Garbage’s Shirley Manson Reveals How Rock Heavyweights Made Her ‘A Submissive Dog’


Garbage singer Shirley Manson was asked in a new Yahoo interview if she has ever been discriminated against, or in general treated poorly, because of her gender in the music industry.

“I feel like it happens to women every day, in really subtle ways. As Anna said so rightly, often you can be slow yourself to detect it, to have a clarity about what has happened. You’re not always aware of that when all the male record execs are commenting on your hairstyle. It’s only a few years later that I’m thinking, ‘What the f***? What’s my hair got to do with you? You wouldn’t be talking about a male artist in this way!’ I was an object. I was too young, and too naïve, and too vain to really detect it at the time, but now looking back, I’m like, “That was just ridiculous.” More than that, I think in business I have just been completely ignored a lot of the time by male lawyers, and managers, and business managers. Everything’s directed towards my male counterparts. They would talk to me maybe about what shoes I wanted to wear. It continues to this day.

She later said, “I’m very aware that during the very first part of my career, I played submissive dog all the time. I wouldn’t come into a work situation and say, ‘This hi-hat doesn’t sound good to me.’ I would fudge the margins and deliberately dumb myself down, use simple language and try not to be threatening. I would never take ownership over any directive. I knew that if I didn’t act like a submissive dog, I wouldn’t get what I wanted. Men don’t have to do that; women continue to have to do that often. You’ll see it in a lot of female execs. They’re very fun, and energetic. I feel that that’s methodology to get what they want, but men can be as grumpy and unpleasant as they wish and nobody has a word to say about it. If a woman acts that way, she’s a c***, literally. She’s a “bossy c***.”