Lana Del Rey slammed critics who say she “glamorizes abuse” in her lengthy Instagram post on May 21. She also dropped names of other female artists.
The 34-year-old singer criticized “female writers and alt singers” who she says have blamed her “minor lyrical exploration detailing my sometimes submissive or passive roles in my relationships” for “[setting] women back hundreds of years”.
She wrote: “In reality I’m just a glamorous person singing about the realities of what we are all now seeing are very prevalent emotionally abusive relationships all over the world.” She said she had been “honest and optimistic” about her “challenging” relationships: “News flash! That’s just how it is for many women.”
Critics claimed that Del Rey had evoked regressive sexual politics in her major label debut album in 2012 titled “Born to Die.” Pitchfork, an online music site, wrote: “You’d be hard pressed to find any song on which Del Rey reveals an interiority or figures herself as anything more complex than an ice-cream-cone-licking object of male desire.”
Another critic, Kim Gordon, in her leaked 2015 memoir, Girl in a Band, wrote: “Today we have someone like Lana Del Rey … who believes women can do whatever they want, which, in her world, tilts toward self-destruction, whether it’s sleeping with gross old men or getting gang raped by bikers. Equal pay and equal rights would be nice.” However, this section that criticizes Del Rey was removed from the final published version of the book.
Moreover, singer Lorde said in a 2013 interview with Fader that Del Rey’s songs are not healthy for young girls.
“She’s great, but I listened to that Lana Del Rey record and the whole time I was just thinking it’s so unhealthy for young girls to be listening to, you know: ‘I’m nothing without you.’ This sort of shirt-tugging, desperate, don’t leave me stuff. That’s not a good thing for young girls, even young people, to hear,” Lorde said.
“Now that Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, 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 that I’m glamorising abuse??????”
Reflecting on a decade of such accusations, Del Rey said she was happy that she had “paved the way for other women to stop ‘putting on a happy face’ and to just be able to say whatever the hell they wanted to in their music – unlike my experience where if I even expressed a note of sadness in my first two records I was deemed literally hysterical as though it was literally the 1920s”.
However, Del Rey clarified that she is not anti-feminist: “I’m not not a feminist – but there has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me – the kind of woman who says no but men hear yes – the kind of women who are slated mercilessly for being their authentic, delicate selves, the kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women.”
At the end of the post, Del Rey announced that she will release her seventh major label album on 5 September. She said it would contain “tinges of what I’ve been pondering”. She will also release two books of poetry with Simon & Schuster.