If your interest in the music industry continued after the moment the last Grammy was awarded this year, you may have read about The Recording Academy president Neil Portnow’s inflammatory advice for women in light of their lack of recognition over the past 58 years. When asked by Variety about the popular hashtag #GrammysSoMale, and how changes could be made moving forward, Portnow had this to say:

 

“It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome. I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”

 

If you’re thinking “That’s very nice of Mr. Portnow!” you’re missing the issue entirely. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, or say what’s already been stated so eloquently by a number of female artists and executives in the music industry, but it’s fucking friday, it’s fucking 2018, and it’s about fucking time men “step up,” change the way they think about the role of women in the industry, and give them the recognition they deserve.

 

At a glance, it might seem like Portnow recognizes that there’s a problem and that he needs to step up and make a change. If you look a bit closer though, you’ll find that the implications of his words speak even louder than what he presents at the surface. When Portnow says that women need to “step up,” and that it’s on “us as an industry to make the welcome mat very obvious,” we’re made to assume that women are not yet a part of the music industry, and that he is now extending his hand so that they can join him.

 

What’s worse is that Portnow’s statements are only the tip of the iceberg, and a perpetuation of an already existing culture of men suppressing the achievements and contributions of women to the entertainment industry. Out of nearly 900 Grammy Award nominees in the past six years, 90 percent have been men. Out of five artists nominated for Album of the Year this year, one artist was a woman, and she was the only artist out of the five not to be offered a solo performance slot because the Academy could not spare the time. This is just a small sample of the appalling statistics gathered since the Awards’ genesis, not even accounting for the numerous cases of women who have spoken out against men in the entertainment industry who have abused them, or the women who still have not spoken out at all.

 

Men in the industry, like Neil Portnow, don’t need to lay their “welcome mat” out, or extend their hands out to any women who want it enough. They need to recognize that women already have creativity in their hearts, and their souls. They need to recognize that women are musicians, engineers, producers, executives, and so much more, and they’re kicking ass now more than ever.