I absolutely love La Roux’s Spring anthem, In For The Kill (particularly the Skream remix) so I was hugely disappointed when a reader forwarded us this interview, in which singer Elly Jackson is quoted as saying:
I know that there’s far more ways to be sexy than to dress in a miniskirt and a tank top. […] I think you attract a certain kind of man by dressing like that. Women wonder why they get beaten up, or having relationships with arsehole men. Because you attracted one, you twat.
Harsh doesn’t even begin to describe it, does it?
She recognises that the music industry’s attitude towards women’s sexuality is ‘patronising’ and is pleased that fans have welcomed her rejection of the feminine, sexed up style expected of female artists, but in attacking women who do fit the ‘boobs, heels and tan’ stereotype and blaming male violence on women’s appearance she is helping to perpetuate the very objectifying and offensive attitude that she detests. She rejects the pressure to be a sex object, but views other women as sex objects that ‘arsehole men’ simply cannot resist.
I don’t need to repeat this here, but just in case La Roux is reading: women get raped and abused no matter what we look like, no matter how we dress, no matter how we behave or who we flirt with. If, like me, you feel better about yourself by not conforming to mainstream feminine sexiness, then that’s great, and I agree that having a musical role model who doesn’t capitulate to the pressure to look like a Pussycat Doll will help young women feel more comfortable about themselves. But don’t think that makes you any more immune to male violence than Nicole and her bandmates, because it doesn’t. You might not have the short skirt and heels, but you’re female, and that’s enough both for men to feel you are fair game and for the general public and a court of law to find some reason – be it your sexual history or the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream – to blame you for the consequences. So, please, have some empathy, and stop blaming women for male violence just because you don’t like their style.