The revolving door of unwelcome comments seems to be on another spin cycle. One artist determined to stop it in it’s tracks is artist Bebe Rexha.
The singer used her Instagram platform to call out ageism in the music industry posting:
“I recently had a MALE music executive tell me that I was getting too old and that my brand was “confusing.” Rexha’s experience only is only a dip in the water of the continuous ageism that women are currently facing in the music industry.
The music executive told Rexha that she was “too old” to own her sexuality and her own brand, which at best is a ridiculous statement.
It’s almost as if women still need to fit into this cookie cutter image of the traditional house wife; we need to be feminine, but NOT SEXY. Whilst also being expected to be curvy, but not fat. Stay slim and toned, but not too skinny, not age, not wear clothes that are too revealing, not wear too much make up, keep our opinions to ourselves and stay in the lane that was created for us.
Yeah right (!).
The candid post reached almost 1.5 million likes within 3 days with other celebrities banding around the singer in support of her comments.
This story even caught the attention of Tyra Banks who spoke out in favour of Rexha to Access Hollywood saying:
“I think she’s the sexiest. Oh my God. When you watch her on Instagram, do you see her pictures? I’m like, ‘I want to look like you’ … that body. Her face! She’s like stunning … intimidatingly stunning.”
Banks continued adding that people who are agent, she believes that they have personal insecurities that they’re putting onto other people.
Taylor Swift has showed continued support for Rexha at the MTV VMA Awards, as Rexha posts a photo captioned “1989 club @taylorswift #Not20Anymore“.
There are a few points to this that are equally absurd to me:
- The fact that someone thinks 29 is “too old” to be sexy.
- The fact that this would never be said to a man.
Men are consistently praised for getting older, as it is often they are considered sexier as they age. However, god forbit a female performer wears a revealing outfit past the age of 30. It’s nice to know that a female’s sex appeal stops the second the clock strikes 12 on their 30th birthday.
In all seriousness, think Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney etc are all praised for their ruggedness and grey hairs that come with becoming an older male. Whereas women are forced and pressured to try and recreate this unattainable ‘younger’ look for the rest of their careers.
I’m glad that Bebe Rexha is a leader in this industry and is refusing to be put in a box,?as opposed to staying quiet like I’m sure this exec expected she would.
This isn’t the first time she has spoken out against expectations within the music industry.
In January, she posted a video addressed to fashion designers as Rexha was excited to be nominated for a Grammy. She was saddened and expressed this as she learned that when her team reached out to designers to dress her, many said no as they classed her as “too big”.
Speaking in the video, she questioned:
“You’re saying all the women in the world that are a size 8 and up are not beautiful and they cannot wear your dresses?”
In the caption she wrote,
“Empower women to love their bodies instead of making girls and women feel less than by their size.”
In May, Rexha clapped back at a Twitter user who classed her as “too thick”, by stating “I gained weight get over it”.
It’s Rexha’s no nonsense attitude which has earned her the love and respect of the fans.
As unfortunate as these experiences must have been for her, it’s good to see an artist unapologetically and consistently speaking out and spreading the messages that she herself believes in.
This, unfortunately is not just an issue that Bebe Rexha is facing – it’s a systematic issue that spreads across the music industry. As one of the biggest female music stars of our lifetime who is also 60 years old now, Madonna has faced a lot of ageism in her career. Madonna told The Cut in an interview about her MDNA skin care line, “Why should only men be allowed to be adventurous, sexual, curious, and get to have all the fun until the day they leave this earth?”
It’s probably easy to assume that every woman in the music industry has faced some kind of discrimination: whether it be for age, weight, race or gender. Bebe Rexha has now appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan UK and has spoken exclusively about size discrimination in the industry.
Rexha tells Cosmopolitan, “When I first got signed, the label said, ‘Are you ready to get in boot-camp shape?’ They wanted me to lose 20lb (almost a stone and a half). Back then I was so small, I was only 130lb [around 9 stone]. It f*cked me up. I was so cold all the time. I would starve myself before filming a music video.”
Continuing on, she speaks of a female creative director who pushed her to work out twice a day, stating: “She’d sit opposite me at the dinner table and say, ‘You’re not losing enough.’ All I was eating was salad.”
As an all female team here at IndustryMe, we all think it’s important for women to speak up and address these discriminations. It empowers all of us to speak up on issues and to always know we are not alone in whatever we are facing.
Right on Bebe Rexha, we’re right behind you.