• Natalia Galicza

Wiping the Lens on the Lana Drama

Is everyone picking fights since Gemini season started, or is it just Lana Del Rey?


(Lana Del Rey/Instagram)


Is everyone picking fights since Gemini season started, or is it just Lana Del Rey?


On May 21, Lana posted a lengthy rant on her Instagram that addressed how she wanted to pursue her music without critics saying she glamorizes abuse.


Even lifelong fans were upset by parts of (or all of!) the message that seemed ignorant and offensive. In the days that followed, Lana doubled down on her position, releasing several more posts and videos attempting to explain her first post and reply to the online outrage. She claims that her words were misconstrued (while repeating them) and that the issue lies more with the reader who finds the offensive connotation.


Let's examine those messages then.


In the original Instagram post, Lana mainly uses successful women artists of color as examples before delving into her grievances.


She writes, “Now that Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyonce have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f—ing, cheating, etc, can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money – or whatever I want – without being crucified or saying that I’m glamorizing abuse?”


What's wrong with this image?


  1. Lana inherently belittles the content of the artists she named with the dismissiveness and judgmental tone of (“wearing no clothes, f—ing, cheating, etc).

  2. She implies that she can't succeed because women who have different styles and messages are succeeding. How does that have anything to do with you? Wouldn't it be worse if people who were like you were succeeding and you weren't?

  3. She asks if she can please go back to singing about “being embodied,” as if anyone ever really stopped her.



If Lana solely wanted to point out her frustration with claims that her music glamorizes abuse, she could have easily done so without explicitly listing the names of artists, mostly black women and women of color, to note.


In one of her many responses through her Instagram story and post comments she says they’re “some of her favorite singers… her favorite f—ing people.” But if that were the case why even bring them up at your moment of frustration? What was the need, really?


It’s not to say that Lana did not have a point of her own. Everyone does deserve control of their own story. But it goes without saying that her point of privilege must be recognized, especially when the original post stated that there “has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like [her].”


As a successful straight white woman, feminism has historically always had a place for her. White feminism isn’t something that’s even gotten close to being swept away with time. Even when it is not intentional, disillusionment to the blatant privileges and differences in experiences with many of the names she called out is still systemically harmful. Remaining obtuse about the fact that the hurdles in the music industry are not the same for all women does not invalidate its truth.


Her most recent release, Norman Fucking Rockwell, reached the number one spot on the Billboards charts on September 14, 2019. Ongoing album success coupled with an estimated net worth of $14 billion points to the notion that her success hasn’t necessarily dwindled. However, she still had quite a bit to say about the industry not having a place for her.


Even when it is not intentional, disillusionment to the blatant privileges and differences in experiences with many of the names she called out is still systemically harmful.

Even though she stated "when I say ‘women who look like me’ I didn’t mean white like me...," that doesn’t eradicate the fact that her comments were inconsiderate of an experience that didn’t resemble hers.


It was not only Lana’s inability to clearly acknowledge the lens through which she navigates this situation, tainted by her privilege, but it was the aggression in her response. She unwaveringly defended her stance and even got verbally violent in the comments of her posts telling fans to “god bless and f— off if you don’t like the post.”


It’s no wonder such fiery responses were created in response to this vent session gone wrong.


Lana claimed the purpose behind her outcry was about "the need for fragility in the feminist movement," which may be valid but still comes off as nonsensical in the context of her posts.


Women have almost always been seen as fragile. There should be space in our collective culture to allow women the room to feel freely and showcase emotion, but there should also be room for the women who are tired of fragility. For the women who find empowerment in their words and bodies, for the women who sometimes want to make music about having fun, for the women who were called out by Lana as part of her white feminist faux pas.


There also isn't much fragility in tearing other women down.




In an Instagram video response, Lana stated that "the difference is, when I get on the pole, people call me a whore, but when [FKA] Twigs gets on the pole, it's art." The unfortunate truth is that the world we live in is still obsessed with simultaneously sexualizing women for non-sexual acts and demonizing women for reclaiming their sexuality.


FKA Twigs, taking pride in dance choreography, is a pioneer in helping legitimize pole dancing for what it is — an artful form of physical expression. In helping share exposure on the art of pole dancing, FKA Twigs is inherently advocating for the right of all pole dancers to practice, yet her name was still defiantly dropped for the sake of catalyzing comparison.


If Lana solely wanted to point out her frustration with claims that her music glamorizes abuse, she could have easily done so without explicitly listing the names of artists, mostly black women and women of color, to note.

In the heat of all her tongue lashing, it went almost unnoticed that she had set a release date for her new album, Chem Trails Over The Country Club, on September 5. She also made sure to mention that she would be elaborating on her incendiary thoughts and feelings in her two upcoming books of poetry.


The most upsetting part of this was her demonstrated unwillingness to admit that she may have been blind to how some of her comments could come off as hurtful and ignorant. Although things happen and people learn and grow with time, it is still important to ruminate on why her message came off the way it did. In doing so we are able to wipe away the biases that block us from all seeing clearly through the same lens.

Natalia Galicza is a contributing writer for Rowdy Magazine. You can find some of her past work in Rowdy Magazine Vol. III, "A Sensible Guide To Raising Hell."