Lauren Mayberry, lead singer of the fast rising Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches, made headlines Monday with a blog post for The Guardian decrying the rampant misogyny she faces as a woman whose line of work requires her to engage with people on the internet. She deals with an endless stream of dudes saying outrageously offensive shit, and, fed up with the whole thing, she posted to the band’s Facebook a screen shot of one of the offending comments, along with a note that read, “Please stop sending us emails like this.” What followed, and what ultimately led to her writing the post for The Guardian, was an onslaught of comments more vile than you can imagine. Or, I hope more vile than you can imagine. Things like, “This isn’t rape culture. You’ll know rape culture when I’m raping you, bitch,” or, “I have your address and I will come round your house and give you anal and you will love it you twat lol.”
This doesn’t seem particularly complicated. Like, she obviously has a point here, right? That men should refrain from threatening to rape women, even if it’s just on the internet? The good people at Digital Music News, though, think otherwise. (I’ve never heard of it either, by the way, so don’t worry. But they’re “the premier news and information authority for music industry and technology executives,” and they claim to have an audience consisting of “highly-targeted decision-makers from every segment of the business, spanning major labels to artists to garage start-ups,” vomit.)
Their stance on the matter, as put forth in a blog post by one Priscilla Kim, is that women like Mayberry should either not read the comments in the first place, or simply learn to deal with them. “Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Madonna receive nasty comments in much greater volumes,” she writes. “What makes them different from Mayberry? Maybe a little bit of blissful ignorance or thick skin.” This is absurd and offensive, and even though I don’t want to say it’s even more absurd and offensive coming from a woman, because everyone should be better than this, well, sorry, but it is definitely even more and absurd and offensive coming from a woman. One wonders if Ms. Kim would apply the same logic in a conversation about women who find the courage to go to the authorities about being raped, even though they continue to live in a world where the overwhelming majority of rapes go unreported.
Her most egregiously out-of-line comment, though, came earlier in the piece, when she said, “Whether or not a person deserves to be treated one way or another is, frankly, a less interesting topic of debate.” So Ms. Kim thinks there’s an actual debate to be had about whether women deserve to be threatened with rape. Perhaps she’s holding out judgment until she’s had a chance to make sure Mayberry has never been photographed wearing a revealing top or flashing too much leg? Because in that case the threats would be totally warranted? The whole situation is disgraceful, and none of the people responsible for it—not the writer, not her editors—should have jobs. Not in 2013. Not even for Digital Music News.