Lorde, 16, has amazing thoughts about feminism & ‘Photoshop culture’

This week, I found out that pop sensation Lorde is a mere 16 years old. I knew she was young, but I thought she was maybe 19 or 20 years old. 16!!! In case you’re an old fart, Lorde has that hit single “Royals” which has been everywhere the past few months – you can see the video here. It’s a wonderful song, especially considering she’s ONLY 16. Lorde’s real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, and she turns 17 years old next month. Lorde/Ella covers the new issue of Metro Magazine and the interview is… amazing. She’s smart. It’s not precocious, she’s just smart and cool and interesting. I realize that I’m an adult woman fan-girling a teenage pop prodigy but seriously, this young woman is AMAZING. There are two big quotes from the interview (which you can read here):

Lorde on feminism: “I think women who say, ‘No, I’m not a feminist — I love men,’ I think that is just… You don’t know what it means. You think it means that, ‘I don’t shave under my arms, I burn my bras. F–k men!’ How could you be so uneducated, and so unwilling to learn about something which is so important to you?”

On Taylor Swift: “Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls. ‘I’m never going to be like Taylor Swift, why can’t I be as pretty as Lorde?’ That’s f—— bullshit.”

[From Metro Mag]

Ooooh, MARRY ME. “How could you be so uneducated, and so unwilling to learn about something which is so important to you?” BLESS YOU. She also shades anyone who compares her to Lana del Rey – apparently, she doesn’t care for Lana because Lana sings almost exclusively about boys and relationship stuff and Lorde wants her music to be about much more than that. As for the Swifty “shade” – Lorde was asked about it by some of her fans, and she went on her Tumblr to explain herself:

sure! i think i cocked that up a bit and what i said wasn’t put in context also. what i meant was: there’s a lot of importance placed on physical perfection in this industry, and i wish my favourite stars didn’t look perfect because i think fans (me included) have these feelings of worthlessness, like they’ll never be as pretty/talented/whatever, as a result of this intense photoshop culture and the endless strive for perfection. ts was the first person i thought of, which i regret. she happens to be good looking, but i think she actually uses her other imperfections in an incredibly powerful and relatable way. taylor swift has a very unique vision, which i admire. i think somewhere along the line also there was a misquote where people got the impression i thought writing about love was shameful. i don’t! i just haven’t found a way of doing it which is powerful and innovative, which is why i don’t.

ps. i am very very new to this whole thing. i will probably never be the kind of role model for my fans that ts is for hers. i admire her very much for this reason. basically, this is an apology for not thinking too hard before i speak. peace.

[From Lorde’s Tumblr]

Sure. I’m completely sold on her explanation/clarification. I think it’s amazing that a teenage pop artist is talking openly about “photoshop culture” and the responsibility to show your young, impressionable fans your flaws. Lorde is my new favorite.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet and Metro.

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97 Responses to “Lorde, 16, has amazing thoughts about feminism & ‘Photoshop culture’”

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  1. T.fanty says:

    Wow. That’s really impressive. I thought the title was being sarcastic, but that’s some hella smart language coming from a teenager. Swifty should take note.

    • Allons-y Alonso says:

      She recently filled in for Frank Ocean at The Splendour in the Grass Festival over here. I caught her set live on the radio and she was phenomenal. I highly recommend her album ‘Pure Heroin’. It came out nearly 2 weeks ago in Aus

    • Anna says:

      I think it’s sad that she was made(?) to apologize due to the fear/threat of Wrath of the Swifties. Honestly, she that shade wasnt even real shade. I absolutely understood what she means. But no, TS is too big a freakin deal, MUST NOT PISS OFF!!!

    • Kim says:

      I like her comment about feminism but its un-feminist and hypocritical of her to comment on other females like she did Taylor Swift, Lana Del Ray, etc. Swift, Del Ray and her are different and thats ok. Women should celebrate each others differences, regardless if its how the sing, dress, what car they ride in, etc. not bag on each other. Women (and men) need to be self empowered not empowered by celebs/athletes/singers and the likes. I get that many kids role models are these people but that in and of itself is a problem. I appreciate when celebs act responsible & realize they are role models but kids need to be taught to self respect, not to get their self worth from immitating famous people.

