British singing sensation Charli XCX shot to fame back in 2013 after she featured on two major hit singles, Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy.” Since then, Charli has become a force to be reckoned with. Charli’s sophomore album was a huge worldwide hit and Charli has been on the road almost constantly since 2013. As well as making hit records, Charli has been an outspoken critic of the misogyny that still dominates the music industry. Now Charli has spoken out in a BBC documentary to explain what life is like as a female artist in today’s music industry.
Charli has created the documentary as a BBC crew followed her to major festival dates including Glastonbury and Reading. The film gives a candid insight into the experiences of Charli and a host of female artists. Charli is an outspoken feminist, and the film, titled The F Word And Me, exposes the challenges female artists face. NME claims that the stories that female artists tell are “depressingly similar.”
Charli questions why the tabloids focus on headlines like the one in the Daily Mail that read “Charli XCX gave the Glastonbury crowd a flash of her underwear as she took to the stage in a naughty schoolgirl outfit on Sunday.” The report focuses almost entirely on what Charli wore and the fact that she swore rather than the artistic performance.
Charli points out the irony that the same newspaper attacks her if she covers up. In February, the Daily Mail ran a story saying that “Charli XCX covers up as she hosts meet and greet in Paris following her raunchy display at the NME Awards.” Charli says that she is called a “boring hipster” if she covers up.
Rolling Stone report that as Charli toured her Sucker album, she took time out to interview female artists at each stop to “find out what feminism really means and to see if girls are finally ruling the world.”
“Female musicians are still in the minority. I think it’s important to stand up and be counted, and there are plenty of other women here who feel the same way.”
Entertainment Weekly reports that Charli explains that women are dominating the charts at present and agrees that it’s a great time to be a female pop star, but she does question whether things have changed much. Charli points out that while feminism is everywhere, the music industry is still largely the preserve of male executives.
“Young kids are being blasted with what feminism is. But is the male-dominated music industry really changing and why are our bodies under more scrutiny than ever before?”
Charli XCX took time out to praise Rihanna for “dismantling society’s idea of what a pop star should be.” Charli claims that society’s expectation is that female pop stars should be “perfect, polished and usually white.” Charli claims that people have misunderstood the message from Rihanna’s violent and much criticized video for “B***h Better Have My Money.” Rihanna, Charli claims, makes a powerful statement of intent that says, “you can’t push me around, and you can’t make me be what I don’t want.”
Charli is clearly determined to speak her mind, and she demonstrates that she is feisty by admitting that she does things her own way and takes responsibility for her own decisions. Charli closes out the video by saying that is what feminism means to her.
“I make my own decisions, good and bad, and to me, that’s what feminism is all about.”
Have you watched Charli XCX’s video. Do you agree with Charli that women in the music industry are still treated very differently to men? Let us know what you think.
[Photos By Alan Ewart]