ok, god damnit. First of all — these ‘stereogum takedowns’ are really stupid. Like, one of these happened to me when Visions first came out. Not only was it terrible…
Hi. I’m Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, the person who wrote “Deconstructing: Grimes,” and the person who Grimes accuses, in this Tumblr post, of “bas[ing] [my] criticism on attacking my refusal to sexualize myself which is so immensely fucked like”
So, as a lifelong feminist/Xicanista, I obviously take accusations of sexism incredibly seriously, and I would NEVER attack anyone for refusing to sexualize herself—that’s something to admire. I reread my piece, which I haven’t done in about a year and a half since it went up. I want to say honestly that was not my intent at all. This is the paragraph in question:
It’s not just that I feel the music is basically thin and charmless — there are sweet spots, as in the melody of single “Genesis,” or the rickety bass hits on “Be a Body” — but because it is also so infantilized. Grimes has a host of recent-vintage contemporaries who approach their music with a similar concept, like Lykke Li and Fever Ray and Bat For Lashes and even fellow blog star Charli XCX, all of whom do similarly conceptualized music but tap into their womanhood and sexuality as a source of power, some might say THE DARK ARTS OF WOMANNESS.
I was actually trying to lambaste the way that writers and bloggers—male writers in particular—were reacting to her, and writing about her as an infantilized person, therefore putting her on the type of pedestal that they were. (As evidenced by that last line, THE DARK ARTS OF WOMANNESS, which should actually read WOMANHOOD [post-facto grammar check]). At the time, Grimes was being written about as infantile, something I tried to lob home later in the piece with this sentence:
Of course, Grimes’ cyborg unicorn stance is an updated ideal on the continuum of the asexuality that a certain strain of indie rock values, up to and including twee.
Which was an indictment of the weird expectations of sexuality and asexuality in indie rock. I was actually trying to indict the criticism, not Grimes, for how she was being perceived and pedestalized in weird ways, which maybe one or two more sentences in the prior paragraph would have clarified, or maybe it got lost in my tepid feelings about the actual music. Either way, it was absolutely not my intent, and I’m very sorry to Grimes and anyone else who read it that way, and especially if it made Grimes feel uncomfortable in any personal and gendered way beyond the standard music-critical conversation. I honestly really admire that Grimes has refused to sacrifice her principles, and while I’m still not the biggest fan of her music, I’m glad that a woman like her is popular. I especially admire the fact that she apologized for wearing a bindi (something that I have written about)—it takes a lot of character to accept and own up to something you’ve done that was culturally insensitive. To that end, again, it was not my intent to lambaste Grimes for refusing to sexualize herself, but to lambaste the weird and ooky and gendered way people were talking about her at the time. Obviously as her popularity has grown it happens much less, but if you’ll recall in those early days of Grimes blogfanaticism, shit was dark.