Zara Larsson Talks Toxic Masculinity & Double Standards In Music Industry


With Women's History Month officially kicked off and International Women's Day quickly approaching, Zara Larsson opened up about a number of topics during iHeartRadio's "Leading Ladies" series.

Larsson wrote a blog about feminism and said that she received a lot of backlash because of what she would write. She told iHeartRadio's Emily Curl, "Growing up, I used to have a blog and I used to write a lot about like feminism and stuff on there that would get a lot of, just pure hate — like pure, pure hate and especially from men. And at the time I was like, 'Whatever, like you're stupid,' and then I kind of stopped blogging because I wasn't really into that anymore. And I kinda got out of that bubble that I had been in; like the warrior bubble kind of, because I was just constantly in attack mode. Because I was getting attacked all the time. So I had to just be on it and have my shield up. And then when I didn't, when I had like a helicopter perspective over it, I can step out of it. And I didn't have the constant comments rolling out at the time. I was like, that was really hard. Like that was so exhausting for me. But, I think also I had double the support if not more. And I would never have made it through or even kept the spirit up to keep talking about stuff if I didn't have all these amazing people backing me up."

Elsewhere in the conversation, Larsson also opened up about toxic masculinity and double standards, especially when it comes to the music industry. She explained, "I think I've been very shielded from it because I started off quite young and even predators and the industry wouldn't go for a 16-year-old, even people in the industry wouldn't go for like a kid. And I was always with my mom, she was with me everywhere. I had my managers with me everywhere. I was very protected and I think I might've seen a different side of it if I started out in the industry as a 23-year-old. So I think going into a room, you want to be taken seriously because we are very capable. But sometimes I feel like we have to prove ourselves a lot more than others have to. And I've seen this now and I've worked with people who come in and are like, 'I can do this, I can do that, I can do this, I'm professional and this and this and that and that and that and that.' And everyone's like, 'Yeah, sure you are.' No one bats an eye. But if a woman walks in and says she's a professional at all of those things, people would be like, 'Sweetie, you're not.' And even if she was, I feel like people wouldn't take that seriously. So it's kind of inspiring in a way, cause I'm like, I don't know what you boys are drinking, but it's giving you confidence. Like I want that."

Zara also talked about the females who have made a big impact on her, two of those people being her mother and her manager, but she also talked about her idol, Beyoncé. She said, "I just feel like she is such a strong woman. She's been putting in the work and you can see that she is not letting anything slide without the Beyoncé approval. It's very inspiring to see how she really advocates for, for women, for black women in particular. Like what she did with Lemonade and Black Is King. It's bigger than the charts. It's bigger than the industry. It's about the culture and it's about creating a legacy. And I just thought she's just so powerful. Not only is she extremely talented in what she's doing, but the way she creates room for others. We all know she's the first lady of music. Like, I'm not unique saying this."

Larsson added, "I met her once and it was an incredible experience. It was after her show on the 'Mrs. Carter' world tour, it was in Stockholm. And she came here. I did meet her backstage after the concert, after I'd been crying my eyes out for the whole show. And, it's weird. It's so weird to see someone that you looked up to for that long period of time, and you're like, wait, she's actually real. She is a real person."

Zara is releasing her sophomore album Poster Girl on March 5th, which follows 2017's So Good. The new album showcases twelve new songs, including previously-released tracks like "Love Me Land," "Wow" and "Talk About Love" featuring Young Thug.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8, iHeartMedia is teaming up with SeeHer, the largest global movement to eliminate gender bias in marketing, advertising, media and entertainment on iHeartRadio Presents SeeHer Hear Her: Celebrating Women in Music. The first-ever virtual event will highlight three successful and influential artists in music with interviews from Cardi B, Gwen Stefani and Kelsea Ballerini. Fans can tune in on March 8 at 8pm ET via iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages (and will be available on demand through March 14).