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photo by matteo prandoni/bfanyc.com

the indie music world is being dominated by awesome women—so why do they get so much hate online?

It's been a big week for female-fronted bands: Lorde became the youngest artist to top the Billboard charts since 1987, and set the record for longest track at number one on alternative radio by a female artist (if you don't know her song "Royals," you've probably been living under a rock), while Paramore got their first top 10 radio track with "Still Into You." From Lana Del Rey to Lucius, Hayley Williams to Hunters, it seems like there's no shortage of incredibly talented--not to mention cool--ladies making really, really good music.

And yet, we've spent most of it talking about the problem the indie world still has with women who can rock out--especially online.

What kicked off our conversation was the much-discussed article by Chvrches' frontwoman Lauren Mayberry about the way she's treated by people--anonymous or otherwise--online. That the music industry has its issues with sexism is nothing new, but it's certainly taken on a whole new, aggressive, personal look in the 21st century. The Scottish singer penned a piece for The Guardian bringing to light the endless stream of vile, sexually explicit, misogynistic messages the band receives through social media, most of which target her. While Mayberry notes that she expects criticism based on Chvrches' sound, she's not OK with the message that she should just grin and bear it as messages like, "I have your address and I will come round to your house and give u anal and you will love it you twat lol" (an actual message she received). "What I do not accept, however, is that it is all right for people to make comments ranging from 'a bit sexist but generally harmless' to openly sexually aggressive. That it is something that 'just happens,'" she writes, adding, "Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over, and accept defeat? I hope not. Objectification, whatever its form, is not something anyone should have to 'just deal with.'"

That the band is spending their time calling out cultural sexism rather than celebrating the release of their excellent, long-awaited debut album The Bones of What You Believe (which came out September 24), is just one sign that it's more than this little problem; in fact, the crazy thing about the article wasn't that it elicited calls from, say, Rolling Stone or Stereogum to get readers to change the way we treat women in bands (which it should have--and yes, you can find a few offensive comments in the stories they posted reporting on the article), but rather a round of "amen" from some of our favorite female-led indie bands. "Important read, well said Lauren," tweeted Tegan & Sara, with everyone from Haim to Kate Nash taking to social media to affirm the points Mayberry made in the article.

Paramore's Williams was among the group who retweeted the article. "The internet gave people a set of balls that they probably don't have in real life," she told me over the phone this week, adding "When I saw that post, it's so real and people don't know it, it's such a hidden thing. For someone to write about it on the Internet and get a lot of attention for it was incredible--I loved it." 

It's not the first time in the past six months that a musician has spoken out about it; in April, Grimes took to her Tumblr offering up a manifesto of sorts. Amongst the points she makes in a post titled I Don't Want To Have To Compromise My Morals In Order To Make a Living," she writes, "I don't want to live in a world where I'm gonna have to start employing body guards because this kind of behavior is so commonplace and accepted."

Just last week, Lorde took to her Tumblr to call out the absurd pressure placed on female performers to look "perfect." "There's a lot of importance placed on physical perfection in this industry, and I wish my favorite stars didn't look perfect because I think fans (me included) have these feelings of worthlessness, like they'll never be as pretty/talented/whatever, as a result of this intense Photoshop culture and the endless strive for perfection," she wrote. This is someone who is just 16-years-old and already acutely aware of how her looks will be interpreted.

Is it any wonder, then, that Chvrches started out as an (intentionally) anonymous band, or that Lorde made her big US debut in New York City last week without any stage lights; perhaps her reasoning is that if there's no spotlight on her, there's no way for people to sexualize or objectify her, and can instead just focus on the music. But it's certainly not the answer; it's a bit like telling women to cover up so that they don't get rape, which is another way of saying, "It's your problem, not ours."

But it is our problem; we buy albums, we get tickets, we tweet back at people. We have the power to support artists who speak out, just as we have the power to call out sexist comments on Facebook (and believe me when I say they exist--yes, even on NYLON's Facebook page). Because misogyny against awesome indie ladies is also misogyny against us awesome indie-listening ladies--we have all seen, heard, or experienced it ourselves, be it in a mosh pit or on an online message board.

"I realized early on that the microphone in my hand could be really empowering," Williams explained when talking about her own experiences with sexism. "When girls realize that they do have a voice and it's not wrong to use it and express their true identities, that's what we need to be encouraging."

And if there's any time that it could change, let's hope it's now. With our playlists dominated by not dudes with scruffy beards, but bad-ass women in just about every genre, we may just be reaching a critical mass in the internet age. "There's such a cool resurgence of females in alternative music," a hopeful Williams said, adding, "There are a lot of strong women taking over, and I love it. It's so empowering." Let's hope that she's right. 

