Garbage's Shirley Manson: 'Women Are Disempowered In Music'

Garbage's frontwoman Shirley Manson has said that women are still being disempowered in the music industry.

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Garbage's frontwoman Shirley Manson has said that women are still being disempowered in the music industry.

Manson said although she feels a generation of women in the '90s managed to "bust through" the glass ceiling, she feels that things have taken a step back in recent years.

"I'm delighted to see women in any genre doing well, the biggest stars de jour are female pop stars. I love that, but for me personally I've always loved the girls who are in disagreement with mainstream", she said, adding:

"There's a lot of girls now who are disempowered, they're not being giving a lot of chances. They are worked really hard, they are wrung dry on tour, then given new songs, which are written by man to start the process all over again. But in economic terms it doesn't work out like that. They're street walking for the pimp daddy at home. This is what I have a problem with, the lack of female opinion out there."

Speaking of how she saw the music industry in the '90s, Manson added: "Our generation felt like we had busted through a glass ceiling. All of a sudden we were on the radio, selling records but not having the play the submissive role of a woman. Now I feel like things have returned to the way they were before we started."

Garbage, who recently played a comeback gig at London's Troxy, release their new album "Not Your Kind Of People", their first since 2005's "Bleed Like Me", on their own imprint Stunvolume on May 14. Recorded in Atwater Village in Los Angeles, it's the group's first album not to be recorded in Madison, Wisconsin, the city where they formed in 1994.