      • Missykittens says:

        I strongly disagree that she was being “un-feminist” and “hypocritical” by insulting other women. Being feminist has nothing to do with that.

        Being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to support other women 100%, even when you don’t agree with what they are doing, just like, it doesn’t mean that you have to hate men.

        Being feminist is simply a belief in the rights of women. There is no rule book stating that you must do this, or not do that, in order to be a feminist. There is only one thing that you have to do: believe in women’s rights.

        Feminism, when it comes down to it, is really a human rights issue. Giving or receiving insults is nothing in the context of human rights…

  2. Anna says:

    Two thumbs up for her. But I am still not into the musical stylings of ‘Royals.’

  3. Ella says:

    Yayyyy Lorde, I love her EP and sooo glad to hear she’s smart & opinionated too.

    • V4Real says:

      For some reason her interview reminds me of something Avril Levine would say. Boo you’re just starting out in the business wait until you’re a household name before throwing your subtle shade. She said something great about feminism but I’m not that impressed; sounds rehearsed. She talks about being against photoshop but her pic on the cover of Metro looks photoshopped.

      I love her song Royal and her singing voice is really cool.

    • Nono says:

      She’s not any smarter than the average privileged teenager who got to go to an elitist private school.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        I’m not sure I’m reading your comment correctly, Nono. Are you shading being smart by saying it’s only for the wealthy and the proletariat need not apply?

        Plenty of articulate, intelligent young women have a love of reading that’s inculcated at a young age simply by their parents reading to them, limiting their television/internet, and by having access to books.

      • Nono says:


        I’m saying that considering her background, these “revelations” of her “amazing” intellect are unimpressive. If this were a girl who grew up in an impoverished neighbourhood, I’d be somewhat impressed. Even then, I’d probably roll my eyes at the parroting of feminist rhetoric. (Then again, what to expect of a teenager?)

        She’s had the best teachers and is being brought up in an environment most conducive to learning. Most people don’t have that leg up. It’s not surprising at all that she’s moderately articulate and knowledgeable. If anything, I’d have expected a bit more of her.

      • lafrenchy says:

        @nono: and so?

        Smart is smart. and God she is!

      • V4Real says:

        I know I might ruffle a few feathers here but she’s almost 17. I would hope she has learned something by now. Are we to believe that there aren’t any smart teens out there? There are plenty of highly intelligent teens they’re just not in the entertainment field. This reminds me of the mothers who think they have the smartest toddler in the world because their toddler formed a complete sentence or used a word that’s not expected of them at their age.

        What did Lorde say that would lead people to believe that she’s smarter than the average teen? Did someone get a look at her GPA? You don’t need to be Einstein to say something intelligent. Now if she was saying this at the age of 8 I might buy into the “she’s so smart.”

        Lastly if you’re going to speak out against photoshop it’s probably not a good idea to use a photoshopped pic of yourself like on the cover of Metro. How smart is that? ;)

        However I do enjoy her music a bit.

      • Nono says:


        Yes, yes, yes, exactly.

      • lafrenchy says:


        Who said smarter? Just smart, that’s why that’s what Kaiser was inducing, just that she is smart, not smarter that other teens.

        Same for me even if she has a privileged background and a good PR team, she is smart nobody can deny that a 16 yrs girl that is as mature and as articulate as she appears in interviews IS smart. No smarter BUT smart. And that’s just pleasant to read.

      • Aotearovian says:

        @Nono: Takapuna Grammar isn’t an “elitist” (whatever that means) private school. It’s public, government-funded. It’s a good school – my dad went there – and in what is a pretty wealthy part of Auckland these days, but she’s far from a typical product of it.

        Let’s face it, she hasn’t been attending for a while, and she comes across to me as an autodidact and an independent thinker.

        I like her, and there aren’t many Kiwis who are well-known overseas, so I’m happy that those of us who are are like her, Bret and Jemaine, Taika Waititi and so on. They’re good ambassadors.

