It's rare to see a respected periodical have the balls to publish a full page-long apology for an article widely panned as sexist. But L.A. Weekly's profile of Sky Ferreira by Art Tavana was so patently and boldly misogynistic that editor Andy Hermann decided it was necessary to say sorry (albeit in a vaguely half-assed way).
"You're probably wondering why I'm saying this now to all of you instead of to my computer screen on Thursday night before I scheduled Tavana's article to publish the next morning," wrote Hermann in his mea culpa. "I am not here to make excuses; instead, I will say that, in this line of work, we make judgment calls on what to say and how to say it all the time, and sometimes we get it wrong. This time, Tavana and I got it wrong."
Hermann still managed to get in a few weasel words before closing out though: "[Tavana] wasn't trying to objectify or degrade [Ferreira]," he wrote. "I (and most male journalists I know, including Tavana) approach the subject of gender politics with good intentions," he added later.
But how bad was the article leading to the apology? Pretty f*cking bad, to be honest. Tavana makes numerous references to Ferreira's breasts and sexuality, while paying little attention to the artist's actual musical output.
"She's too nasty to be anyone's schoolgirl fantasy," wrote Tavana. "She looks like an unvarnished Madonna styled by Maripol, with the vaguely mystical presence of Nico and the faux-punkness of a Sex Pistols groupie. In other words, Sky Ferreira is the most deliberately pimped-out example of a modern pop star."
"Why can't we see her sex appeal as talent as opposed to privilege? Ferreira's sex appeal, like any woman's, isn't entirely a gift from God," he continued.
Grosser still: "She looks like a more cherubic Sharon Stone, icy but also sweet, like a freshly licked lollipop."
Tavana's piece led to a handful of criticism from respected music journalists. LAist's Carman Tse, for example, claimed that the article "reduces [Ferreira] down to the object of one's desire (and this whole piece makes it abundantly clear that it appears to be simply one man's desire)."
"Pop stars do not need to exist for men to ogle them," wrote Ella Ceron of Teen Vogue. "They are not here to be objectified. Their sex appeal is their own — and they will force you to look, but don't you dare touch, especially without their permission. And if you truly can't separate the art from your own lecherous desires, maybe don't write an essay about it."
And a funny one from Julianne Escobedo Shepherd in Jezebel, "We’ve read this same piece a trillion times before, in ’80s magazines (and ’70s magazines, and ’60s magazines), wherein the writer wants us to feel shocked by his boner (so special) and that he is 'gritty' and 'frank' about it."
But hey, how's Sky feeling about the whole thing, anyway? In a lengthy and thoughful response on Twitter, Sky addressed a handful of issues: her past experiences with photographer/alleged predator Terry Richardson, the fallout from Tavana's meditation, and her thoughts about the unfair demands made on women:
Oh, Sky. How reasonable.