The sound of misogyny: sexual harassment and sexual violence in the music industry

Melanie McCarry, Emmaleena Käkelä, Cassandra Jones, Kallia Manoussaki

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The cultural and creative industries are the fastest growing industries in the UK (Webster et al., 2018). Stakeholder engagement, media reporting, anecdotal evidence and emerging research suggests endemic levels of sexual harassment and sexualised violence within the music industry that it can be described as widespread, systemic and normalised. This article reviews the literature on sexual harassment and sexualised violence in the music industry examining gender stratifications and inequalities within the music industry with a focus on UK, Australian and US studies. The music industry is not a singular entity but instead, is an agglomeration of many different sub-sectors predominantly comprised of three interconnected spheres of music recording and distribution, music publishing and licensing, and live performance. It references Kelly’s (1988; 2007; 2016) theorisations on conducive contexts and the continuum of violence to argue that historical and entrenched misogyny and sexism along with the lack of regulation, process and governing frameworks creates conditions for both the maintenance of gender inequality and the perpetuation of sexual harassment and sexualised violence within the music industry. Consequently, both the cultural context and the practice of misogyny (in this case sexual harassment and sexualised violence) within the music industry are mutually supporting and reinforcing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-234
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Issue number2
Early online date5 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

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