No, President, You “Step Up!”

Grammy President suggests that women must work harder to achieve recognition, but it’s in this misconception in which he is terribly wrong.

The value of women in the music industry is considerable, but often times degraded by the hands of authoritative and senseless male counterparts, whose prestige influences the business significantly. The naive words of men could animate an evolution in gender equality, as exemplified by Recording Academy President and CEO, Neil Portnow, adhering to woman embodiment in all aspects and men being the ones to “step up.”

After the Grammy ceremony, Portnow asserted an uninformed conviction that woman needed to elevate themselves within the industry, in response to reports concerning lack of women representation in award nominations. According to The New York Times, an academic report proclaims that “For the last six years only 9.3 percent of nominees have been women. This year, only one woman won a solo award during the televised ceremony.” It would be in these statements and the uproar occurring on numerous social platforms, that Portnow would profess comments to which diversification and stupidity coincide.

According to Variety, Portnow stated that “It has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.” Certainly, it would be a man with primitive notions to regard women as inferior and express to them that the bar of acknowledgment is way up here and you remain beneath it. To think that woman would simply be “welcome” into the music industry and transcend in the absence of hardship is obscure.

Currently in the midst of a subversive #MeToo Movement, conversations in relation to women empowerment and gender equality are not only prevalent but long overdue. Previous to controversial nominations lists, women championed voting rights to liberation from potent social ideals to holding positions of power. The American portrait of women depict them as ethereal, complacent, and accommodating, but the intricacies of a woman exceed the mere stereotypical attributes in which we have institutionalized. Women can understand the complex mathematics that contribute to NASA research or muster the courage to share their stories of sexual harassment by grotesque individuals.

It is in the durability of women themselves that resolute an unpopular opinion: women shouldn’t have to “step up”, but men should have to “watch out.””

A Grammy awards dominated by men is not reflective towards the portrayal of women in music today. Countless female artists have revolutionized the industry, just within 2017 alone, including SZA, Kesha, Dua Lipa, and Hayley Kiyoko. These artists, and several others accentuate themes of independence, survival, and gay love. What do the majority of men cultivate as radio hits and billboard chasers? — music pertaining to a woman’s figure or the size of their bank account.

According to Rolling Stone, P!nk was adamant about the role of women in the industry and how that recognition impacts the next generation. She states that “Women have been stepping up since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside … When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women step up every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal.”

Men being able to comprehend the importance of women in all facets grants gender inclusivity within the up-incoming generation. Portnow’s commentary towards the inadequate portrayal of women at the Grammys, only emphasizes the notions branded within egotistical and powerful men, which hinders women from indeed “stepping up.”

Dolefully, the words of Portnow are both routine and unfavorable, as the men labeled superior continuously question the potential of women everywhere. Amongst the dilemmas that encompass American society today, is it that men are pathologically inquired to enforce the notion that women are inferior or is it that men are subconsciously aware of the turbulent prejudice in which they evoke on the female population?  

As portrayed in the lyrics of a James Brown’s record, “This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl.”

Your Turn: If you were a female within the music industry, what would your response be to Portnow and his comments?, Do you agree with Portnow’s statements or do you believe that women have already been stepping up within the music industry?, Are these statements normal in America today and if so, how can we better society to value women more?