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Where Were the Women?- Sexism at the Grammys

By Ilana Rubin

A few Sundays ago, Americans tuned in to watch Bruno Mars and Cardi B bust out their funkiest moves while performing “Finesse”, Kesha belt a powerful performance of “Praying”, and Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid raise awareness for suicide prevention in their song "1-800-273-8255". However, what we didn’t see were many women walking off of the stage holding the coveted golden gramophone trophy. While racism has definitely gotten better at awards shows, we must now focus on the prevalence of sexism in award shows, starting with this year’s Grammy Awards.

Sexism has always been a big issue in nearly every industry, however, it is especially bad in the music industry. A University of Southern California conducted a study and concluded that more than 90 percent of Grammy nominees from 2013 to 2018 were male. So are women only making 10% of all music? NO! The president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, responded to questions regarding the trending #GrammySoMale and the lack of women nominated for Grammys saying, “[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome”. This response sparked a massive outrage, especially in light of the recent Times Up and #MeToo movements. Grammy attendees walked the red carpet adorned with white roses to show support of these movements, leaving many spectators demanding that women be remembered and recognized not only for Times Up and #MeToo but their contributions to the music industry.

So which women were able to score a Grammy nomination? Breakout singer SZA was the most nominated woman of the night with 5 nominations. In the end, SZA left Grammy-less, as did most of the other women who were nominated. Alessia Cara won one Grammy award out of four nominations this year, but nearly all other women weren’t as successful as only eleven Grammys were won by women. Lorde, the only female artist nominated for album of the year, declined to perform at the show and had a powerful `poem sewn onto her dress regarding the importance of activism and courage in light of recent issues. Even though America may never agree on who should win which award, I would hope that everyone would agree that women in the music industry deserve better than this.

The question that many are asking today is How can we ensure that more women will be nominated and receive awards next year?. The sad truth is that the awards are solely decided upon by the Recording Academy. However, there are many ways that you can voice your support to end sexism in award shows. You don’t necessarily need to post a fiery Tweet regarding the issue (but if you want to, go for it!), however, any social media post regarding this issue raises awareness for sexism in awards shows and leads to a greater demand for change. Additionally, always remember to support the artists that you enjoy listening to, no matter how many awards they have received. Hopefully next year at the Grammys credit will be given where credit is due, regardless of the artist’s gender.

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