Published Dec 21, 2016Björk spoke at length about the emotional nature of her eighth studio album Vulnicura upon its release in 2015. Almost two years on from its arrival, the Icelandic icon has elaborated on her feelings regarding female songwriters and their subject matter in an open letter.
After DJing two sets at Houston's Day for Night festival, Björk begins the letter by revealing how the sets made her feel as a female alongside male DJ counterparts such as Aphex Twin, Arca, Oneohtrix Point Never, Matmos and more.
Though she herself has only been DJing for less than one year, she wrote that "some media could not get their head around that I was not 'performing' and 'hiding' behind desks, and my male counterparts not," saying that "this is sexism, which at the end of this tumultuous year is something I'm not going to let slide: because we all deserve maximum changes in this revolutionary energy we are currently in the midst of."
She continued: "Women in music are allowed to be singer songwriters singing about their boyfriends. If they change the subject matter to atoms, galaxies, activism, nerdy math beat editing or anything else than being performers singing about their loved ones they get criticized...journalists feel there is just something missing...as if our only lingo is emo..."
Björk then pointed to her own late-career trajectory as an example, explaining that she wrote both 2007's Volta and 2011's Biophilia understanding that the subjects of both records hadn't been widely explored by female songwriters. She also felt that until Vulnicura, in which the overarching theme is heartbreak, that she wasn't given "full acceptance" by music media.
Björk continued: "Men are allowed to go from subject to subject, do sci-fi, period pieces, be slapstick and humorous, be music nerds getting lost in sculpting soundscapes but not women. If we don't cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives we are cheating our audience."
In closing the letter, she wrote: "I know the change is in the air. we are walking inside it. I leave this with you in kindness at the end of this year and i hope that in the next year even though i was brave to share w you a classic female subject matter: the heartbreak, i get to have a costume change and walk out of this role."
Vulnicura arrived in January of 2015 after leaking online two months early.
Read Björk's entire letter below.