Best Coast‘s Bethany Cosentino has written a letter about misogny and sexism in the music industry for Girls’ creator Lena Dunham’s email newsletter Lenny.
The essay comes in the aftermath of accusations of sexual assault against former music publicist Heathcliff Berru, the CEO of the now-defunct US company Life Or Death PR who represented acts such as DIIV, Killer Mike and Tyler, The Creator.
In the letter, Stereogum reports that Cosentino described sexist reviews written about her gigs and comments directed towards her during shows. “I recently read a review that mostly lauded a Best Coast show — it specified how great the band sounded and how “sexy” I looked — but it bemoaned my lack of smiling. This article has, and continues to, deeply trouble me,” she wrote.
Continuing to explain why the comments bothered her, she said: “This reviewer’s gendered critique of my presence onstage revealed how he thought a woman who he saw as “sexy” should behave. It also showed how ideas about the sexualization of women are reinforced. Many people did not see the underlying sexism of the review. In fact, in the social media referencing the article, countless people attacked me with comments like “Get over it! He complimented you! Quit being a whiny bitch!””
Cosentino also stated that she had already written a first draft of the essay before the allegations against Berru, which were shared online after Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman tweeted about her experiences, came to light. While she acknowledged the difference between a sexist review and harassment or assault, she called it “part of the same continuum”.
“Because when someone critiques Best Coast’s live performance because “Bethany looks like a miserable bitch onstage,” it is a gendered attack,” she wrote. “There are currently four men in my band, and no one is really talking about how they don’t smile onstage or how hot their outfits are.”