If you listened to triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2015 countdown yesterday like a great deal of the Australian population, you probably noticed the absence of female artists in the top 10 (excluding MØ’s feature on Major Lazer & DJ Snake’s Lean On and Lorde’s vocals on Disclosure’s Magnets).
Writer Erin Riley was one listener who observed this stark lack of diversity, highlighting the gender inequality in the countdown with reference to past winners Chet Faker and Vance Joy.
Vance Joy and Chet Faker went to school together, which means the Hottest 100 has had more winners from St Kevin's Toorak than women
— Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) January 25, 2016
As The Vine point out, Faker, who has appeared in multiple Hottest 100s and took out the 2014 title, appeared to have missed Riley’s point, replying with now-deleted tweets which read:
“I skipped school every Wednesday yr12 to go 2 swinburne sec & sit in on audio class my school wouldn’t offer”
“Studied at RMIT tafe audio engineering for 3 yes paid myself while busking in the city and working bar jobs.”
The backlash against Faker for not recognising the point of Riley’s tweet, was swift. Fellow feminist writer Clementine Ford is one person who was unimpressed with Faker’s response, asserting that Riley’s comment wasn’t about the Trouble singer.
Feminist writer calls out gender bias in music listenership, male musician immediately cries about how hard he works. Wah wah. — Clementine Ford (@clementine_ford) January 26, 2016
Because female musicians don’t work hard or study their craft or busk for a crust. Christ mate, it’s not about YOU.
— Clementine Ford (@clementine_ford) January 26, 2016
Today Faker backtracked yesterday’s tweets, admitting that he had made a mistake by taking Riley’s tweet personally and indeed supports the need for gender inequality.
(1/3) Id like to go on record and mention that these tweets circling round were deleted for a reason. I completely missed the point. — ✋ɹǝʞɐℲ ʇǝɥƆ (@Chet_Faker) January 26, 2016
(2/3) I mistakenly took it personally. I realise now the tweet was referencing a much larger issue entrenched in our society.
— ✋ɹǝʞɐℲ ʇǝɥƆ (@Chet_Faker) January 26, 2016
(3/3) I want to acknowledge the larger issue of gender inequality. Im sorry for derailing the conversation. I believe in equality. — ✋ɹǝʞɐℲ ʇǝɥƆ (@Chet_Faker) January 26, 2016
At the same time though, Riley was also met with unwarranted backlash, reporting that reactions to her tweet were abusive.
“I really didn’t think this was a revolutionary idea,” she later wrote on her blog, “yet the reaction I had to this pretty simple tweet was far more aggressive and, frankly, abusive than anything I experienced after I published a piece about sexism and cricket a few weeks ago.”
Since the Hottest 100’s inception, only four winning songs have featured a female artist: The Cranberries’ Zombie in 1994, Spiderbait with Buy Me a Pony in 1996, Gotye ft. Kimbra with Somebody that I Used to Know in 2011 and Angus & Julia Stone’s Big Jet Plane in 2010.
No solo female act has ever won the top spot and this year no female-fronted bands or solo female acts even cracked the top 10.