Following the ruling that pop artist Kesha Rose could not leave her contract with Dr. Luke after her accusations towards him of sexual assault, the internet went a little crazy sparking the hashtag #FreeKesha. Across social media there was outcry and an immediate dialogue was opened regarding the matter, the fact that this was causing a discussion surrounding sexual violence itself is a pretty good thing.
However, with this came social media users querying where any form of solidarity or discussion was from Kesha’s peers; other pop artists. Not just any artists, but female artists.
Suddenly twitter became a-blaze with people asking where Lady Gaga’s feminist views were now when it really mattered. Or why America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift had yet to make a comment. Almost every high profile celebrity had come under fire for not speaking up for Kesha. Initially, this was kind of great thing. High profile celebrities have a huge voice in society and the more they condemn this ruling and the entire stigma surrounding sexual violence the more educated their fans can hopefully become.
This however, just felt more like witch-hunting. Where was the call for male celebrities to stand united with Kesha? People like Jay-Z, Coldplay, Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber have just as big a fan-base to make an influence with their comments. Especially in an industry that clearly favours men over women, could they not have had even more power if they made comment? Celebrities, predominantly female, did eventually step forward and proclaim their solidarity with Kesha, with one notable exception of Taylor Swift.
Swift did however make a donation to Kesha of $250,000 following the news that legal bills had put Kesha in some financial troubles. This led to quite a stir with fellow pop star Demi Lovato who decided that this wasn’t ‘good enough’ and that money doesn’t solve everything and made this abundantly clear on her Instagram and Twitter accounts. The media took this and ran with it and Taylor vs Demi was massive news for a good few days.
This caused a big problem. Although feminism has now finally reached the masses and has become rather mainstream, we see here that now instead of being the most popular or getting the most likes on Instagram, celebrities also have to be the most feminist. Celebrities were being judged for how they contributed, exactly what they said, or how they said it with regards to social and feminist issues. Whereas male celebrities were nowhere to be seen or heard.
It is great that Demi Lovato is so passionately vocal about this issue and feminism in general. It is also great that Taylor Swift donated money to Kesha’s cause and that she perhaps did this without speaking out to make sure the spotlight was not directed at her during this important time.
The entire debacle that ensued completely took away from the issue at hand. Whilst everyone was deciding which celebrity has been the most feminist or the more supportive friend, people like Chris Brown are still releasing music. It is great that celebrities are becoming more and more aware and vocal regarding feminism, but society should not condemn female artists for not speaking about every single social issue.
This is not a competition. This is a real person who is suffering. We need to instead collectively condemn Dr. Luke and the entire system that is currently in place which seems to value money above women’s lives.