One of my fave albums of the year has been Lorde’s Pure Heroine.
It felt like once I “discovered” her on a tumblr audio post, she was suddenly everywhere. She was all over the radio (both on the urban and top 40 stations), all over youtube, and all over the music television channels. Initially, I was excited for her. She was so young and so talented. I wanted everyone to love her as much as I quickly starting to.
But along with her popularity, came a lot of bad press.
Magazine and blog headlines labelled her a “hater.” And even after reading her quotes in interviews, I couldn’t understand why everyone was so eager to aim their targets at her for simply for speaking her mind.
When I was 17, I was awkward, miserable, and completely uncomfortable in my body. I didn’t talk to many people and I could count my circle of friends on one hand. Back at age 17, I had no knowledge of social justice and “feminism” was still a dirty word to me. If my present day self met my teenage self, I would have been horrified and offended by my own moral compass (or lack thereof)
This is why when Lorde claims her feminist title proudly and I watch people (especially older women) roll their eyes and brush her off, I get extremely angry.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why it’s more important for an artist like Rihanna to get her feminist credit where it’s due, or why it’s more important for Zendaya (who is also 17 but an artist of color) to get the support, time, and attention she deserves.
But, I also desperately long for people to acknowledge the good in Lorde and why her existence in the media is notable.
She is incredibly self-possessed and isn’t afraid to speak her mind (though, it is important to note that some might say that this is because of her white privilege. [She is able to speak more freely without fear of consequence]). But, this does not erase the fact that she is still being placed unnecessarily on a frenzied media chopping block.
When I brought Lorde up over drinks with a few friends, they told me they didn’t like her because she was “trying too hard to sound intelligent. ” This frustrated me because I am sick of witnessing teen girls being brushed off and silenced. They are dismissed too quickly and too often. Even if she isn’t the most eloquent (and is this even a valid criticism? How eloquent were you at 17?), at least she is thinking critically.
Thinking critically about pop culture and finding confidence within her own thought process and conclusions, is a revolutionary act for a teenage girl within our society. For me, that alone is 100% more important than every misquote and biased interview that I have read about Lorde.