      • Hakura says:

        @NoNo – But does the fact that she was born into privilege, & educated w/an advantage (likely a decision by her parents), nulify anything valid or intelligent she has to say?

        I don’t know anything about her, never heard of her until now (& haven listened to the music yet), but just as I don’t think a disadvantaged person’s thoughts & opinions should be disregarded, I feel the same about those on the other end of the spectrum. If it sounded pretentious, that would be different, Of course.

  4. Sixer says:

    Would it be completely crass to say that Swifty looks great in that last photo?

    (Like what this girl has said, obv.)

    • T.fanty says:

      Possibility, but my first thought was “man she’s either really pretty or way photoshopped” when I saw the main pic of Lorde.

    • V4Real says:

      @ Lafrenchy

      Oh ok so she’s smart because she can articulate? There are many teens who can accomplish that while not being as educated as Lorde. What did she say in this interview that was so amazing? She explained what she meant on Twitter about Swift but she had time to rehearse her what seems to be a small retraction of her previous statement. It’s print and I’m sure her PR team rehearsed the hell out of her.

      I’m not a fan of Swift but why throw shade at someone. Is it because you’re trying to become a household name and by mentioning a much more popular artist would help you accomplish that goal. Most people on C/B probably didn’t know who she was until reading this post and off to Google they went. This is nothing more than a PR move. If she was so smart she could say what she meant without name dropping other singers. She’s smart because she can articulate is like saying a mentally challenged person is smart because they can talk. Saying someone is smart because they are 16 and can articulate is a backhanded compliment if you think about it.

      And I will say this again, don’t rag on something that you’re doing yourself. But I guess her PR team missed the photoshopped photo. If she continues it won’t be long before the same people who are praising her intelligence start saying she’s a try-hard who’s trying to make herself seems smater than she is. They did it with my boy Hiddles.

      • cs says:

        I happen to like Taylor but I have noticed lately a lot of less popular artists are now using her name to get media attention. Taylor’s become the Angelina and Brad of the music industry.
        I don’t know who this girl is but her PR should know better, you don’t shade someone who’s been in the business much longer than you have, sold 100X more records and won every major music industry award.
        Make your point without shaming others.

  5. blue marie says:

    She seems to have her head screwed on right, good for her.

    I can never remember her song until it’s on the radio though. I know her song, but until I hear it I draw a blank. Also I’m going to need to throw “cocked that up a bit” into my work conversation today.

  6. Mika says:

    I was never that mature when I was 16!

  7. Anna says:

    The best thing a young female celebrity has said about feminism in a very long time!

  8. Andrea says:

    Extremely smart young woman and so wise beyond her years. Amazing that she knows more about feminism than many 30 year old women. Also, sad that our culture has brainwashed and attacked feminism for so long that so many women are so uneducated about what it actually means and wind up contributing to the very culture that oppresses them.

    • Nono says:

      Wow, was this article condescending. How do feminists not realise how immature they sound when they say, “You just don’t get it”? There are plenty of women who know what feminism is about and still disagree with it for a variety of reasons.

      I’m an egalitarian instead of a feminist because of stuff like this:



      (^ The video’s from the 1980s. The wage gap is STILL making the rounds in feminist circles.)




      I can keep going.

      Academic and political feminists are some of the most dishonest people you’ll ever meet.

      I get it perfectly, thanks. It’s a really nice ideology, but it’s misguided. Feminism is premised on the idea that men’s problems will automatically resolve themselves when women attain parity with them; but if this were true, men would be able to wear dresses by now without reproach, for example.

      Too, the movement ignores problems in its own ranks and just brushes over lies and fabrications. It’s controlled by privileged white women in ivory towers of academia and politics who say things like “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.” (Hilary Clinton!)

      So, no, thanks, I’ll stick to supporting both genders in whatever problems may be specific to them, instead of aligning myself with something that’s become so corrupt.

      • Zorbitor says:

        Feminist politics isn’t about equality – it’s about perks, privileges, quotas, and power

      • Nono says:


        There are plenty of women who, because they don’t bother to actually educate themselves about the issues and simply take other people’s word for it, believe that feminism really is the best way toward equality. And those “nice” feminists, a.k.a. useful idiots, are used by the radfems to push for discriminatory legislation and privileges for women.

      • Kaya says:

        Look, no matter who says anything about feminism, it doesn’t make it bad. Feminism is about equality for ALL. And justice. And if women are being treated badly, which they are, simply for being women, then there needs to be special laws to protect them.

        However, not all laws are properly written, not all so-called feminists follow the real idea behind equality, not all people label others correctly. Just because someone screams that men suck and claims to be a feminist doesn’t make them a feminist. Don’t blame feminism. Blame the people who claim to follow it, without realizing what it is.

        You do realize that the reason you’re sitting here having the liberty to use a computer and type away your opinions is because you were surrounded by someone or a group of people who were feminist. Otherwise, even this would have been taken away from you.

      • V4Real says:

        @Kaya you do realize that what you said to Nono about being able to sit at a PC is because of feminist women isn’t entirely true. Women have these rights largely because of The Civil Rights Movement. Once that was pushed through it made the government take a closer look at all the other wrongs. Why do you think they include women in the minority category even though in ratio we out number the men?

      • Missykittens says:

        Oh, Nono. You are very misguided.

        Even if there is no pay gap, that does not mean that there is no place for feminism. Pay gaps are not the only concern of feminists. The fact of the matter is, our world has been set up by white men, for white men. Although we are all working hard to change conditions, we are not there yet. Oppression is still evident in [australian] legal systems and healthcare, for instance.

        “Feminism is premised on the idea that men’s problems will automatically resolve themselves when women attain parity with them” – What are you talking about? Feminism has nothing to do with men in the way that you are suggesting. Feminism is about the rights of women to choose the way that they live their lives, without being subjected to oppression by men. IE voting rights, the right to marry who she chooses and not be treated like property, the right to equal pay for equal work, the right to not be raped and then blamed for it etc.
        There is no suggestion that men will stop experiencing problems simply because women have gained equal status. In fact, considering that men [throughout history] have been the very reason why women were oppressed in the first place, i’m sure than men’s problems will increase if women gain equal status. (Just being snarky but in a way it is true).

        “but if this were true, men would be able to wear dresses by now without reproach, for example.” LOL. This one takes the cake. Do you think that is all that men want – to wear dresses without being teased?

        You are basing your whole outlook about the rights of women on a youtube video from the 80s and a comment from Hilary Clinton… You should broaden your horizons.

      • Ange says:

        Oh missykittens, marry me because that was PERFECT.

    • lafrenchy says:


      Perfectly well and brilliantly said!

      Feminism is just about seeking out equality.

      LOL at the video older than MY birth date!LOL

    • Kaya says:

      @V4Real I’m not from the US, and neither is every single person on this thread. But I’m not talking about this anyway. I’m referring to girls and women I know in real life who are not allowed to use computers or technology by their families, society, schools, whatever. There are people out there actually living this. Feminism isn’t just a political movement; it’s an ideology that women should not be stopped from doing something just because they’re women. So it applies everywhere, not just the government.

  9. Erinn says:

    I’d be a lot more willing to give her credit if her photoshoot image wasn’t photoshopped like crazy.

    I do appreciate the general thoughts though. Very smart for 16.

  10. jinni says:

    My only problem with her is that she’s just come on the scene and already starting fights/ throwing shade at all of these more established artist. Which just looks like a PR move to get her more notoriety and for people to start associating her name and face with the song of hers. and for people to start googling her. It’s seems so calculating. So, I’m not going to start worshiping the ground she walks on just because she said the right thing about feminism.

    • Lisa says:

      I think it’s the opposite–she’s a sixteen year old girl (from New Zealand, I think) who got really big in America very quickly, and she doesn’t know how to handle herself yet and she probably isn’t listening to PR people, if she has any. She sounds like any other girl her age who’s learned a little about feminism to me.

      But I am worried she’s going to make too many enemies. Remember when Azealia Banks was just making it big? I was rooting for her as hard as anybody but she’s done nothing but start Twitter feuds and push back her album for the past few months and lost the chance to be on a Lady Gaga track because of her attitude.

