Zara Larsson has spoken about taking a stance against toxic masculinity, saying the issue “makes the world a worse place”.
In 2016, the Swedish pop star tweeted about an incident where a fan was reportedly raped during her set at Sweden’s Bravalla Festival.
“Fuck you who shamelessly raped a girl in the audience,” she wrote at the time. “You deserve to burn in hell. Fuck you for making girls feel insecure when they go to a festival. I hate guys. Hate hate hate.”
Speaking to NME for this week’s Big Read cover story, she said that the response had seen her branded a “man-hater” – something that she was also called after writing on her blog about feminism.
“The more I wrote about it, the more angry a lot of men got,” she said. “And that was when I started hearing the term ‘man-hating’, so I started reading up on it and getting educated on the patriarchy.”
After researching, she came to the conclusion that “hating men is just hating toxic masculinity, essentially”. “And men hate that too, even if they don’t know it, and even if they think they’re against feminism,” she explained.
“Even if they’re like, ‘No, I’m a strong man’, it’s like: yeah, but you hate that really – you know deep down that you wanna cry. You’re really just a human being who sometimes needs a hug and love and comfort, but you can’t tell your friends that because you think it would be ‘gay’ or emasculating or whatever.”
Larsson added that, in 2021, she would likely reword her initial tweet. “Maybe now I’d say, ‘I hate toxic masculinity’,” she said. “Because I do – it makes the world a worse place, it really does, and it raises men to be not very kind people to themselves and to women specifically.”
Speaking to MNEK for NME’s Friends Like These series, Larsson discussed the pair’s hit single ‘Never Forget You’. “After we wrote ‘Never Forget You’, I was just like, ‘this shit’s easy’” Larsson joked of their time writing together. “I couldn’t have asked for a better first session!”
“It worked out so well,” she added. “I think we both just add our own different flavour to it, and together it sounds so nice, as obviously we have very different voices. Them coming together, it’s so soothing to my ears.”