Mallrat has taken to Instagram to call out the ARIAs, pointing out a gender imbalance among the nominees for 2022 awards, which were revealed yesterday. “Fuck the ARIAs,” said the musician, whose debut album Butterfly Blue came out earlier this year, in a video posted to her Instagram stories.
“When I looked at the list of nominees this morning, my initial reaction was to feel personally underestimated and misunderstood by my album being snubbed,” Mallrat said. “Then I took a deep breath and I realised that it’s not about me. Approximately one in five of the nominees are non-male, and in categories like heavy rock there are no non-male artists nominated at all.”
Mallrat on the ARIAs: “Fuck You Guys, You Don’t Get It”
obsessed w this energy pic.twitter.com/GcMs5RrMHa
— jackson langford (@jacksonlangford) October 12, 2022
Mallrat continued: “I’m reminded that the Australian music industry, like many industries, is dominated by men, and in this case, men who don’t think an artist is credible unless it’s a nonchalant dude playing guitar rock music. Fuck you guys, you don’t get it.”
The indie pop artist, whose real name is Grace Shaw, went on to congratulate Amyl and the Sniffers, who are nominated for six ARIAs, including Best Group, Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. “Comfort to Me is a perfect album, you deserve the world. You’re a beautiful band. Incredible live show. I hope you clean up at the awards,” Shaw said.
A closer look at the nominees for the 2022 ARIAs
Amyl and the Sniffers are the only act to feature at least one non-male core member in the Album of the Year and Best Group categories. In the Best Solo Artist category – which was introduced in 2021, replacing the awards for Best Male Artist and Best Female Artist – three out of the 10 nominees are women (Courtney Barnett, Julia Jacklin and Thelma Plum).
In the Song of the Year category, only one non-male artist artist – Tones and I – is a nominee as a solo artist. MAY-A and Reigan also appear, but as featured vocalists on Flume‘s ‘Say Nothing’ and Jolyon Petch’s ‘Dreams’ respectively. There is one non-male artist present in the Best Pop Release, Best Dance/Electronic Release, Best Hip-Hop/Rap Release categories, (Plum, Confidence Man and Barkaa respectively), and, as Mallrat pointed out, zero in the Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal categories.
Some categories fare better when it comes to gender equality. At least half of the nominees for Best Independent Release, Best Soul/R&B Release, Best Adult Contemporary Album, Best Blues & Roots Album and Best Children’s Album are non-male, or a band that include one non-male member. Four out of the 10 acts nominated for Best Australian Live Act and Most Popular International Artist feature at least one non-male member in their permanent lineup.
Not to discredit those artists at all, of course they are deserving but every year it’s pretty clear why & who the industry chooses to celebrate. Like where’s Mallrat?? where’s Tkay??? They’re literally DOMINATING and ur telling me they’re not nominated? Yeah k ?
— VETTA BORNE (@vettaborne) October 12, 2022
Mallrat isn’t the only Australian artist to have criticised how the ARIA nominees are selected. Last month, Gumbaynggirr man Tasman Keith labelled the awards’ eligibility structure “outdated”, after revealing his debut album A Colour Undone did not meet the voting criteria for categories such as Best Hip Hop Release or Album of the Year.
“My validation doesn’t come from an outdated award platform held up by [privileged] white record executives [whose] entire purpose is to sell our stories while keeping majority of the profits,” Keith wrote at the time. “ARIA needs to evolve. The system isn’t set up for the small town mission kid, it’s set up for the big label white man. And as a First Nations person I shouldn’t need to change the system to simply be acknowledge by it, that’s been the problem with Australia.”
Following Keith’s comments, ARIA issued a statement in which they said it had “always been ARIA’s mission to create opportunities for Australian music to be heard in all its forms, by all those who create it”.
It continued: “The ARIA Awards are a celebration of the best performing artists and music from each year, whose eligibility criteria is annually reviewed by members to ensure fair and equal representation, as evidenced by the independent artists who comprise 73 per cent of this year’s eligible entries.”
This year’s ARIAs are set to take place on Thursday, 24th November at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney.