This is an op-ed piece. The views expressed in it are solely of the author.
In December 2018, we reported on the Matt Healy scandal in which he suggested to a reporter that sexism was no longer an issue in rock music. Now—only two months later—he has decided he’s going to be the spokesman for it.
During his acceptance speech at last week’s BRIT Awards, Healy decided that he would use his platform to do something rather nuanced. While he did speak out against the double standard women face in rock music, he didn’t exactly do so in the most graceful way.
When the original controversy first broke, Healy faced significant backlash from fans as well as haters all over the internet. It seemed that he had learned his lesson when he came out with a long string of apologetic tweets, claiming he now understood that sexism is actually rampant in the music industry.
I’m apologising for the fact my words could INSINUATE that misogyny in culture and music is an exclusively hip hop (black) issue. I do not believe that. What I believe is that I’m not educated enough to speak on THAT properly and a big part of that is this white dick that I have
— matty (@Truman_Black) December 5, 2018
But does learning your lesson mean that you get to be the face of the movement? Us here at NYMM think otherwise.
“I just want you to listen to me for one sec,” Healy said as he stood on stage to accept the award for Best British Group, “Just a couple of sentences that a friend of ours, Laura Snapes, said this, and I thought we should all really think about it.”
“Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance,” he continued, “and defended as traits of ‘difficult’ artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art.”
— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) February 20, 2019
This quote he is referencing came from a Guardian article by Laura Snapes. The article was about the recent Ryan Adams abuse allegations.
Snapes’ reaction wasn’t exactly one of upset. In fact, she seemed almost thrilled by the shoutout.
“Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of ‘difficult’ artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art.”
— matty (@Truman_Black) February 20, 2019
But, then again, what reporter wouldn’t be happy to be quoted by someone receiving the biggest award at the UK’s most-watched night of television?
It’s important to note that Matt Healy didn’t have to use his big moment to prove himself, or to try and become a spokesperson for the #MeToo movement. Would it have been more powerful if his speech came from a place of apology or acknowledgement that he is still learning? It’s possible.
Perhaps his tweet (noted above) was enough on its own. After all, even the 1975’s lyrics aren’t clean of sexist undertones.
As Greer Clemens wrote in an article for MTV, “The women in these portraits always seem to have a level of ‘f****d up’ that either equals or outweighs that of the songs’ narrators.”
We want to hear from YOU, our readers, your take on Healy’s speech. Was it bold? Or just plain inappropriate?
Sign Up For Our Newsletter