Del Rey record and the whole time I was just thinking it’s so unhealthy for young girls to be listening to, you know: “I’m nothing without you.” This sort of shirt-tugging, desperate, don’t leave me stuff. That’s not a good thing for young girls, even young people, to hear.”

No, that record is definitely not healthy for young girls, but that’s because it’s not intended for young girls. I understand why people want to give this responsibility to artists. I get that many feel it is the artists’ responsibility to put a positive image out there. But it’s not. It is, however, parents’ responsibility to know what their kids are listening to, to know their kids well enough to understand how it impacts them, to discuss it. I know, that’s a lot of work. But that’s kinda understood when you have kids, right?

Adults can make music about adult issues. And they don’t need to censor themselves, because children exist and listen to music.

On Taylor Swift: “Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls. ‘I’m never going to be like Taylor Swift, why can’t I be as pretty as Lorde?’”

I’m going to skip past the fact that she included herself there and jump straight to the fact that she’s ragging on Taylor Swift for looking like…herself. I’m not quite sure what young Yellich-O’Connor expects Swift to do. Gain weight? Muse her hair? Dress differently?

I appreciate that she wants the best for women. But the best for women isn’t to expect them to “downgrade” themselves so as to keep other women from being envious. That isn’t reasonable, nor will it fix anything. What we need to do is encourage/insist/demand that women understand their value does not come in comparing themselves to other women (celebrity or not). That it does not come from being with men. That it does not come from outward appearance. It comes from how we conduct ourselves, how we treat each other and what we put into the world.

I think Lorde wants to put good out there. She’s terribly talented, clearly intelligent and a bit naive. But more than worth a listen.


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