Being a feminist in the music industry is the most fearless fashion statement of all right now, at least that’s what 2014 taught us. Whether this love affair that stars such as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé seem to be having with feminism is just a flighty infatuation built to boost their publicity remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure is that 2015 will add another chapter to what is becoming known as the “Third Wave” of feminism in the music industry and popular culture.
Maybe it’s the fact that 2013 was such an abysmal year for the feminist cause in music that allowed 2014 to be a year that garnered support for girl power. Who can forget the stellar summer soundtrack of 2013 that was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”? Its lyrics and likewise its video did nothing to further the cause of feminism.
While the Blurred Lines debate is ultimately a tired one at this stage, instead of reflecting on what should be forgettable, it’s best to remember the memorable leaps and bounds that feminism has taken in the last 12 months. Many critics of Beyoncé consistently claim year after year that she is not a feminist. How could someone who names their worldwide tour, “The Mrs Carter Tour” after their husband’s surname possibly be a feminist? But of course Beyoncé is a feminist. A women should be allowed to embrace her husband’s name if she gains empowerment from doing so.What better way to prove that Beyoncé has real feminist credentials by featuring author of “We should all be Feminists”, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on her track “Flawless”, which celebrates female work ethic. Her marriage to Jay Z hasn’t changed her outlook, something which she eloquently expressed in her video to mark the first anniversary of her visual album last month “’I think it’s the hardest thing to give up, but my mother always taught me to be strong and to never be a victim, never make excuses, never expect anyone else to provide me things that I know I can provide for myself,’
It seems that since releasing her album “1989” Taylor Swift has adopted similar views to Queen Bey. Instead of strumming her guitar lamenting the loss of half-hearted lovers, she has re-invented herself into a confident young women with the ability to “shake off” whatever comes her way. This year in an interview with The Guardian, Swift addressed what is arguably the greatest issue that feminism has in music and in the media as a whole and that is that to be a feminist is to mean that “we hate men”. Although Swift’s extreme stance in her “Blank Space” video may appear as if she is indeed a man hater, in reality she is just demanding respect from her male suitors and the media.
It’s not just megastar solo-artists that are flying the flag for feminism. Girl bands such GRL and Fifth Harmony are promoting the same stream of savy girl power that Spice Girls paraded in the mid-nineties, while three piece, Haim are bringing their own original brand of Indie rock from Glastonbury to Coachella.Sinead O’ Connor’s last album title “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” highlights the true meaning of feminism in the music industry. Feminism isn’t about detesting men or dissing other women, it’s about rejoicing in the difference that exists between us all and demanding equality. There was a time in the so-called swinging sixties where women were practically non-existent in the Billboard Charts, although these days have long departed, it’s important that women continue to bond together to make sure that the glass ceiling remains well and truly shattered.