Isabella Manfredi, frontwoman of The Preatures, has detailed a long and exhaustive history of sexual harassment within the music industry in the wake of (what else?) the Harvey Weinstein allegations.
Although the band originated in Sydney, she stressed that most of these incidences occurred in the United States.
“There was the touchy feely US booking agent whose behaviour became so inappropriate that the boys told our manager to keep him away from me (I felt embarrassed to do this myself). Or the head honcho who, when meeting the band, looked me up and down and licked his lips before turning to the guys to shake hands and talk ‘business’ (we were all stunned). Or the multiple executives at a corporate gig in Vegas who slipped their hands up my dress while taking a photo with the band.”
One incident included the head of a New York indie label, who started off friendly and professional, inviting her out to a business dinner and talking her up to everyone she met.
“I felt accepted, excited; I was meeting artists I respected. I felt respected. Later, in a cab on our way to the next venue with another friend of his, he suggested we go back to my hotel and have a bath together. When I refused, politely and then firmly, he said my band was a joke. The gig we’d played at Rough Trade was mediocre. He snickered to his friend. He said other things I can’t remember. What I do remember was the dreadful, sickening realisation that I was a fucking fool.”
Manfredi says she’s never come forward before about these experiences because she thought the only way to overcome them was to put her head down and work hard, quoting a widely shared New Yorker piece by Jia Tolentino.
Tolentino writes that men like Weinstein implicate their victims in their acts, by choosing neither to victimise women above a certain point of power within their career, or to show their behaviour to other men.
“This makes for a false but often convincing narrative—you are prey only when you are not good enough, and so you must not have been good enough if you were prey,” she wrote.
Manfredi continued: “I have worked hard to become untouchable. But in doing so I’ve also limited myself and kept a permissive silence on things that matter to me.”
She ended her message with a callout for others who’ve experienced sexism within the music industry to reach out.
“On this album cycle I’ve been asked, does sexism in the music industry still exist, and what does it look like?” she asked. “I think it’s time to compile our experiences and give it a face.”
You can read her post in full below.