Photo by Rachel Dennis

Finally

"What do girls even do together?" This question, or some iteration of it, is frequently posed to me once someone finds out I'm bisexual or hears me mention my girlfriend, or if I make any reference to being interested in girls. I would be annoyed by it, but I have empathy because I know how hard this kind of information can be to find. In fact, the details of how two people with vaginas have sex isn't very widespread information. And, I know that I didn't really have all that much information about girl-on-girl sex before, well, actually having it myself. It's precisely this kind of situation that queer sex educator Stevie Boebi is trying to fix.

Boebi has gained a big following for her informational YouTube videos about how to use a strap-on, how to scissor, how to fist someone, how to choose a vibrator for yourself; any question you could have, she will get you an answer. She doesn't shy away from topics that people wouldn't be quick to ask someone about IRL, either, like BDSM. And she covers the kind of things that are definitely not what we're taught in sex education classes—likely not even in the most progressive curriculums. A study from GLSEN notes that only 4 percent of teens reported learning anything positive about queer sex in their sex ed classes, and points out that in some states, it's actually prohibited to mention queerness at all.

Particularly when it comes to sex with two vaginas, the lack of available public education leads to a general lack of understanding of how we have sex, which then leads to a lack of understanding in the queer community, too. "I just think that lesbian sex is so oversexualized, and we're the least educated," said Boebi when I asked her recently why it's so important for her to spread knowledge about queer sex in particular.

Boebi said that she started out on YouTube making videos about technology, but after she came out as a lesbian, her audience flipped from mostly male to mostly female, though she would prefer a less rudimentary gender breakdown ("the algorithm only deals in binaries, sorry," she quipped).

Ultimately, her sexuality led her to change her content entirely, because she wanted to educate people who couldn't find answers to their questions anywhere else—even on the internet.

"I started getting a lot of what I called 'stupid questions' from very confused teenage girls saying, like, 'How do I do it? Can I get AIDs from fingering someone?'" Boebi told me. They were questions that probably should have had easily Google-able answers, but, when Boebi looked for lesbian sex education content to send to fans who were asking her, she came up empty-handed. "I couldn't find anything. I think I found, like, two articles on Autostraddle, and that was it," she said. "And then I was like, Well, shit! If no one else is going to do it, then I guess I will."

Boebi's audience is mainly comprised of 13- to 24-year-olds, so she keeps in mind that she's helping people who may not be experienced, or even out yet. She uses her own experiences to inform her work sometimes, but also researches extensively and talks to people she knows who "have fancy Ph.Ds in sexology and shit," who can answer her questions or point her to resources she should be referencing.

Boebi's charm is in her relatability; even if she's talking about things we've been conditioned to feel shame around, she does it in such an open and honest way that all that shame disappears—as it should. She does this by perfectly meshing professional talk with jokes and sarcasm, and even uses characters based on star signs. She knows the importance of taking on taboo topics, because there are so many people who won't otherwise find answers to their questions. "I don't actually struggle in my everyday life asking people if they've ever been anally fisted before," Boebi joked with me. "I'll take that burden."

And keeping her tone light and humorous is of the utmost importance to her. "When people are laughing, they're comfortable, and I want people to feel comfortable," Boebi said. "And I want people to know that I'm comfortable talking about sex, and they can be, too." It helps also, Boebi told me, that her audience is separated by a screen, and she's not "in a room with a 12-year-old talking about my labia."

Beyond instructional sex videos, Boebi also deals with other rarely discussed facets of sexuality and physicality. Boebi is polyamorous, and talks openly about it, confronting the stereotypes and the misinformation about the identity head-on. And, she was also recently diagnosed with Ehler's Danlos Syndrome after going years without a diagnosis, and she aims to start working more with disabled queer sex educators to make her work more inclusive of people with disabilities. Though she pointed out to me that her work was already encompassing of disabilities, she "hasn't been a part of the disability activist community for very long," and so she has a lot to learn.

And, though Boebi's happy that she has the platform she does, she wants a more inclusive array of sex educators to join the scene. "My voice is my voice, and it's unique to me, but I think there should be way more," she noted. "Especially people [with intersectional identities]. That would make me so happy if we could diversify sex educators."

And, though Boebi says there's no "ideal way" to educate people about sex, she's definitely on a better track than the public education system, and she makes clear that there's nothing shameful about sexuality—in fact, it's just a part of being human, and a really fun one, at that.

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Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.

BREAKING: JON SNOW FINALLY APOLOGIZED FOR SEASON 8 youtu.be

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Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL - Official Trailer www.youtube.com

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