PERFORMING ARTS

Can’t Stop the Grrrls: Confronting Sexist Labels in Music from Ariana Grande to Yoko Ono

Rowman & Littlefield Mar. 2023. 208p. ISBN 9781538169063. $32. MUSIC
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Musicologist Hirsch (Weird Al: Seriously) pulls from the lives of celebrities to illuminate the double standards and torturous mistreatment the entertainment industry has routinely applied to women throughout history. Readers might already be familiar with Yoko Ono’s or Britney Spears’s lives, but Hirsch brings them together with other maligned stars to create a powerful portrait of how the music industry, the press, and fans allow talented women to be ripped apart on an international scale. Among the other artists profiled are Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Kesha, and Courtney Love. For instance, male performers are often excused when they make outrageous backstage demands, while women performers are called “divas” or worse. The author addresses this sexism and its origins, and she offers an intriguing perspective that brings a deeper understanding of the problem and enriches this already excellent book.
VERDICT Readers will learn a lot about the stars they think they know with this well-researched, smart book about misogyny in the music industry.
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