‘There’s definitely a global movement to eradicate women’s rights’: Garbage singer Shirley Manson

‘There’s definitely a global movement to eradicate women’s rights’: Garbage singer Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson, frontwoman of 90s indie band Garbage, is bewildered.

“Why any woman would want to divorce themselves from the idea of equality is beyond my understanding,” she told 7.30.

She is reflecting on the current state of the world and what she sees as a turn towards conservatism.

“With September 11 I think the world got really conservative,” she said.

Garbage are currently touring Australia off the back of their sixth studio album, Strange Little Birds.

An avowed feminist, Manson is fighting back against what she sees as an erosion of women’s rights.

'There's definitely a global movement to eradicate women's rights' Garbage singer Shirley Manson

‘There’s definitely a global movement to eradicate women’s rights’ Garbage singer Shirley Manson

“There’s definitely a global movement towards eradicating women’s rights.

“You’ll see it in Poland, you’ll see it in Argentina, you’re seeing it in the States. I mean, it’s just everywhere.”

And the main reason that is happening? Women got complacent.

“I think that’s a result, in some ways, of a generation that followed the 90s, and women took for granted their rights, their human rights,” she said.

“[They] thought they were there to stay, not really understanding that human rights get eroded constantly and you always have to be really vigilant to make sure that these rights that women have fought so hard for remain in place.

“Instead we got a whole generation of young women who maybe thought they were living in the Garden of Eden.

“I’m not entirely sure what went wrong or what’s happened but they divorced themselves from the idea of feminism.”

Not that Manson has given up hope. She said there are a billion women fighting for equality every day.

“I think any woman that breaks conventional rules, stereotyping, is fighting the good fight,” she said.

“Whether that’s Michelle Obama, whether it’s Serena Williams, whether it’s Grimes … any successful athlete, any engineer, any producer, I mean, everybody’s at it.”

Manson believes social media also presents unique pressures for women growing up today.

“There’s so much pressure on young women to be beautiful, to put a photograph up on social media and have people go, ‘Wow, you’re so beautiful,'” she said.

“It’s kind of meaningless because there will always be another beautiful woman to follow.

“Ironically, when I was my youngest and most beautiful I felt the most pressure.

“I was always feeling that I was falling short and, you know, looking back, I was young and beautiful, and I didn’t know I was, I was oblivious to that fact.”

She says it is far better for young women to focus on and develop things that will last a lifetime.

“I think women really need to shift their focus onto something that creates a foundation for them as they grow through life,” she said.

“Nobody stays young and beautiful forever; therefore, build a platform on which you can stand through storms.”

“As I’ve gotten older … I have focussed on things that I consider much more important.”

“I want to be a great writer, I want to be good at what I do, I want to go on stage and blow people away.”


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