CHVRCHES fans attended a recent concert expecting to hear amazing live music, but they also walked away with a very valuable lesson. CHVRCHES' Lauren Mayberry has spoken out against sexism before, but that didn't stop her from shutting down a random marriage proposal during the CHVRCHES show. Her reaction is so important because it addresses that inappropriate behavior masked as a compliment is still not okay.
During the show, an audience member shouted "Marry me!" toward the stage. Mayberry responded:
“Come on. What’s the hit rate on that when you go to public places and ask women you don’t know if they want to wed you? ... Does that work out well for you, sir? And also, I assume, cause you’re here, that you know about our band, and I’m very grumpy. I don’t want that s—. Thank you everybody else, sorry for shaming that one person. But if nobody tells you, you’re not going to know. And luckily for me right now, I have a microphone, and you don’t. It works in my favor at this point in the juncture.”
Mayberry's response hits on a few key elements. First, this man presumably wouldn't go up to women in other places and ask them to marry him, so why is it okay that he does it at the show? Secondly, it's an unfortunate fact, but if no one called him out on it, he might think his behavior was okay.
Even though the marriage proposal was thinly veiled as a compliment, it's a low-tier in a hierarchy of gross behavior. Sexism can be displayed in a wide range of ways, and by calling it out, Mayberry is hopefully reminding the audience that it's not okay at any level.
In a 2013 op-ed for the Guardian, Mayberry wrote about experiencing misogyny, saying:
“What I do not accept … is that it is all right for people to make comments ranging from ‘a bit sexist but generally harmless’ to openly sexually aggressive. Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over and accept defeat? I hope not.”
Earlier this year, Mayberry shared a horrifying rape threat she received, noting, "These people never learn that violence against women is unacceptable. But they also never learn that women will not be shamed and silenced and made to disappear." And in a true demonstration of practicing what she preaches, Mayberry defended herself at this recent show. It's unfortunate that she needs to keep repeating such an important message, but hopefully continuing to put a spotlight on the issue will help get through to sexist people.