Grimes & the Economic Enslavement of Women

Sorry for the weighty title.

Something is bothering me lately (you may have noticed) and it has taken a few days of simmering to come to a place I feel I can put it to words.

Recently, a company owned by Canadian singer Grimes, aka Claire Elise Boucher, received a grant totaling $90,525 from FACTOR – a not-for-profit designed to offer assistance to Canadian artists and musicians.

Since this became public there have been numerous headlines and criticisms launched at her and the granting body for the decision. Even the satirical news site The Beaverton jumped on the bandwagon for this one with their shitty headline – Struggling single mother awarded grant to continue pursuing her fledgling music career.

Why the criticism? Well primarily because of who Grimes is romantically involved with – the world’s second richest man and possible alien – Elon Musk. Of course there is also the sidebar that she does not live in Canada but Canadians have always been ambassadors to their homeland when abroad and this is really not an issue – we are happy to see our global citizens supported.

What it boils down to is there are some people and organizations who feel Grimes does not deserve the grant because she should be using her partner’s money and herein lies the problem.

Women have been subjected to financial and economic enslavement to men for what seems like forever. The idea that Grimes does not deserve a grant because her boyfriend has money and she should rely on him to help her out is cringy at best and truthfully horrific. It is a perspective that enables inequality and perpetuates a culture that tells women they need men to get anywhere and do anything.

Would the same outcry have occurred if it were a male artist paired with a wealthy female partner? Maybe – but this is not where we are at and the impact is not nearly the same. Where we are at is a world that continues to tell women to rely upon the resources of their male partner before they go looking for help.

This touches a nerve with me because I grew up in a household being raised by a single mum who was stripped by abusive partners of her dignity and ability to be self-sufficient. Partners who held things like access to resources – money, food and shelter – over her head to keep her in check; to keep her from leaving.

Kudos to Grimes for securing the grant and well done to FACTOR for giving it. We need to stop perpetuating this harmful narrative. We need to stop telling women they must use their partner’s resources rather than seeking to be their own, whole and successful individual because whether you believe it or not that is the message the current criticism is sending.

Now I am going to put on Miss Anthropocene (on vinyl) and celebrate Grimes for who she is – a badass Canadian woman, musician and single mum who should not be forced to live in the shadow of any one.

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