Last Sunday, the Grammys took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Talented members of the music industry performed, and many were given the prestigious Grammy Award, signaling success in their musical careers. However, a pat on the back was not all that was received by winner of the Best Solo Performance, Ed Sheeran. After beating out the other nominees P!nk, Kesha, Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson, fans rushed to their phones to tweet, post and generally attack Sheeran on his win. Some were angry because they genuinely believed Ed Sheeran’s hit, “Shape of You”, was not good enough compared to the songs of his competitors. This would have been fine, because let’s face it: there are always those unsatisfied with the outcome of awards shows, stuck thinking “He was robbed!” or, “She deserved better!.” However, the anger seemed to stem from the fact that Ed Sheeran beat out all of the women in the category.
Many fans viewed this a misogynistic blow to the careers of the women running against Sheeran. I take issue with this. The Grammys award artists based on their talent and the popularity of their songs. I, for one, wasn’t surprised in the slightest that Ed Sheeran took home the Grammy for Best Solo Performance, because “Shape of You” is a great song. Most of the angry tweets coming from fans skipped over the fact that Sheeran did write a good song and he deserved to win, and they instead took issue with the people that he beat. One Twitter user wrote, “Lady Gaga wrote Million Reasons in a healing process to recover from a severe heartbreak. Kesha wrote Praying after being through her literal worst nightmare. Ed Sheeran wrote “Shape of You” about a club girl he was horny for. Congratulations Recording Academy. Thank you for this.”
Besides the fact that, in light of recent events, Ed Sheeran was most likely singing about his new fiancée and not some “club girl he was horny for,” these tweets shed light on a whole different issue. Now, I am one for promoting women and achieving equality for them in everyday life and especially in the industry, but I feel that people are taking this movement one step too far in the wrong direction. We want equality. We don’t want a reversal of what we currently have: naming women superior and men inferior. That was never what the feminist movement was looking to achieve. Saying that the women nominated with Sheeran were more qualified to win, based solely on the content of their songs and the meanings behind them, is putting them up on a pedestal.
The songs written by Kesha and Lady Gaga both told sad but beautiful stories about their personal fights and how they overcame hardship. I recognize that, but I do not believe that this means they should have awards handed to them. More angry fans tweeted things like: “lady gaga: has a strong vocal range, makes hits, strong meaning in songs, kesha: can hit amazing notes, makes bops, opened up about her ab*se, inspiring lyrics, lana del rey: can sing THREE octaves, beautiful voice, has an amazing message in songs, ed: sheeran,” and “goodnight to everyone except for people that were happy that ed sheeran won best pop vocal album at the grammys." People seem to be confusing personal backstory with true talent, so in that respect I guess I can see why they think Ed Sheeran didn’t deserve to win.
“Shape of You” does not have the same background as some of the other songs put up for the award, however it is unfair to then claim Sheeran did not deserve his award. Does every song need to be about overcoming personal hurdles? His song was well written and is always performed exceptionally well. Instead of putting down extremely talented artists who win awards that they deserve just because of the identities and genders of the people they beat, let's encourage their music and their artistry.
Kaitlyn Pierce is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.