As the world of music lost one voice for social change, it quickly gained another.
Ronnie Gilbert, the legendary singer who — along with bandmates Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman — rose to fame as part of the Weavers, passed away Saturday at the age of 88. Besides helping to spark a revival in American folk music during the 1960s, Gilbert was an activist for global peace as well as a dedicated feminist.
"I was the girl in the band, and I hated it," Gilbert said in a 2004 interview for Voices of Feminism, an oral history project at Smith College. "I hated that every time we got a review. They would talk about me as ‘the chick.’ They would always talk about what I wore. They never talked what the men wore."
Gilbert's sentiments on sexism in the media were echoed Sunday by Ariana Grande, a 21-year-old singer best known for hits like "Problem" and "Break Free." In response to the media constantly defining her by her relationships, Grande posted an essay across all social media fronts decrying what she says are rampant double standards and sexism.
“I… do not. belong. to anyone. but myself. and neither do you,” Grande proclaimed. The singer, who shared that she comes from a long bloodline of female activists, then proceeded to list the double standards thrown at women - from sex shaming to assumptions regarding male friends.
“I can’t wait to live in a world where people are not valued by who they’re dating / married to / attached to, having sex with (or not) / seen with…. but by their values as an individual,” she added.
Grande ended her thoughts with a quote from feminist Gloria Steinem: “Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. She will need her sisterhood.”
Response to the essay has been overwhelmingly positive, with hundreds of thousands of likes, shares and re-tweets across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Comments from some of Grande's fellow musicians have also rolled in — with everyone from Nik West to Taylor Swift throwing support.
"Now THIS is what artists should be using their platform for," West wrote on Facebook. "Schooling us girls on how to think and remain a lady and independent of the world's thoughts about us. Thank you ... I'm a new fan!"
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