Lana Del Rey is facing backlash online today after name dropping several major female recording artists in a letter addressing the double standards of the music industry.
The alternative singer-songwriter, whose last project was the Grammy-nominated ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell!’ in 2019, dropped the letter on Instagram seemingly out of nowhere early Thursday morning. She opens the post by posing a “question for the culture:”
“Now that Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani, 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 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 glamorizing abuse?????”
.@LanaDelRey questions the double standards she faces in new Instagram post:
“I think it’s pathetic that my minor lyrical exploration detailing my sometimes submissive or passive roles in my relationships has often made people say I’ve set women back hundreds of years.” pic.twitter.com/6GF0OT8p3d
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) May 21, 2020
LDR quickly became the #1 trending topic on Twitter as fans and critics alike reacted to the post. She goes on to say that she’s “fed up” with female writers and alt singers claiming she’s glamorized abuse in her discography, arguing that she’s “just been honest and optimistic” about her challenging relationships.
LDR achieved nearly universal critical acclaim for her latest album, ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell!’, which was praised for its honest, poetic lyrics about the trials and tribulations of her relationships. She wasn’t always celebrated, however, as LDR faced scrutiny early in her career by many critics who felt she didn’t live up to modern feminist standards.
Much of the criticism she faced in the early 2010’s can be summed up by this quote from Lorde, who in 2013 told The Fader that LDR‘s music is “unhealthy” for young girls:
“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.”
Many music critics have since come around to LDR‘s brand of nostalgia, hopeless romanticism and hyper-American imagery, but not everyone is convinced. LDR recently got in a public scuffle with NPR critic Ann Powers who described ‘NFR!’ as a “repository of masochistic out-breaths and bad-girl flexes.”
“I don’t even relate to one observation you made about the music,” LDR told Powers on Twitter. “There’s nothing uncooked about me. To write about me is nothing like it is to be with me. Never had a persona. Never needed one. Never will.”
Here’s a little sidenote on your piece – I don’t even relate to one observation you made about the music. There’s nothing uncooked about me. To write about me is nothing like it is to be with me. Never had a persona. Never needed one. Never will.
— Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) September 5, 2019
With her career trajectory in mind, it’s clear that LDR‘s latest letter is a culmination of years of frustration. And while day-one fans would’ve been happy to sympathize with the singer-songwriter, many are taking issue with LDR for comparing her struggles to those of black female artists like Beyoncé, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat and Kehlani.
black women experiencing chart success shields them from misogyny, classism, and racism now hunh… quite a thesis
— Ira Madison III (@ira) May 21, 2020
Lana Del Ray really came after Black women for why she is not appreciated.
And she tried to hide her disdain for Black women by adding WWOC in the post. She ain’t fooling no one.
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) May 21, 2020
Lana blatantly ignoring the criticism Beyoncé, Nicki, and other black women have received (and continue to) for being confident in their sexuality doesn’t sit right with me. Commercial success hasn’t made them exempt from misogynistic attacks masked as constructive criticism.
— C (@BOYCOTTCAMILLE) May 21, 2020
Lana mediocre ass had to resort to belittle Black Women just to get some eyes on her.
— Billboard Beam (@ScottieBeam) May 21, 2020
It’s not all bad press for LDR, however, as many fans sympathize with the singer’s frustration but wish she had left certain names out of the letter:
if i see one more person twist lana’s words when she was clearly calling out the fact that these artists can reach the top by “talking about sex” and are not criticized about it when she has been criticized her whole career about talking about sex. lana is not a attacking these..
— tom (@delreysslut) May 21, 2020
Look at how they use words to twist Lana’s actual statement. I fucking hate it here. pic.twitter.com/Oi5Z0WkfHB
— 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒊 ☁️ (@charliclovd) May 21, 2020
to simplify what lana said:
“if female artists that are at the top of the chart can write songs about whatever they want, then why cant i?”
she probably shouldnt have dropped names but that still isnt the main issue shes trying to address. pic.twitter.com/s527UGCEGp
— no meme, just pain (@slutcietys) May 21, 2020
LDR reveals at the very end of the letter that she’ll be dropping her seventh studio album on Saturday, September 5th. She later confirmed she’s teaming up again with ‘NFR!’ producer Jack Antonoff while quarantined.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) May 21, 2020
While today’s Instagram letter seemed to come out of nowhere, LDR noted that her next two books of poetry will dive deeper into her frustrations with the music industry and the double standards she’s faced. LDR has already confirmed one book of poetry, ‘Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass,’ but a release date has yet to be finalized.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) April 24, 2020
What do you make of Lana Del Rey’s latest comments? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @PopCrave!