From the start of Lauren Mayberry’s band Chvrches, the Scottish vocalist has been open and condemning about the harassment she’s encountered. In 2013, she wrote an essay for The Guardian whose headline and thesis was “I will not accept online misogyny”; she detailed the rape threats she receives on a regular basis as a public figure in music, and connected the internet to the day-to-day IRL:
I read them every morning when I get up. I read them after soundcheck. I read them, as we all do with our emails and notifications, on my phone on the bus or when I have a break in the day. And, after a while, despite the positive messages in the majority, the aggressive, intrusive nature of the other kind becomes overwhelming. During this past tour, I am embarrassed to admit that I have had more than one prolonged toilet cry and a “Come on, get a hold of yourself, you got this” conversation with myself in a bathroom mirror when particularly exasperated and tired out. But then, after all the sniffling had ceased, I asked myself: why should I cry about this? Why should I feel violated, uncomfortable and demeaned? Why should we all keep quiet?
It was an important piece, one that materialized and validated the fact that online harassment translates to real-world exhaustion, something we all know but that cannot be over-articulated. She also opened up a conversation, as was her wish, and shed light on the music industry’s perpetual, seemingly unbreakable male-centricism to the exclusion of women—whether from club bills and sound booths to the utter erasure of their existence (which, to be honest, as a working music critic since ‘99, historical erasure is one of my greatest career-fears).
In the time between Mayberry’s terrific essay, we were blessed on this cold earth with the demonic hellscape that was #gamergate, which seemed to bring misogynist online harassment to a fever pitch, or at least elevate its awareness in the media. And Mayberry has just published a chin-check to let us know that, even after her thoughtful essay, harassment of her is of course still epidemic. On Instagram and Twitter, she has posted one of the more choice direct-messages she has received along with a bit of commentary on that.
This comment is obviously meant to frighten and silence her, in the sender’s profoundly pathetic attempt to feel... powerful, I guess. It does not work. Along with the screenshot, Mayberry writes:
My band is lucky enough to have some of the most awesome, supportive and respectful fans in the world and we are so excited to be in the studio making an album to share with them. Yet, on a daily basis, we still receive communications like this. These people never learn that violence against women is unacceptable. But they also never learn that women will not be shamed and silenced and made to disappear. I am not going anywhere. So bring it on, motherfuckers. Let’s see who blinks first.
Bring it on, motherfuckers. Lauren Mayberry, we got your back with a two-by-four.
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