Why Women Dominated the 2024 Grammy Awards; And Why That’s Still Not Enough

Taylor, Miley, SZA, Victoria; the 66th Grammy Awards saw more women taking home awards than ever before – but at what cost?

After the heavily male dominated 60th Grammy Awards – which saw only one female artist awarded a solo Grammy during the televised portion of the ceremony –  former CEO Neil Portnow claimed that “women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level need to step up.”

Last year he was sued for rape and accused of sexual battery, as well as negligence on behalf of the academy. It’s stated that the board behind the academy were in fact aware of the allegations, information revealed by Portnow’s successor Deborah Dugan in her astounding legal claim. Dugan alleged that she was forced out of her place as CEO after lodging a complaint about sexual harassment and conflicts of interest.

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This year, after taking home two Grammys with Boygenuis, Phoebe Bridgers responded to Portnow’s critique of women with a scathing denouncement, “I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are, I hope you rot in piss.” With Portnow firmly out of the picture and the academy left with some explaining to do, female artists appear to have finally been awarded their dues.

Taylor Swift broke records with her win, receiving album of the year for Midnights and overtaking her male predecessors to become the only artist to win the desiderate award four times.

Just a few days later, Taylor was once again being slammed for ‘ruining American football.’

Her mere attendance has been dubbed ‘distracting’, and some hotheaded fans have declared her spoiling the future of the game for good.

Even Donald Trump had something to say about Taylor’s relationship, dubbing her as ‘disloyal’ in another nonsensical attack.

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Alongside this, she was shamed for promoting the upcoming release of her new record during her acceptance speech and her interactions with Celine Dion.

Miley Cyrus took home Best Solo Pop Performance for Flowers, her first ever solo Grammy.

She also performed the celebrated hit, and was praised for her physical appearance and style.

This is in stark contrast to her infamous 2013 VMA’s performance, in which viewers compared her body to that of turkey, slut-shamed her incessantly and accused her of polluting the minds of America’s youth.

Her then record, Bangerz, was mostly ignored, and instead she was mocked and ridiculed relentlessly.

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This phenomenon of deciding when women are the right amount of sexy has been present in the industry for decades. Barbra Streisand was ruthlessly attacked for her appearance, compared to an anteater and constantly torn apart in comparison to her male costars.

At some point, after what was apparently the right amount of success, the tables turned. The multiple Grammy Award winner was hailed as a unique beauty, a woman that oozed sex appeal and made men fall to their knees just for the chance to be in her presence.

Paramore took home two awards this year. This marks three Grammys in total for the female fronted outfit that have proved time and time again that they are not static in their genre, their performance nor their ability to sell out arenas and produce records that sell by the thousands.

Hayley Williams has been fronting Paramore since she was a teenager. Williams faced and continues to face surges of sexism, whether that be accusations of some form of diva-like behaviour that has caused several band members to depart – though it’s worth mentioning that said members have a history of racism and homophobia – or the controversy over her use of the word ‘whore’ in Misery Business.

The band retired the song for several years on the heels of Williams’ potential cancellation, only to somewhat recently bring it back.

Brendon Urie, the frontman of Panic! At The Disco faced no such backlash for his repeated use of the same word in the single I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.

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The 2024 Grammy Awards offered a thrilling look at the amount of women who lead the music industry, though this doesn’t trickle all the way down to the bottom – it doesn’t even reach the middle.

Backline work is still dominated by men, and male producers still reign over the industry at large.

In the UK in 2022, just 187 women and non-binary people were credited as either producer or engineer on the top 50 streamed tracks in 14 genres, compared to 3,781 men.

This discrepancy extends to live stages, with the 2023 Glastonbury Festival facing mass backlash for their male-centric lineup. In the summer of 2023, only one in 10 headliners at music festivals in the UK were women.

This barely touches on the most marginalised group on the music industry, black female artists.

Black Lives in Music’s data shows that black women in the industry are on average paid the least, and are paid 25% less than white women and 52% less than white men.

The female domination that took place at this years awards was both invigorating and long overdue.

We’re seeing change in the highest places, with some of the biggest stars in the world being applauded for their artistry.

But what did they have to endure and sacrifice to get there? The journey itself still remains one rife with sexism and misogyny, and even those at the top are degraded for how they handle their precarious position.

Those at the bottom are refused entry, judged and abused.

It seems no matter how well women do, we are still one moment away from being beaten down once again.

The journey is fraught with barriers and danger and the success is coated with judgement and debasement.

Our praise is wrapped in barbed-wire, and those with the power still do all that they can to keep women small, even when they seem the biggest of all.