Best Coast Riffs on Sexism in the Music Industry

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California surf indie band Best Coast has painted sunshine on love, nostalgia, the beach, and getting high to listeners since their debut in 2009. Now, lead woman Bethany Cosentino is shedding light on the dark side of music.

In her essay, “Burgers, B*tches, and Bullsh*t,” Cosentino breaks down on her experience with ignorant journalists, rough crowds, and dealing with misogynists online. She targets sexism in the music industry as a female musician.

Cosentino, like many female musicians, has been called everything from “sexy” to “ugly” to “a b*tch.”  She goes off on how she has been criticized for being empowered and strong, for standing up for herself in the face of the public. (She includes her response to an incident when someone threw a cheeseburger at her at a show.) She also stands by her support for Planned Parenthood.

“I will NEVER apologize for being an outspoken boss, because I don’t owe anyone an apology.”

She wants to see a change in how women are perceived in the industry. There has constantly been a double standard, particularly towards female artists. Cosentino just wants to make music without questions like “what’s it like being a girl in a band?” that belittles her craft. She strikes back at sentiments describing her music as “whiny” and immature.

“Did anyone call The Beatles “whiny babies” for singing the lyrics “This boy wants you back again”? Did anyone call them “desperate” or “needy” for singing “Oh please say to me / You’ll let me be your man / And please say to me / You’ll let me hold your hand”?”

The article, penned for Lenny Letter, is a passionate callout to the music industry. She challenges listeners and musicians to think and question how female artists are treated. Cosentino’s final words summarize her sentiments clearly:

“To the girl who is feeling confused about her own identity, I say this to you with total confidence: You are talented, you are resilient, you are unique. And don’t ever let some burger-tossing bro allow you to think otherwise.”

You can read Cosentino’s full essay on Lenny Letter.

Founded by Lena Dunham (star and creator of HBO’s dramedy Girls) and Jenni Konner, Lenny Letter is an online newsletter focused on women, feminism, and the arts.

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