Anna Calvi speaks out on gender equality in music: “the patriarchy is everywhere”

Londoner lets loose on gender-based interview questions and body expectations

Anna Calvi has hit out at gender bias in music, saying “You’re so brought up in the patriarchal way we live, you don’t notice it, yet it’s everywhere. It’s everywhere.”

Speaking with The Sunday Independent, Calvi went in-depth on why music has highlighted sexism for her, and changed her view on life:

“I felt I was being reminded constantly about my gender in a way you never usually are. ‘What’s it like as a woman playing guitar?’ ‘As a woman, how do you…?’ ‘What is it like to play such a phallic instrument?’ At first it surprised me, then it made me angry, and now it’s like my eyes are opened to seeing the world in a slightly different way.”

NMEJason Hetherington/NME

She went on to talk about gendered expectations when it comes to looks:

“It’s beyond perfection, the way a woman is supposed to look. And shapeless – like an 11-year-old boy. You look in the mirror and see that you have hips and you imagine they shouldn’t be there.”

“I do shave my legs and my armpits but really, what are you being told, that you have to shave off parts of yourself? You’re not allowed to just be in the world. You’re always being told that your natural state is a bit disgusting.”

Calvi also deals with how fame has influenced her in the interview, speaking of having no regular home, and weeks spent in silent contemplatation.

Her most recent release is the ‘Strange Weather EP, a covers record unveiled in July 2014 and featuring David Byrne. She’ll play at London’s Southbank Centre next Saturday (August 22), at Moseley Folks Festival (Birmingham, September 04) and at Blackheath FEstival (London, September 12).