A Look at Gender Bias in the Music Industry

All of my favorite musicians have one thing in common: they portray their feelings about love and life through their lyrics. Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Lana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeran, to name a few, all use their music to work through whatever they’re dealing with in their personal lives and this helps the listener to connect with them on a deeper level.


One difference between these musicians, however, is that the women face a level of criticism that the men do not. For some reason female musicians who sing about their love lives are viewed as “sluts” for openly talking about all of their past relationships, even though they are doing the exact same thing that the men are.


Taylor Swift’s love life is constantly being dissected by the media and she is the recurring object of slut shaming by people on social media.


When asked about the double standard between men and women she said, “They’re all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love life, and no one raises a red flag there.”  


Ariana Grande has also dealt with this sexist criticism, especially within the last year. In her new song “Thank U, Next," she mentions four of her ex-boyfriends by name. Many people applauded her candidness and honesty, but some people condemned her for talking about Mac Miller, claiming she was milking his death and using his name for attention. This seems absolutely ridiculous to me. He was a significant person in her life and singing about him is a way for her to work through the tragedy that is his death. After he died, many people blamed her, saying she should have stayed with him and helped him get through whatever he was struggling with.


This tendency to blame the woman for the man’s actions is just another way that all women, not only musicians, face this unfair sexist double standard.


This gender bias reaches far beyond the music industry and into our everyday lives. Women who are open about their relationships are usually viewed as being slutty, while men are applauded for all the girls they are with.


Breaking down this unfair criticism and opening up the conversation about sexism is the only way we will see any change when it comes to how music from both men and women is received.