The music industry is rooted in sexism. To this day, male artist’s across all genres chastise and attempt to humiliate their female peers. The idea that women who make music are not as ‘cool’ as the men they share the charts with is very much prevalent, even in a society that is supposedly progressing.
Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher has a long history of sexism. It would appear that being a woman in the music industry is an automatic way to raise the ire of everyone’s uncle’s favourite artist. In 2015 he responded to a fan who called Taylor Swift a good songwriter by saying; “You’re f****** lying. She seems like a nice girl, but no one has ever said those words, and you f****** know it.” Around the same time, he also blasted Beyonce. “If shaking your ass for a living is considered art, then she’s right up there, no?” It would appear that the star from the ‘90s is somewhat fixated on discrediting the accomplishments of female artists.
Now he’s ranting once again. “Little Mix, with the greatest respect, are not in the same league as Oasis. Not even in the same f******* sport”, claimed Noel Gallagher in a recent interview with The Sun. He continued his regressive rant by stating; “It’s a symptom of the music business chasing the numbers – and there not being any bands or songwriters in those bands.” Little Mix recently became the first female band to win the Brit Award for Best British Group making it evident that Gallagher is taking issue with women in music succeeding. Miley Cyrus was also a recent subject of one of his tirades. Gallagher told the Daily Star last year, “That god awful woman Miley Cyrus was on and she was doing some f****** s*** and even my nine year old said, ‘Why is the cameraman just filming her legs?’” In the same interview, he blamed America for the sexualization of female artists. While these comments are regressive and dripping in casual sexism, it comes as no surprise.
In 2008, Gallagher published a list of his top 10 bands on the blog section of the official Oasis website. His described methods of deciding the list of entrants were blatantly misogynistic. “In the dressing room the traditional debate has started about ‘The Top 10”, he stated. “This means the Top 10 bands of all time. No solo artists allowed. No female artists allowed. No collectives allowed.” The exclusion of female artists entirely from the list makes Gallagher’s stance on female musicians clear. Perhaps he thinks that female artists are so inferior to their male counterparts that they don’t even warrant consideration on any ‘all-time greats’ lists or conversations?
Oasis’ Noel Gallagher Top 10 Bands (2008)
Like all artists from the Britpop era, Gallagher came up during a time when “authenticity” was paramount in achieving a fan base and successful career. To be labelled ‘uncool’ or ‘manufactured’ was considered the cardinal sin of musicians during this era. Bubblegum pop acts like the Spice Girls were the antithesis of the Britpop takeover that was championed by Oasis and other primarily all-male bands such as Blur and Suede. The Spice Girls were subject to many public tongue lashings from Britpop fans and artists alike. Noel’s brother and bandmate, Liam Gallagher famously said that he would not be attending the 1997 Brit Awards due to their attendance. Liam stated that he would “smack them” if he were to run into them at the awards ceremony. Reading a comment like this in 2021 is entirely cringe-inducing. Sadly it is indicative of the struggles faced by women in the music industry. In 2012, years after his brothers’ spat, Noel took aim at one of their band members, Geri Halliwell. “But you know at least I’m not shagging Geri Halliwell. I mean f**king hell, out of all The Spice Girls – not ginger”, he said to Q Magazine. As stated, this is the same man who blamed American culture for the sexualisation of female artists.
Such rampant misogyny is not exclusive to Gallagher in regards to female pop stars of the ‘90s. Women across the music industry have faced setbacks from their male peers for decades. The punk movement of the 1970s was considered a boys club. Bands such as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols spearheaded the movement. Despite the entire subculture being a politicized rebellion against establishments and social constraints, it did so from a male’s perspective. Bands like The Slits did attempt to shatter the norm. However, they had to fight cynicism from the men they shared the movement with. The frontwoman of The Slits, Viv Albertine described their experience of being “hated, shunned and squashed” in a 2018 article which she wrote for The Guardian. Before joining The Slits, she was briefly a member of the short-lived band, Flowers of Romance alongside Sid Vicious from The Sex Pistols. She was ousted after Vicious doubted her skills as a guitarist. The band’s lead singer, Ari Up was stabbed twice on the street within one year. This is because they were women who dared to be provocative during a time when society still expected them to be subordinate. A lot of this resentment was coming from fans of a genre that existed as a means of inciting political change and protest. It is apparent from these words that the male artists’ attitude was directly influencing the male fans of the punk subgenre. It’s no surprise that these women were subjected to such harsh misogyny and violence, considering their male peers encouraged sexist disdain.
Female rappers are also subject to the same appalling treatment. In July 2020, Texas-born rapper, Megan Thee Stallion was the victim of an alleged shooting by male rapper, Tory Lanez. The attack left Megan bloodied and injured. While she did receive an outpour of love and support from some of her peers, there was also a significant amount of hip-hop fans making a mockery of the situation, making light of and questioning what Megan was going through. Memes and comments mocking the incident circulated throughout social media, making light of Megan’s pain. There have been many notable instances where male rappers have been shot and it would be difficult to name an instance where any was treated with the same ridicule as Megan. 50 Cent took part by sharing one of the cruel memes in another instance of a male artist influencing male listener’s opinion of their female contemporaries. This is clearly a pattern across all music genres.
Little Mix and Megan Thee Stallion are simply the most recent victims of the music industry’s chauvinism problem. It’s been ongoing for decades. While slow strides have been made since the toxic era of the 1990s-mid Noughties, Gallagher’s comments and 50 Cent’s ignorance make it clear that there is still a long way to go. ‘Cool-guy’ musicians and listeners could perhaps just allow women and gay men to enjoy pop music made by female artists? Would it really be that much of a detriment to their masculinity and dated notions of authenticity to allow people to enjoy music that isn’t quite for them? I doubt it. Little Mix and other female artists should be allowed to enjoy their success and release music that is pleasing to their fan base without sexist taunting. Men like Noel Gallagher should try to evolve. It is no longer endearing to police the integrity of women simply because they don’t make music for straight men.
Written by Sean Gallagher