Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino Is Not Going to ‘Smile More,’ Thank You Very Much

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Bethany Cosentino. Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Bethany Cosentino is a rock musician, but did you know she’s also a woman? It’s true! In an essay for Lenny Letter, the Best Coast singer takes aim at the wide variety of sexism she faces in the music industry, starting with the niggling annoyance of the undying women-in-rock question, and ending with full-blown sexual harassment. “I just want to be able to exist and make music without people asking me the question, ‘So what is it like to be a girl in a band?’” she writes, adding that she once walked out of an Q&A session after her male interviewer told her, “You really don’t see many female rock stars with guitars.” One male concert reviewer spent his column inches wondering why she wasn’t smiling more.

“Though a sexist review is certainly not the same as getting sexually harassed or assaulted over the course of a decade, it’s all part of the same continuum,” she writes. We live in a world where a man can yell at me while I’m onstage, ‘Bethany, I wanna f*ck you!’ and I’m supposed to not only stand there and take it but also digest it as a compliment to add to my fierce arsenal of sexy confidence.” (Another time, a man threw a cheeseburger at her face during a show.) Cosentino helped expose the abusive habits of an industry publicist last month, and she says the experience of standing together in solidarity with other female musicians has left her stronger: “If anything, I will deal with the sexist bullshit and have burgers thrown at my face so that I can use my voice to say ‘THIS IS NOT OK!’ and let women (and men) know that we don’t have to accept this type of behavior.”

Bethany Cosentino Pens Essay on Music-Biz Sexism