Kate Nash – The Collapse Board Interview
I know that you’re really proud to call yourself a feminist, a feminist through your own experiences; what does being a feminist mean to you?
KN: It’s extremely important to me. I grew up with my mum being a very strong and opinionated woman as a main influence when I was younger. She introduced me to the ideas of feminism. Feminism to me is something that becomes more real, more palatable and important to you when you really experience sexism; you grow up a bit and you’re taken out of the bubble and you know that it’s still really present. Being in the music industry really opened my eyes to it, in a really simple way at first. I was the only girl in the room all of the time until I really searched for more female company.
I think that the media is totally sexist. I think a lot of people are, without realising. The structures of society are built on these sexist ideas that have been around for hundreds and thousands of years. It’s not something that’s easy to change. I feel like there are way more extreme versions of it in places like Afghanistan, places like that that.
I read this really disgusting article about a woman who reported a rape – she was raped by her husband’s cousin – and they imprisoned her. The family of the guy that raped her threatened to kill her because she brought shame on their family. She put shame on their family! She fell pregnant because of the rape and she was given an option of staying in prison or if she came out of prison, marrying the guy that raped her to legitimise her kid. In Afghanistan if you don’t have proof of the father’s ID you just don’t exist as a person, which is just crazy. It means you can’t exist as a person without a man and you’d be ostracised from society. To save her child and to give her child a proper life, she’s married to her rapist because that’s the only option.
Wow! I don’t even have words for that.
KN: It is so fucked!
I’ve read a lot of articles about situations in countries like that to do with things like ‘honour killings’ and that kind of stuff. It blows me away that in this day and age with all that we know things like this still happen.
KN: I know. Whenever anyone doesn’t really understand sexism it’s like, you tell them a story like that and that it’s 2012 … There was a fact like more women were raped than smoked cigarettes in the US. I’ve met women before that don’t really think too much about sexism but if you start talking about it, they suddenly become really passionate about it because they realised it has happened to them in their lives. It’s very present and it’s very prejudiced. A lot of women, I suffer from it and I know it’s wrong to feel that way but, you feel like you’ll never be a good as a man, especially in music. People don’t give women the same respect for their music as much as they do men. Like with music magazines that mostly feature men on the cover …
Recently I was compiling a post of my favourite magazine covers for 2011 for my blog that feature female musicians – I love supporting female musicians – and pretty much all the music magazines I came across featured scantily-clad women. The only music magazines I could find with women musicians represented clothed on the cover were a Rolling Stone with Sade on it from Russia and a Rolling Stone with Debbie Harry on it from Germany.
KN: Yeah. I feel like you’re kind of treated like you really have so much more to prove than guys. I still don’t feel like I’ve been accepted and I’m writing my third record and I have been successful. I’ve definitely progressed as an artist. I feel like the media can hold up younger men as heroes and idols and legends from a really young age but women don’t become legends until they’re 40 or 50. No one will hold up a female artist to be a legend until she is like, not performing anymore.
We were just talking about young people that talk about raping each other and whatnot and it reminded me of a post I saw on a social networking site the other day that was a quote from a guy in a pop punk band that was saying that if the lead singer from their band did it to someone it wouldn’t be rape because who wouldn’t want to sleep with him.
KN: What?! Whoa.
I know. Reading it really upset me. It was posted in a way that was making it out to be a good kind of funny thing. It makes me sad that a lot of young girls are more interested in sleeping with guys in bands rather than the music or making music themself. I commented on the post explaining that rape isn’t something that is funny or OK or that should be joked about. They got really upset at me and went on about me invading their privacy by commenting! I was like, well no, it is posted in a public forum.
KN: Yes there is so much out there that can be frightening.
I don’t think people fully grasp the consequences from posting such things.
KN: No and even not just with young kids, politicians get in trouble because they try to fit everything into 140 characters on the Twitter, of what their opinion is. I think if people want to express what their opinion is, don’t limit yourself, just link to another page or something and write your real opinion rather than trying to limit it. Do you really need to share everything on Twitter? I read little titbits of information that people put on there and I’m like, I really don’t care and I feel freaked out that I am reading this. I also feel freaked out when you’re in a room with loads of people and everyone is on their phones, it’s really sad.
Totally! I went out last weekend to see a band based in New York I love play a secret warehouse show and there was a girl beside me that was on her Facebook account checking it was the actual band playing!
KN: It’s so unnecessary and so gross.
Today Spin Magazine made a post on their site saying they were moving album reviews to a Twitter account instead of doing traditional reviews.
KN: Like how? How are they going to review an album in that many characters and limited words? That is so crazy.
Everett [True] just wrote an interesting post for Collapse Board about it. It’s all brought up the notion of, is criticism even relevant anymore?
KN: Yeah because everyone is a fucking journalist. People say some really fucked up stuff to you online. I think everyone expects a lot more from artists these days. They expect more because people are sharing more. They know that they can send you their opinion and that you will read it, whether it’s good or bad. It’s a weird empowerment. For some people it’s really negative.