All Lana Del Rey needed to do was announce an album.
That’s it. That’s all. No grand plan, no schedule, no conversation – just a date. Not even a title. Not even artwork.
Instead, fans got a problematic prism, a blast of nervous energy from a songwriter who has proved her worth a hundred-fold.
Somehow managing to lash out at virtually every other Major League Female Performer out there, Lana Del Rey’s statement this morning (May 21st) seemed to detonate just about every possible talking point in the current discourse. Sadly, not often in a good way.
A problematic prism, here’s five different ways of looking at that statement.
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Lana Del Rey’s statement is actually kinda racist…
There’s a few things wrong with this message, and the one thing that alarmingly caught my eye was the sly tone of racism. There is a nastiness from the get go; titled, ‘for the culture,’ this snide ignorance is hard to ignore.
As she goes on to describe solely women of colour as examples of women in the industry who are currently freely using their sexuality to express themselves – I can’t help but ask myself how did she manage to forget such relevant and iconic white artists who have been prone to do this too; Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and in previous times Britney.
This isn’t the first time Lana has referred to “culture,” when speaking amongst p.o.c., and this “accidental” list of non-white artists isn’t just a coincidence. (Laviea Thomas)
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It’s a statement that seems to embody internalised misogyny…
Here Lana critiques how she, a woman, it treated by the music industry, by taking down other women. There is something unsettling about how oblivious she is about her own internalised misogyny, preaching change whilst reinforcing the problems that women face every day, both out in society and in the supposedly progressive creative industries.
That which she criticizes her fellow woman for is what the patriarchy has deemed to be unacceptable for years. By taking ownership of their body, being ‘sexy’ and ‘wearing no clothes’, and taking control of their sexual freedom and relationships by ‘f***ing’ and ‘cheating’, these women are rebelling against the limitations that society has placed around them because of their gender.
For Lana to not only disagree with the actions of these women, but to use her platform to publicly shame their behaviour, is disgusting. She is spreading this internalised misogyny to her fans, reinforcing the toxic beliefs of those that agree with her and teaching the young women that see her as a role model that they are limited and must exist within said confinements in order to be appreciated as an artist. (Megan Walder)
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She has a point about the music industry’s double standards…
Whilst Lana’s argument is tainted by an anger that is unjustly directed towards women in the music industry, said anger existing is understandable. The double standards within the music industry work against women, just as the patriarchal society we exist within do. The most successful women in the music do sing about being sexy and wearing no clothes etc, because sex sells. It has been this way for years.
‘99% of women working in the film and TV industries have experienced sexism’ and such sexism is bound to influence your perspective on the world. People become bitter and untrusting in situations where they feel disrespected, and it seems that Lana has done exactly that. Her displaced anger is rooted in a fear that the topics she covers in her music limit her success.
But after that industry reaction to to ‘Norman F*cking Rockwell’, I think it’s clear that her success is in her own hands, as long as she stops angering the world with her unconsidered and controversial statements. (Megan Walder)
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It deliberately fudges definitions of feminism…
Lana has made it very obvious a number of times for her lack of interest in feminism, and to most this might be horrifying, but in some respects I see where she is coming from. However in this message she is quick to victimise herself and put herself in a box, “I’m not a feminist but there has to be a place for women who look and act like me.”
Few things wrong with that being that feminism doesn’t undermine the way herself or the artists she discourages in her first few sentences. She isn’t in this alone, and the way Doja Cat may explore her sexuality and self in the music industry is in no means any different to the way she portrays herself.
She attacks feminism without truly having any idea of the concept, but she isn’t entirely to blame for this, many will call any “liberating” gesture feminism these days and so it’s understandable why she thinks she disagrees with it. But it’s her responsibility to look beside that and understand there is much more depth to it than in which the media have often portrayed it.
This message just feels like a major cry out for sympathy, when she is already praised for her music worldwide. (Laviea Thomas)
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She has never sought to disguise her own flaws, and this statement – much like the majority of her art – follows that…
Lana’s statement reads like something almost unprepared, an outburst of emotion from an artist who has never attempted to hide her flaws. Indeed, it’s essentially her core aesthetic – beautifully flawed people, behaving in ways that aren’t always OK.
It’s perhaps reductive to view the statement in the same way – it’s hardly worth putting alongside ‘Norman F*cking Rockwell’ – but it feels like an attempt to deliver move into the grey, at a time when social media is strictly monochrome.
It’s not successful, she definitely slips up, but there’s something about it that speaks volumes about the spirit behind so much of her art, and the frustrations she undoubtedly has about wider society’s failure to recognise her creativity.
It’s ugly at some points, and at others wide of the mark – but then, that’s Lana. We reserve the right to reprimand and adore her.
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Lana Del Rey’s new album will be released in September.
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