Well, Lily Allen certainly knows how to make a (re)entrance. After releasing ‘Hard Out Here’ earlier this week, she’s been thrust right back into centre stage, and not all the feedback she’s been receiving is positive. Personally, I “get” it and think the song – and the message behind it, and the video – is great and raises some really valid points while poking fun of a lot of the shit we see in mainstream music today, but there are obviously others who have, as Lily would say, “misunderstood” her intentions… exactly as she’d worried they might.
From The Evening Standard:
“It’s been an exciting 24 hours, that’s for sure. I’m a bit of a catastrophiser. I haven’t really slept much in the last couple of weeks, thinking about the negative feedback I was going to get.”
Asked why she wanted to return, she said: “I felt like I had to connect with myself again. I knew that I needed to get out of the house and do some work, and when confronted with that I thought about what it was that I was able to do, and writing songs is pretty much it.”
Becoming a mother meant she had “been through a lot”. She added: “My eyes are now a little bit more open to the rest of the world.
“I suppose beforehand, the things I had done had sort of, in terms of my career, come from quite an egocentric, maybe narcissistic place, whereas now it’s a lot more to do with my children and providing them with a future.”
She said of sexism in pop: “I think objectification of women is fine if I feel that there is a sense of ownership from the woman. If it comes from somewhere else and it feels like the woman is being coerced or forced into something then it’s gross.”
I love Lily Allen and think she’s so, so needed in pop music. But I think people also assume that feminists are meant to have perfect politics or that their version of confronting a narrative needs to be exactly the same as someone else’s. Some people are going to prefer satire, and others just aren’t going to get it and think it’s offensive. You’ll never please everyone. But this is the kind of thing that you can put smack up against Miley Cyrus, who claims she’s doing what she wants but is really doing exactly what she’s seen sells records and gets press, which is not about ownership in the slightest.
I mean, I’m no scholar and other people have talked about this far better than I ever could, but I wish more people would chill out with the “this is racist and offensive” bullshit and actually look at what Lily is trying to do here.