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24 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Many women are content to let the men take care of everything for them, and are just happy with whatever they get. Such women make it hard for women like Shirley Manson who want more control of their music, but I don't think it's a "Man's" fault if they step in and take over for a submissive/passive woman. If they didn't step in, they would be accused of not being supportive. Add to that, there are enough men out there who are being "pimped out" by the music industry.
    Here's were your argument falls flat. These female pop stars who are "street walking for the pimp daddy at home " choose to do so. Why? Because they want to be rich and know how the system works. Write cookie crap to sell to the masses and wear provocative outfits to appeal to a male audience. Choice. I'll agree that I think women have taken a step back in the past 10 years, but it seems as though many couldn't care less if they did. Just look at today's youth... Halloween isn't halloween if your a 13-25 year of girl/women and you don't wear a slutty costume.
    I don't like Garbage, and the members or their gender is not the reason for this, but simply the reason I don't like their music personally. But when looking to the music I hear (Rock/Hard Rock) I see that I really am not hearing much music where females are singing. One of the bands with a female singer I like is Flyleaf. I guess it's partially because the kind of music I hear works better with male singing but also partially because there are more famous bands with male singers than with female. But in rock business, there are overall more professional bands with male singers after all and so it's only logical that there are more famous bands with male singers. Additionally there's to say that there aren't only women working really hard but not getting appreciated but also many men. There's not just a problem in females being appreciated but in bands in general being appreciated. One Reason is because there are simply too many bands (also too many professional) so that there are low chances to get famous and to make playing music your job. In my opinion it is too simple saying women do not get appreciated without really finding a logical explanation. Maybe it is because more men are hearing rock music(?) and they like to emphathize with them. I don't know if Shirley is right or not but unless she gives a logical explanation why it is like this I'm not sure if it is right.
    What nineties girls is she talking about? There were some bands that broke through with female leads, but anyone who thinks back to the big bands of the nineties will think of bands with predominately male members. Now you have Adele and Florence + the Machine writing the majority of their work, Taylor Swift does write her own songs whether you like it or not, and one of the big pop writers out there now is a woman. So she obviously knows nothing about what she's talking about, and is giving Garbage a little bit more credit than they deserve.
    The arguement is invalid it seems to me she is meerly in angst at the fact that she doesn't see many women in rock. The fact is that rock is a "heavy, powerful genre in which the male vocals work better so the successful bands that do have women are usually playing an instrument. Now I'm not sure who writes their material but you do have females fronting major and minor successful bands because they can bring that power to the microphone such as: Arch Enemy, Otep, The Agonist, Walls of Jericho, Flyleaf, Halestorm, Eyes Set to Kill, and many more that I don't care to take the time to name more so for the fact this would look like a short story then a comment. What it comes down to is most women I have had the pleasure of meeting are content to place themselves in an almost stereotypical position residing to listening, singing, and playing country, pop, club music, and hip-hop. That being said it would take a revolution led by a powerful activist (we'll say Otep) to bring women out to say f*ck the system I'm going to head bang, flail my hair, and sing like I've just been cooter punched and I'm going to rip your head off for doing so. To conclude I have a friend that thinks like wise but when I offered her the chance to front my thrash metal band she hunkered away because she felt she could not deliver a powerful voice when she wouldn't even make an attempt.
    Talk to the girls about it. They're the ones not out there, not doing it. Don't blame this on men, like they're out to stop women from being successful. We all know the exact opposite is true. Sex sells, and horny men don't care what the girl is singing about.
    ^ your answers are all retarded, your missing the point, she is not blaming the lack of women in modern music on men, she is noting the lack of female talent that were HUGE during Garbage's hey day - like PJ Harvey, Hole & Courtney Love, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Liz Phair, L7, Four Non Blondes etc....there is barely any female talent in mainstream music nowadays. This is the very point of this article, so stop mentioning ridiculous female fronted bands like Lacuna Coil, Flyleaf and Nightwish which are all manufactured for teenage boys who think nu metal (and metal in general) is the bain marie of music BECAUSE it's not.
    I have heard many female-fronted bands nowadays, and this is what i have noticed; many of these bands seem to not have a vocalist who seems to really be able to fit in. idk, just me, but i mean, Fireflight (christian rock band), as talented as they r, i still feel like the instruments r too heavy for the vocalist. like her voice isnt quite noticed well enough to my liking. Halestorm, i guess is an exception, even tho im not a big fan of them. As for other bands like Flyleaf, and The Pretty Reckless, i just think they need to somehow make a new effort towards their music to make them more interesting i guess. Then there's Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and Within Temptation. I like these 3 bands, which r all very similar, but it's not really for me. I think theyre the best examples tho, as well as Paramore and Tonight Alive, and here's why; the instruments fit to the vocalist's needs nicely.
    To touch on a point brought up by a couple of people here, I often admire and respect the vocal qualites of many female vocalists in metal (Angela Gossow comes to mind), but I just can't get into them because I find they lack a certain low pitch quality that I like metal. Classic In Flames for example. Anders can bring his growl up pretty high, but he can also dip pretty damn low. Women are more or less one dimensional. Also, after listening to Cavalera, women just lack power altogether.
    I'd say she has half an argument here. The music industry as a whole would rather push some shrink wrapped skanks to the ill-informed masses and fill their pockets than properly invest in the huge amount of unrecognised talent that thinking people know is there. Therefore I'd say it's not just the women, it's the men as well and the real bands who can play real music. Music industry seems to hate real bands (too much politics?) and want to pop out solo acts with samplers and vocoders to back them up - far easier to manage, market and dispose of when they dry up.
    I oftem prefer bands with male singers over those with female singers. Doesn't that make me sexist?... I doubt it, more because of the same kind of reasons why I prefer lower pitched guitar riffs than high putched ones, and songs with attitude. Am I saying that female singers aren't capable of singing just as well or better than male ones, and with more attitude? We if you think that, you're a moron. If I were to say hedgehogs were small, that my no means implies that there aren't a sufficient number animals smaller, so don't jump to conclusions. Anyway I don't know about you guys but I value woman musicians as much as men ones. I think of Shikhee for example is a prime example of a talented female musician. And don't take it as suprising that there are a lot more famous guys in this field, it just reflects the fact that guys are much more likely to like rock music than girls and girls are more likely to like pop.
    I just think that people don't take seriously chicks in rock/metal because more often than not, imo, girl bands have a unique kinda softer feminine sound to boot. theres not enough bands that stand equal to their male counterparts like heart, girlschool(to name a few wellknown, theres others that are pretty cool, but you have to have an ear to the underground(eg shadowside, just the singer is female, but they shred)
    Grace Slick, Chrissie Hynde, and Buffy Sainte-Marie are my favourite female singers. I also like the backup singers in The Von Bondies. Nico wasn't that great of a singer, but she did have quite a "motherly" sound. Other than them I'm not really taken with female rock singers. I don't really identify with them and the music usually lacks because it's trying to put the voice first. Women are dominating country and pop music (which are probably the most popular genres right now). Most women listen to country and pop music. Blues and rock music are dominated by men, and most men listen to them. It kind of speaks for itself why there aren't that many female rock singers.
    Angela Gassow, Allisa White-Gluz, Krysta Cameron, and many more.... Da ****ing end.
    l o l nancy spungen did more for music than ****ing shirley manson and all she did was die.