Björk denounced journalistic “sexism” and constraining gender stereotypes in an open letter following her DJ sets at Houston’s Day for Night festival. “Some media could not get their head around that I was not ‘performing’ and ‘hiding’ behind desks,” the Icelandic singer wrote on Facebook, claiming male DJs weren’t critiqued despite taking the same approach.
“Women in music are allowed to be singer songwriters singing about their boyfriends,” wrote Björk. “If they change the subject matter to atoms, galaxies, activism, nerdy math beat editing or anything else than being performers singing about their loved ones, they get criticized; journalists feel there is just something missing … as if our only lingo is emo.”
Björk explained that she explored a wide array of subject matter on two of her recent LPs, 2007’s Volta and 2011’s Biophilia, “conscious of the fact that these were not subjects females usually write about.” She argues the media only accepted her work after she switched toward “heartbreak” with 2015’s Vulnicura.
“Men are allowed to go from subject to subject, do sci-fi, period pieces, be slapstick and humorous, be music nerds getting lost in sculpting soundscapes, but not women,” she continued. “If we don’t cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives, we are cheating our audience.”
Björk closed the letter by plotting an optimistic about-face with her next creative project. “I hope that in the next year, even though I was brave to share with you a classic female subject matter, the heartbreak, I get to have a costume change and walk out of this role.”
Last December, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Björk previewed the more peaceful direction of her next album, which she’d been crafting in a cabin “in the nature” outside Reykjavik.
“I have a few songs, but the way I work, I’m slow,” she said. “I allow myself time. I cannot promise when this one will be ready. But it’s kind of lulling, it’s going to its own little tempo. It’s pretty similar to the tempos my previous albums have been written in.”