The so-called feminist magazine, Playboy, recently published an article written by a dude who argued that Neko Case is, “too smart—and frankly too old—to be one of those shiny young pop starlets who sing about love with superficial life-or-death stakes.”
Earth to everyone; she is not a commercial pop star. So, why compare her to the likes of Katy Perry or Beyoncé?
The problem with the article is that it places women into one generalized category. This is the result of an industry that isolates women from participating as equals in the business by pitting female artists only against other female artists. You don’t see this kind of stuff with men, because, you know, they are “allowed” to be individuals. This ongoing systematic sexism creates erasure in the industry; a woman can only be viewed in relation to other women, not men.
The piece also seems to push a “manic pixie dream woman” label on Case and assumes that because she is older, she is “knowledgeable” and “mysterious.” The author of the piece says, “at an age when her contemporaries are singing about marriage and families—or cataloging the divorces that broke those families apart—Case is still singing about the road not traveled.”
Neko Case herself responds pretty appropriately to Playboy’s article. She tweets the following:
While an argument could be made that identity and art cannot be divorced, because one influences the other, it is a rather irrelevant statement to make in this instance. Case is pretty self-aware of her positionality, as one can tell via this Billboard article. She says the following in the interview:
Yeah, I’m 42, and I’m in a world that doesn’t really think it’s very normal to be single, not have any kids and be a straight American woman in her 40s,'” Case says. “It’s like, ‘Are you crazy? Why don’t you have these things?’ I had to go through all of my personal paperwork and go, ‘I really did choose that. I own it.
It is time for people to stop assuming some universal connection between women, other than they are vastly discriminated against in the music industry. Surprise, surprise! Not all women want to sing about the same things. What a shock.
Anyway, way to go Neko Case!
Photos courtesy of BUST Magazine via Anna Wolf, Twitter.