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Musogyny: The NME Awards Finally Gives A Nod to a Female Deity

Everyone knows it’s a man’s world out there (thanks James Brown) but there is none more so than the big bad world of music. From Miley’s twerking to Sinead’s slut shaming, these last months have seen an upward trajectory in the debate around gender issues within music. Rest assured that we here at Notion will be keen to keep an eye on all things sexism and there may even be some naming and shaming along the way…

Whilst recovering from the snoozefest that was the Brit Awards 2014, many people grumbled about how the cutting edge of award shows has gone completely blunt since the glory days of the Spice Girls, Jarvis Cocker’s drunken mooning and Ronnie Wood cracking on to girls less than half his age.

If this year’s Brit Awards didn’t catch your attention (and really, why would it?), then you may want to redirect your ceremonial gaze onto a slightly heavier offer – the good old NME Awards.

Attended by every skinny jean wearing music star from Haim to an extraordinarily hammered Eagulls, the event at Brixton’s O2 Academy last night saw the usual coked up and drunked up indie heroes stagger on stage to claim their middle finger shaped prizes.

Before the boos drown us out for suggesting it was a momentous event, it wasn’t the awards itself that drew our attention but that of the wondrous Debbie Harry, who at the age of 68 picked up an award for ‘Godlike Genius’ alongside her Blondie band mates.

Aside from giving ageism a kick right in the chest with her incredible gold creepers, red two-piece and enough bling to put half of the West Coast rappers to shame, the ultimate front woman was the first female to ever win the most acclaimed accolade from the UK’s hallowed (if not slightly flagging) music publication.

That’s right, we’ll repeat that… in the twenty years of the rock deity category running, there has never been a sole female winner or band fronted by a woman!

In fact the only female ever to have a look in was a half nod to famous music photographer Pennie Smith in 2002, who was asked to share half an award with celebrated NME journalist Nick Kent.

Considering the females available from the rock and roll hall of fame such as American’s Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, or even the UK’s own Siouxsie Sioux or Marianne Faithful, it could be considered a sign of how things have long been run in the music industry.

It is true that other categories at the NME Awards have often been littered with the odd female act or token girl member, but it is fair to say that they’ve often not reached the same amount of nominations as their male counterparts.

For example even though this year a woman finally got the most prestigious award, amongst the 40+ individual acts that were nominated at the NME Awards, there were only 10 that contained or were made up of female musicians. That equates to around just over 20% of the nominees, with Haim, Lily Allen, Courtney Barnett, Savages and Chvrches being amongst them.

So whilst Debbie Harry is putting things straight, there is clearly some way to go until the balance is readdressed completely.

Aside from watching Blondie pull off one kick-ass performance though, the only other real highlight was seeing Michael Eavis receive Glastonbury’s Best Festival award in cut off shorts. Totally amazing.

- Sarah Joy

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