• Hithesh Jain

Grammy Gender Representation in The Grammys

Updated: Nov 8


Ishika Arvindani

3rd November 2020


Every artist and every fandom across the globe are holding their breaths about to burst into every emotion possible by just a few words that are being unleashed very soon. Pandemic has not stopped the Grammys and thankfully so, any glimpse of happiness is a sight for sore eyes right now. On November 24, 2020 during an hour-long live stream beginning at approximately 10 pm IST, 63rd Grammy Award nominees will be announced.


(Source- Grammys)


One look at the previous history-defining moments at music's arguably biggest night brings a wave of bittersweet as Grammy has been failing to maintain a fairground for all genders. The age-old male supremacy has found its way into ruin many deserving dreams.


2012 saw the number of categories fall from 109 to 78 with several categories discontinued, merged, or renamed. The categories were merged to remove gender distinctions. Some of these categories are ‘Best Female Pop’, ‘Country’, and ‘R&B’. This decision raised concerns that the already uneven ground is going to get even worse with male-biased decisions. The debate has been getting heated up with every passing year as the numbers of leading female artists in the winning categories are only getting weaker.


The Gender distinct categories were placed to combat discrimination in the first place. Even though the counter-argument to this could be the change in times, the battle against misogyny is still going strong but the steps taken in the right direction may not be enough to outrun the historical antagonist.


The categories were also merged to increase competition. Women have found a decent footing in this scenario with thirty-eight per cent of the songs nominated for ‘Best Country Solo Performance’ in the past five years have been sung by women. Sixty per cent of the nominations for ‘R&B performance’ are also songs sung by a solo female artist. A male/female duet or by a female-fronted group and 68 per cent of nominations for ‘Best Pop Solo Performance’ have gone to women.


In 2018 with strong support for the Time's Up and #MeToo movement on the show, the lack of women in the main categories did not go unnoticed. Alessia Cara was the only female artist to find lead in any major category, winning ‘Best New Artist’, with only 17 awards out of 86 going to women or female-fronted bands.


Women have time and again tried to encourage each other from the stage but the soul-crushing statistics seem to sing other stories. Even after a female artist wins an award, she is more often than not dragged into negative narratives, one such example is Taylor Swift. After she won Album of the year for 1989, her second time winning the award, she was dragged down for winning over Kendrick Lamar, The Weekend, Chris Stapleton, and Alabama Shakes. Though some genuinely preferred the competing nominee's work and wanted their favorite to win, others used Taylor's gender as holy water against her.

The awards will be broadcast on CBS, Sun., January 31, 2020 at 6:30 am IST. One can only hope to see positive steps towards gender equality during the 63rd Grammy Awards.

(Sources- The Verge, Buzzfeed News)

Edited by- Hithesh Jain

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