Is This Negative Review Of Charli XCX Sexist?

Photo: Duncan Bryceland/Rex/REX USA
Charli XCX, the pop star behind last summer's hit "Boom Clap" got some bad press for her performance at Lollapalooza this weekend. But the most troubling quote didn't accuse the singer of being flat or forgetting her words, it was questioning her charm school credentials.

The Huffington Post
flagged the sexist line from Chicago's RedEye. The reviewer (who is a woman) was displeased with her stage presence, saying, "She was not the most ladylike of performers either, constantly gyrating her hips and even exclaiming, 'My fly keeps coming undone.' Classy..."

The first thing the review called to mind was an anecdote in Tina Fey's Bossypants, when she recalled a time in the SNL writer's room when Amy Poehler made a dirty joke. "Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said: 'Stop that! It's not cute! I don't like it.' Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. 'I don't fucking care if you like it.' Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit," Fey wrote.

While men are often called out for making sexist remarks, we (women) are also guilty of falling into the same traps. The fact is, women can be sexist — and we don't mean against men. Sexist ideas are drummed into us from a young age, and it's easy to internalize. So were the reviewer's remarks sexist? She wasn't saying she didn't like Charli XCX's voice or song construction. She wasn't accusing her choruses of being repetitive or her lyrics of being reductive. Critics often need to be critical. But whether a female artist is ladylike should only be the concern of her elderly relatives at their family reunion.

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