Internet Goes After Neko Case After She Rejects Playboy Magazine's "Compliments"

Indie Rock singer Neko Case not so graciously turned down Playboy's misogynistic "compliment" on Twitter. And now the internet is call her a c*nt.
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Indie Rock singer Neko Case not so graciously turned down Playboy's misogynistic "compliment" on Twitter. And now the internet is call her a c*nt.
Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 3.36.12 PM

Some things haven’t changed for women since the 1960s.

Two Sundays ago on Mad Men, we watched Peggy Olson feel like she had to smile gratefully when slimy Pete Campbell told her that Don should present the concept of her campaign to their client. Peggy would then chime in afterward, lending validation to Don’s pitch of her idea, as the “mom” figure. In that scene and so many others, Peggy is a symbol of female tokenism.

Later in the week, Peggy became a modern-day symbol of a much more inspiring sort, thanks to musician Neko Case being awesome.

When Playboy tagged Case in this tweet:

Playboy.com @PlayboyDotCom
Artist @NekoCase is breaking the mold of what women in the music industry should be: http://bit.ly/1gkS8oa
5:25 PM - 21 May 2014

Case responded in an all-caps “fuck you” that was then heralded across the twitterverse, by women and men:

Neko Case ✔ @NekoCase
@PlayboyDotCom Am I? IM NOT A FUCKING "WOMAN IN MUSIC", IM A FUCKING MUSICIAN IN MUSIC!
5:45 PM - 21 May 2014

How dare Case react with anger to this “compliment” and be so ungrateful, tweeted this jerkoff:

Rob Coker @robomeerkat
@NekoCase @JenKirkman @PlayboyDotCom Never has a compliment been so vehemently rejected...

To which Case replied, to the delight of thousands: “DON’T PEGGY OLSEN [sic] ME, MOTHERFUCKERS!”

Can she get an “Amen” up in here? Fuck yes, said a zillion happy women.

Of course, many men were not happy, denouncing Case for being ungrateful, oversensitive and “not that good anyway.” Many suggested via Facebook posts about the incident that perhaps Playboy was just trying to help out readers who hadn’t heard of Case and might not know that someone named “Neko” was a woman. Others pointed out that since she once posed nude, Case has no business expecting to be taken seriously as a musician. Others insisted that if Case hadn’t been identified as a woman, she would have complained about that, too.

We’re leaps and bounds from those oppressive late-’60s Peggy Olson days, right? Not really. As with racism, the subjugation of women is just more subtle.

Amid the posts calling Case a bitch and a cunt were earnest ones from guys like this dumbass, who I graciously will just identify as “Jacob”:

“I think its OK to want better rights and things for yourself and your gender or whatever race, socioeconomic status, or w/e it is that you are. However I don't think it ethical to demonize others or get upset over little things like the usage of language!

Seriously some of the people here are making a mountain out of a molehill! The arguments concerned about gender neutral language in every speech are blowing little things out of proportion.

You can argue the English language has an implied ‘male dominance’ or w/e but I don't think that was ever intentional. Its not like there's some secret club to which only men belong which conspires to keep women oppressed by using offensive language about gender. That's a laughable idea.

The opposite of neutral is offensive, and given the stance taken on this by feminists I would say in this case ‘Gender Neutral Language’ doesn't mean men are being defensive. I think these feminists believe men are out to ‘get’ them.

I think y'all need to chill out. I don't know anyone whose sole purpose in life is to oppress women. That's another laughable idea.”

Well, Jacob, it’s like this. For one thing, Neko Case has been a musician and songwriter since at least 1992, when she was in The New Pornographers. She has been nominated for Grammy Awards. She did some music for “The Hunger Games.” Maybe you’ve heard of that.

So for a magazine to feel to need to point out, “boy, this female musician is really breaking the mold!” is insulting given Case’s level of success. Put another way, after all that she has accomplished, why should she be grateful that they’re still focusing on the fact that she’s a woman in music?

And don’t bother pointing out in the comments here that Playboy’s review of her album took her seriously. That’s great, but someone working at Playboy still felt that it was perfectly OK when composing a 42-character tweet about a musician who has been in the business more than 20 years to only mention her supposed “mold breaking” as a woman. That’s why it was insulting, and that’s why Case was angry.

