Like many women in the entertainment industry have done before her, Lana Del Rey shared her thoughts on women in music. The “Doin’ Time” singer penned a note to her Instagram followers, putting her foot down on being categorized as someone who glamorizes abuse. “I’m fed up with female writers and alt singers saying that I glamorize abuse when in reality I’m just a glamorous person,” she wrote.
Del Rey has been accused of romanticizing abusive relationships in the past. A line from 2014’s “Ultraviolence” reads, “I can hear sirens, sirens / He hit me and it felt like a kiss.” These lyrics prompted a piece from Mic that called Del Rey “a huge step backwards for women everywhere,” as well as an NPR article that claimed she “romanticizes destructive forces.”
Del Rey wrote that her songs came from her own experiences and that her work has helped many women “to stop ‘putting on a happy face’ and to just be able to say whatever the hell they wanted in their music.”
“I’ve been honest and optimistic about the challenging relationships I’ve had. News flash! That’s just how it is for many women. And that was sadly my experience up until the point that those records were made. So I just want to say it’s been a long 10 years of bullshit reviews up until recently and I’ve learned a lot from them,” she said.
While this all seems like an open-and-shut case, the real backlash came from the first paragraph of her letter.
“Question for the culture: Now that Doja Cat, Ariana [Grande], Camila [Cabello], Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating, etc – can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money – or whatever I want – without being crucified or saying I’m glamorizing abuse??????” Del Rey wrote.
The main issue people took from this — she only mentioned women of color (barring Grande) to compare her career struggles to. Many people took to Twitter to vent their frustrations; stating she’s already very successful on her own and has no business bringing WOC artists, who have all been attacked individually for their music, into her argument.
Lana blatantly ignoring the criticism Beyoncé, Nicki, and other black women have received (and continue to) for being confident in their sexuality doesn’t sit right with me. Commercial success hasn’t made them exempt from misogynistic attacks masked as constructive criticism.
— C (@BOYCOTTCAMILLE) May 21, 2020
think Lana’s post would have been fine if she hadn’t compared herself to a group of mostly black women with the clear tone that she thinks she’s been treated worse by the media when that’s observably untrue
— shon faye. (@shonfaye) May 21, 2020
What’s blowing my mind is that Lana Del Rey is VERY successful. VERY accomplished. Her debut sold more records than names mentioned COMBINED. What is she talking about???
— MXM (@mxmsworld) May 21, 2020
Yes, conversations about misogynistic double standards ARE important. But don’t make yourself a martyr for the cause by bringing down other women to make a point. Feminism is already for delicate cisgender white women, Lana. You’ve had a place at the table for a long time.
— Kat Bee (@katbeee) May 21, 2020
I like Lana but her as a WOC, her statement just comes off as very tone deaf.
Mentioning a majority of black women in music who’ve all been literally crucified bc of their sexually explicit and trying to seem as tho it’s “easy” for them when it’s not is just not it.
— mani🦋 (@BLACKGIRLMANI) May 21, 2020
Del Rey has since commented back to everyone under her original Instagram post: “Bro. This is sad to make it about a WOC issue when I’m talking about my favorite singers,” she said.
“I could’ve literally said anyone but I picked my favorite fucking people. And this is the problem with society today, not everything is about whatever you want it to be. It’s exactly the point of my post – there are certain women that culture doesn’t want to have a voice it may not have to do with race I don’t know what it has to do with. I don’t care anymore but don’t ever ever ever ever bro- call me racist because that is bullshit.”
“And my last and final note on everything – when I said people who look like me – I meant the people who don’t look strong or necessarily smart, or like they’re in control etc. it’s about advocating for a more delicate personality, not for white woman – thanks for the Karen comments tho. V helpful,” she wrote in a second comment.
She also responded with a new Instagram post.
Despite all the negative comments, a few fans have also come to Del Rey’s defense, saying that race doesn’t have anything to do with her message and that she only mentioned those artists as examples of females in the industry.
Whatever your stance on the issue, at least Del Rey won’t have a problem with people calling her “angel” anymore.