Way back in 2007, a smash hit song came out by an up-and-coming band. This song was Misery Business by Paramore. Haley Williams was 17 at the time she wrote the song and quickly experienced her rise to fame as her incredible vocals and angsty music took hold of the industry. As I grew up and hit my "rebellious" phase, Paramore, became one of my go-to bands. Even now, when I'm feeling upset or want to jam out to some throwbacks, I always crank up Misery Business. So you can imagine how shocked I was when Haley Williams decided to stop playing the song because it was "anti-feminist."
Feminism is all about equality of genders. Within the lyrics of one of my most beloved bangers were messages shaming and degrading other women. Within the song, Williams wrote, "Once a whore you're nothing more/ I'm sorry that will never change." These specific lines within the song have become a source of controversy in recent years. As these lyrics have been called out more and more as being anti-feminist, Williams finally caught the wind. The band played the song one last time in Nashville and announced that they would be taking it off their set-lists for any future shows.
Now, I am one of the more politically active people in my friend group. I have worked for groups such as NextGen and I have interned on political campaigns. But, when Haley Williams said they were not going to be playing Misery Business as part of live sets anymore, I was confused. The song had apparently been criticized for being "anti-feminist". I had never really dissected the lyrics to my favorite middle school throwback song so I had never viewed it as such.
There are a few things I want to point out. The first is Haley Williams wrote this song when she was 17 years old. She as a now 26-year-old woman probably does not relate to the lyrics written by a talented yet angsty teenager. These lyrics should not be held against her considering the fact that people change (yes even celebrities and musicians). This leads right into my second point: calling Haley Williams anti-feminist, saying she can never be a feminist is in-and-of-itself NOT FEMINIST!
Feminism has evolved this stigma which I personally do not think reflects what it was meant to be. Feminism has actually received criticism for being to uninclusive of all women based on who they are or the actions they decide to take. For example, Emma Watson went braless in a photo shoot. This resulted in her being told she could never be a true feminist when, in fact, Watson is one of the most feminist people I can think of. She and many other outspoken feminists have called out this very behavior. Feminism is about equality and liberation. Feminism is about supporting everyone in their dreams and aspirations. By this, calling other women "whores" is not a feminist act. But neither is women attacking Williams for lyrics she wrote over nine years ago and stating that this means she can never be feminist.