To give you further perspective, I think Case was offended and angry because of this. And this. Also, this. This, too. And let’s not forget this or this! Mercy, so many mold breakers!

Some pubs even sheepishly acknowledge the lameness of the whole idea of grouping musicians by gender even while they’re doing it:

“While other magazines will tout the women above and below as the ‘hottest’ or ‘sexiest’ women in hard rock and metal, what matters to us is the talent and their relevance in 2013. While those listed here are certainly stunning, it is the talent we applaud and acknowledge.”

Do you understand how prevalent this is now, Jacob? Almost every publication that covers the music industry trots out a condescending “female musician” list every year. Which is really silly when you consider that women are half of the Earth’s population, so of course they are making music just like men are. And if you read some of those “women in music” lists, Jacob, there are women on them who are applauded for records they put out like 40 years ago. Forty years! If Ella Fitzgerald is on the list, it’s more like 80 years ago. So why is this still news?

We see this shitevery year, Jacob. Several times a year, actually. It’s super tiresome because it reinforces the “otherness” of female musicians. It reinforces the idea that women in music are aberrations or exceptions, as the editor of Bitch magazine once put it. That for a woman to make a piece of music that anyone other than her boyfriend or her dad would want to listen to is an amazing accomplishment, given her gender.

It reinforces the subtle idea that as humans without penises, they’re lucky music journalism covers them at all.

Blah blah blah, women just love to complain, don’t they lol!? That’s all this is! (I know, it’s our PERIODS!)

One need only look to Rolling Stone’s “women in rock” compilation album -- which includes a list of artists so broad and disparate that it reaches the point of lunacy -- to see that the music-chick theme has completely and obnoxiously jumped the shark.

After noting how the comp bizarrely follows “Oh Bondage! Up Yours!” by X-Ray Spex with Dionne Warwick’s “Walk on By,” Allmusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine says, “The set winds up reinforcing the belief that gathering artists under the dubious ‘women in rock’ umbrella is misguided, at best.”

In a 2011 article about Revolver magazine’s annual “hottest chicks in metal and hard rock list” (Good news, now it’s also a tour!)
for The Atlantic, Kim Kelly wrote:

“Ostensibly, the goal is to provide exposure to the women of metal, and celebrate them for their talent and brains as well as their beauty—think Miss America's 'scholarship' competitions with less world peace and more devil horns. But the ladies' musical backgrounds and achievements often play second fiddle to their luminous cheekbones or dangerous curves.

It usually ends up as Revolver's highest-grossing and most popular issue of the year. That doesn't mean everyone likes it. Critics—I'm among them—ask why it is that the magazine sees the need to put together a ‘special edition’ once every 12 months, instead of choosing to allocate equal coverage to start with.”

Editors and defenders of the women-in-music comp lists often say things such as, “But we’re just celebrating these accomplished female musicians and their contributions to music.” Well, you know what? You can celebrate their contributions to music all fucking year round if you want to, as Kelly pointed out. You don’t need to lump them together in articles that make their vagina possession the thematic thread of the story instead of their music.

Also, many of these lists are created as an excuse to show T&A under the guise of "empowering female musicians." Put another way, these magazines are using the women they might not provide enough coverage of all year round for a once-a-year "sexy" ad push.

Stop being lazy journalists and using the “vagina+guitar” hook. For one thing, it’s long past being a hook and is now a cliché. It is also way past the time when female musicians could be boxed into one neat, lazy package, so stop trying.

I will concede that either consciously or subconsciously, there could be a journalism school "triumph over adversity" angle that music writers have in the backs of their minds when they ask female musicians questions such as, "What is like being a woman in this male-dominated industry?" (which they seem to always fucking do). Writers might be straining toward some humanizing hook in an effort to work in some obstacle for the subject of the story to overcome, pump up the drama, give readers some inspiring bit of tripe. But that's what it is at this point: tripe. Sexist, unnecessary and offensive.

I wish we could create malware that would ferret out and obliterate any “Women in Rock” headline and replace it with “Don’t Peggy Olson me, motherfuckers.” Somebody get on that.