Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry is familiar with sexism. She holds a four-year law degree and a master's in journalism; her dissertation was on how women are portrayed in the media. In her music career so far, she's found herself turning down opportunities that could have objectified her, emphasizing her femininity over her talent.
But it appears that the internet has objectified her anyhow. Today, she penned an editorial in The Guardian about the rape threats she receives on the band's Facebook page, and how she came to the conclusion that no person should have to "just deal with" that kind of abuse:
My current favourites from the latter category include:
"This isn't rape culture. You'll know rape culture when I'm raping you, bitch"
"I have your address and I will come round to your house and give u anal and you will love it you twat lol" "Act like a slut, getting treated like a sluy [sic]"
"It's just one of those things you'll need to learn to deal with. If you're easily offended, then maybe the music industry isn't for you"
But why should women "deal" with this? I am incredibly lucky to be doing the job I am doing at the moment – and painfully aware of the fact that I would not be able to make music for a living without people on the internet caring about our band. But does that mean that I need to accept that it's OK for people to make comments like this, because that's how women in my position are spoken to?
It's certainly not news to anyone that women would be objectified in this way, particularly on the internet. And the fallout can be far worse. Objectified individuals can be only a home address from being raped in real life, or living in such fear that they flee their home. When those people speak out, things can often get worse. But that's really Mayberry's point, after all. She's in a band, true, but like other affected individuals before her, she's simply sharing her story and encouraging others to reject the status quo — to actively throw away the idea that making violent, sexist comments online should be deemed normal.