Shirley Manson: ‘Social media puts so much pressure on women’

Shirley Manson is passionate about being an advocate for feminism.

The Garbage frontwoman, known for her rebellious attitude and distinctive voice, is deeply concerned about achieving equal rights for young women who are working in the music industry.

Shirley, 49, feels she has unique take on the issue, due to her years spent as the only woman in the band, and admits she’s faced various misconceptions from within the business over the years.

“I’ve never felt discriminated against by another musician, but I definitely have within the business, which has been difficult to stomach but not so difficult to counter,” she told Nylon magazine.

The star thinks the rise of the Internet and social media outlets has put a new level of scrutiny on young people which artists of her generation didn’t have to endure, particularly in relation to looks. Shirley also noted how so much is made of performers’ appearance and popularity, which may lead them to gaining a warped sense of self-worth.

“I feel really passionate about being a voice out there that is the opposite of what we’re being told by the media – that taking our clothes off on social media is empowering,” she said. “Now I’m not saying that you cannot enjoy your naked body – you absolutely should! But be aware that there will be consequences. I wish women could walk down the street naked and never be under threat, but it’s highly unlikely that will ever happen.”

Nonetheless, the Why Do You Love Me singer is grateful for the support of her fans and team, following the recent 20th anniversary of Garbage. She never anticipated the group to be such an enduring success, and feels “lucky” to be counted among a handful of women who have been able to enjoy a career in alternative rock music.

With regard to the future, Shirley believes Canadian singer Grimes, real name Claire Elise Boucher, provides a great model of a strong woman creating inspiring music.

“She, to me, is the greatest example of a new generation doing something that none of my peers did. I look at her and really believe that she’s a bona fide original. She writes and produces all of her own material. She’s a force to be reckoned with,” Shirley smiled.