Myrkur: “Equality means we have to respect each other’s differences”
It’s worth starting this off by saying that there was a time when equality between the genders was a more pressing subject than it is now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remember how far we’ve come and celebrate the more balanced way we now look at the human race. The problems that women have historically faced is not something I’m always that comfortable talking about, because I wasn’t alive 100 or even 50 years ago when things were much worse, so it’s not for me to comment on what it was like back then – I can only state what it’s like for me now. I feel that being a woman doesn’t hold me back, but I know that’s not the case for everyone.
I approach talking about the struggles of women with caution, because often the conversation around me focuses more on my gender than my music, and that becomes a very counterproductive thing. In my case, the focus of the narrative should be elsewhere. Talking about my gender steals the attention away from the fact that I’m a classically-trained musician, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer. It doesn’t help me or my music thrive to always talk about how it’s hard to be a woman in metal. But I will say that the fight for women’s equality that still goes on now is a valid one, and something worth supporting. The nature of the conversation around this subject depends very much on who you’re talking to.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is equality, and to me, equality means that we all acknowledge the fact that each of us is human, and we’re all made of flesh and blood just the same. Equality means we need to respect each other’s differences, whether that’s gender or something else. Freedom is a big part of equality, particularly the freedom to be who you are: I’m a woman, not a man, and that’s fine – I don’t want to be a man – but I want that freedom to be true to myself. And I feel like I have that freedom, but you have to have that fight in you to maintain it – no-one’s going to hand it to you. Having freedom is a battle, but anything worth having is never easy to attain.
When it comes to International Women’s Day and celebrating the women who’ve been important in my life, I’d like to give a special mention to my grandmother. She’s passed away now, but she had a tough start to life: she was adopted and lied to about it because it was deemed shameful back then, and she was mistreated by her adoptive family. But she went on to create a life for herself and had two daughters, my mother and my aunt, and made a life for them, too. She was a very strong person, and someone who always encouraged me to pursue music – she said that if music was my passion, then that’s what I should study. When I was a teenager, it meant the world to me to hear a woman who’d overcome so much tell me to follow my heart. She could easily have said, ‘Be safe, get an education.’ But she did the opposite… not that I’m against education, by the way!
Discussing gender equality seems like an inflammatory issue right now, but if people were to stop nit-picking and focus on the bigger picture, they’d realise how, around the world, there are places where there remains a severe oppression of women. We should lend our ears to them, be sisters to them, and not worry so much about ourselves. That’s why I’ve never cared much for talking about being a woman in metal, because I’m fine, but there are people who aren’t, and the attention should be on them.
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