    • crab says:

      I don’t think she’s throwing shade on the more established artists, I just think she giving her opinion on them just like we do everyday on this blog! Only difference is no one has ever heard of us! :)

  11. Leah says:

    She is really smart, i love what she says about feminism and i love her song.

  12. Mia4S says:

    Wow, spot on. The word “feminist” has been stolen by a conservative agenda and any woman who allows it should be called out too. I am a feminist. I wear a bra (and pretty, frilly dresses sometimes), I love and sleep with men, AND I believe I should have the same opportunities as men in the world, workplace and home. There…feminist…now that wasn’t so scary was it?

    • Cel says:

      I agree with you but I’d also say that radicals on both sides have screwed up the public’s perspective of feminism. That seems to be the case with most things, unfortunately.

      • Malificent says:

        Absolutely. The term has definitely been co-opted by conservative factions. But there are also feminist groups and individuals who have fed the stereotypes created by the far right.

        And also a lot people who don’t understand feminism’s historical roots in a time (not too long ago) when the average woman had limited life choices. Hopefully, one day feminism will become extinct — not because it didn’t serve a purpose — but because it will go without saying that every individual will have an opportunity to live up to their own potential regardless of gender.

      • Nono says:

        Unfortunately, it’s the radical feminists that run the movement.

        NOW has been responsible for most of the discrimination against men in the legal system that exists today, from skewed family law- which prejudices fathers in custody cases and puts them in prison if they can’t pay child support- to biased DV statutes that assume men are always the primary aggressor.

    • Nono says:

      People don’t criticise (most) feminists for being man-hating, saggy-titted, hirsuted hags, they criticise them because a lot of feminists are ignorant and anti-intellectual and pay lip service to wanting equality while really only about making efforts on behalf of women.

      I’m aware there are feminists who aren’t like that, but they’re not the one’s running the show and doing the harm.

    • lafrenchy says:


      This is not the first hread where I wanted to ask you: are you a woman? Seriously?

      Because oddly you always take it (in your words) from the male perspective, or the male changing position, or saying male “wearing dresses” (in a very dismissive way as it would be a great lowering for them).
      And that’s super odd that as a woman you always consider first a male perspective. Very Odd…

      I already wanted to ask you that on the Patrick Steward last thread, when you suggested that his wife could be happy without a proper sexual life (no woman in her right mind would picture such a sad life).

      I also would like to add that feminism is looking for equality (and we, women, we are far from it)

      I don’t know in the US but in my country it’s not a bad word as it’s a personal value and conviction, women are not ashamed to say they are feminists. And people do not take the radical ones as the embodiement of feminism.



      Totally and absolutely how I feel!

  13. YoYo says:

    Finally a female popstar with brains. Move over Taylor, Katy and Rihanna.

  14. Eleonor says:

    Now this girls is one of the most articulated teen agers popstar I’ve ever seen! I am totally going to listen to her music now.

  15. Natasha says:

    I am obsessed with this girl! Amazing voice, smart and still a teenager. Hopefully she’s got a long career ahead of her and doesn’t change into a typical pop star

  16. Lucy Goosey says:

    I love hearing young women say intelligent and insightful things. Partly because it is such a rarity these days!

    Disappointingly, most of the misogynistic comments I hear these days do not come from men. They come from women and are being aimed at other women.

  17. Lila says:

    I hate comments like this. A huge part of modern feminism is allowing women to be and think whatever they want without judgment. So she can save the shade about those who disagree with her. Condescending feminists like this are no more right than the women who recoil from the label.

    Overall she sounds very 16 to me. An educated 16 but 16 nonetheless. The idea that at 16 she knows the real problems in the industry and women at large. I do appreciate that she is a teen pop star who is allowed opinions but I don’t find the girl herself that special.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      “A huge part of modern feminism is allowing women to be and think whatever they want without judgment.”

      …which should extend to include how Lorde defines feminism as well, no?

      Seems a bit hypocritical to condemn one’s comments as “judgmental” while simultaneously judging them on what was expressed as an opinion, not fact.

