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Björk Slams Sexism in Negative Reviews of Recent DJ Set, Calls for “the Right to Variety for All the Girls Out There”

<> Housing Works Bookstore Cafe's "Live from Home" benefit concert series at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe on May 8, 2009 in New York City.

In a new Facebook post, Björk has called out sexism in music criticism and unequal cultural expectations for women musicians. Her open letter invokes mixed reviews of Björk Digital, her DJ set at last weekend’s Day for Night Festival in Houston, where she performed alongside other noted electronic musicians including Aphex Twin and Arca.

“as you know the majority of my career i havent moaned about sexism and just got on w it,” Björk’s note begins. “but some media could not get their head around that i was not ‘performing’ and ‘hiding’ behind desks . and my male counterparts not . and i think this is sexism .” While DJ Björk’s song selections received praise, some reviewers were evidently confused by her decision to wear a mask and DJ from behind potted plants. (Never mind that a weird mask is practically a prerequisite for mainstream EDM success.)

Björk went on to tie a perceived double standard for female DJs to social and critical expectations about women musicians’ subject matter. “women in music are allowed to be singer songwriters singing about their boyfriends . if they change the subject matter to atoms , galaxies , activism , nerdy math beat editing or anything else than being performers singing about their loved ones they get criticized : journalists feel there is just something missing … as if our only lingo is emo …”

As an example, Björk compared the reception of 2007’s Volta and 2011’s Biophilia to 2015’s Vulnicura: “it wasnt until vulnicura where i shared a heartbreak i got full acceptance from the media.”

“men are allowed to go from subject to subject , do sci fi , period pieces , be slapstick and humorous , be music nerds getting lost in sculpting soundscapes but not women,” she wrote. “if we [women] dont cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives we are cheating our audience.” She closed her letter by calling for change in 2017 and “the right to variety for all the girls out there.”

Read Björk’s full letter about sexism in music criticism and watch a snippet of her Day for Night DJ set (via the Houston Chronicle) below.