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The Preatures' Isabella Manfredi Has Received Hundreds Of Emails With Stories Of Harassment

She's speaking out about sexual harassment in the music industry.

22/10/2017 5:03 PM AEDT | Updated 22/10/2017 5:03 PM AEDT
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The singer asked fans to send her stories of sexual harassment in an Instagram post.

The Preatures frontwoman Isabella Manfredi has followed up on her viral Instagram post by telling the ABC that "hundreds" had replied to her with stories about their own sexual harassment.

"I gave an email out, I did the post for other girls and women to get in touch to share their story and it has been just overwhelming," the singer told the ABC, "Hundreds of emails from women, in the industry, fans, and... you know, the stories are haunting and sad but it is also affirming. You are having your reality affirmed because this is something we do not talk about."

The singer made waves when she wrote on Instagram earlier in the week that her heart had been "breaking for all the women who have had to deal with Harvey Weinstein's total degradation of their talent, drive and worth as artists and human beings".

The post stressed that this behaviour was not just isolated to the film industry -- it existed in music, too. Manfredi then shared some of the experiences she had faced over the years as a young woman in the music industry.

"There was the touchy feely US booking agent whose behaviour became so inappropriate that the boys told our manager to keep him away from me (I felt embarrassed to do this myself)."

"Or the head honcho who, when meeting the band, looked me up and down and licked his lips before turning to the guys to shake hands and talk 'business' (we were all stunned)".

1/2 My heart has been breaking for all the women who have had to deal with Harvey Weinstein's total degradation of their talent, drive and worth as artists and human beings over the course of his career. Of course this sickness is not confined to the film industry. Perhaps the greatest clarity this unfolding story has given me is some perspective on my own experiences in the music industry, mostly in, but not confined to, America. There was the touchy feely US booking agent whose behaviour became so inappropriate that the boys told our manager to keep him away from me (I felt embarrassed to do this myself). Or the head honcho who, when meeting the band, looked me up and down and licked his lips before turning to the guys to shake hands and talk 'business' (we were all stunned). Or the multiple executives at a corporate gig in Vegas who slipped their hands up my dress while taking a photo with the band. Or the New York Indie label head I had met through mutual friends in Australia who, after telling me he loved my band and songwriting, invited me to what I thought was a friendly business dinner with some publishing friends of his (He knew I had a boyfriend), and to see a new signing of his afterward. He introduced me to people and talked me up, telling everyone who I was and what I did. I felt accepted, excited; I was meeting artists I respected. I felt respected. Later, in a cab on our way to the next venue with another friend of his, he suggested we go back to my hotel and have a bath together. When I refused, politely and then firmly, he said my band was a joke. The gig we'd played at Rough Trade was mediocre. He snickered to his friend. He said other things I can't remember. What I do remember was the dreadful, sickening realisation that I was a fucking fool. #metoo

A post shared by Isabella Manfredi (@isabellamanfredi) on

At the bottom of a second post she wrote an email address -- isabellametoo@gmail.com -- and asked readers to share their stories with her.

2/2 What do these experiences do to women? Well, they tell you, not only have you suddenly become part of the clichéd female experience you were raised to believe no longer exists, you ARE the cliché. You are the woman getting your arse groped by a guy in a suit, too shocked to do anything about it, you are the woman holding an artist pass with tits on it, you are the woman whose violent ex-boyfriend is stalking you across your American tour, you are the woman doing the dishes in the studio, you are the woman nagging the guys to 'help' you, you are the woman being shushed in rehearsal, and you are the woman making yourself smaller and smaller so you don't unsettle or disappoint the men you work with, rely on, and care so much about. I've never spoken about this because I thought the only way beyond it was to keep my head down, work hard and become a respected and powerful woman in my own right. Like Jia Tolentino says in The New Yorker "This makes for a false but often convincing narrative—you are prey only when you are not good enough, and so you must not have been good enough if you were prey." I have worked hard to become untouchable. But in doing so I've also limited myself and kept a permissive silence on things that matter to me. This IS only the tip of the iceberg and I know there's more to share here. I don't want the next generation of women coming up in the music industry to face this kind of morally ambiguous, second-guess-yourself crap. It's not on. On this album cycle I've been asked, does sexism in the music industry still exist, and what does it look like? I think it's time to compile our experiences and give it a face. If you want to share your stories with me, send me an email: isabellametoo@gmail.com #metoo 💔

A post shared by Isabella Manfredi (@isabellamanfredi) on

Asked why she decided to speak out, Manfredi said that she was "inspired" by those who have stood up against figures in Hollywood.

"These are women at the top of their game, really professional, hard working, very well respected -- and it is comforting and affirming to know that women in positions like that are not immune," Manfredi said.

"We are all, in some part, part of the scene of cultural silence and that is a really sad thing, and that is when it becomes really hard to make changes."

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