    • Lisa says:

      But there’s no rule that says all women should like and support each other JUST because they’re women. There shouldn’t be, anyway. You’re allowed to dislike someone and state it without turning in your feminist card. Saying that she should save the shade is taking away the agency that we’re supposed to be for, not against.

  18. Lucy says:

    Great to finally see her getting some deserved attention in here!!! And to think so many people call her the teen Lana Del Rey…ugh. Go Lorde!!!

  19. Naddie says:

    Never heard about this girl, she seems lovely, but I have to disagree with her about Taylor Swift: if there’s something unique about her, she’s keeping to herself.

  20. mytbean says:

    I’m always annoyed at this black and white blame game regarding Photoshop for body image issues. It makes me think about the various cases of kids crawling down into sewers after having seen the Ninja Turtles movie. Did we blame Hollywood for its convincing cgi? Or did we blame parents for not educating their kids about reality vs. fantasy?

    Photoshop is a way to create a fantasy world that we WANT. If you don’t believe it then take the case of Bridget Magazine as an example. Initially the magazine, in response to its readers’ cries of insecurity and frustration over scrawny and shopped models made the decision to replace their models with “real” women and promised to never enhance the images.

    But magazine sales FELL. People didn’t want to look at a magazine full of what they see every day. And the publication still received complaints. Only now they were from readers upset that these “real” women were still beautiful without Photoshop thus making them feel even worse!

    It’s not the images on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside that’s screwing us up.

    • Lisa says:

      It’d be smarter if people criticized Photoshop for how ridiculous it is, like making people poreless, veinless creatures. PS has gotten to the point where it doesn’t even try to look realistic, so I think that saying it creates an unrealistic image is not the best argument anymore.

  21. Lisa says:

    Also, Taylor Swift is annoying because she simply has no talent.

  22. kim says:

    Love her candor…besides Taylor is so effing loppy looking it’s hilarious to watch her dance! When I’m down I’ll youtube taylor swift dancing and I always bust up!

  23. Dommy Dearest says:

    This is Madonna’s daughter, right?

  24. I Choose Me says:

    I really like her comments but had no idea who this girl is before today. I guess I’m way behind in my pop culture news. Anyway, she does sound smart and grounded. *Off to YouTube.*

  25. Denise says:

    Ahhhhh……there’s hope yet. She’s a special one.

  26. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    I’m not a big fan of her music (not my style/taste), but I feel very proud of my fellow talented Kiwi (she is from New Zealand and YAY! she CAN NOT be claimed by the Aussies lol ;) ).
    She is doing really well so far, for such a young talent. And it’s also pretty amazing to break into the US market at all- especially if you are from a small country at the bottom of the world!

  27. ari says:

    Lorde has stated that she is a Lana fan. Her point was that she doesn’t think Lana’s message of “I’m nothing without you,” is health for young girls.

    • lol says:

      Yeah she did say it. However the problem is Lana’s target group was/is supposed to be women in their 20′s not teens or tweens. Lana is 27 herself. I dont care for Lana’s music personally but its a shame everything has to be geared for young people.

  28. Amy says:

    I’ve seen a couple of Lorde interviews and she admits that while she was writing her upcoming album (was it already released?), she was listening to a lot of Lana del Rey. They seem to have similar sounds from what I can tell but I think Lorde is the better singer. I love her song Royals and Tennis Courts, it’s just so different from the Katy Perry/Rihanna/Lady Gaga/Kesha songs currently on the radio.

    There are some videos on Youtube of her singing at a concert in NYC and when she sings the lines in Tennis Courts “Soon I’ll be getting on my first plane” the crowd goes wild and cheers because she had never left NZ until recently. She gets all embarrassed and looks really touched by the audience’s reaction, it was really cute to watch!

  29. andrea says:

    1. You guys overanalyze everything. She said something cool and her album is great. She (and her pr team? I dont know and dont care) get a gold star from me cause I’d rather she market herself like she’s doing it than getting another Miley. Whichever way its said it is goid for girls of the younger generation to buzz about feminism and empowerment. What would you rather she had done or spoken about?

    2. Lorde> Miley