Even Women in the Most Progressive Countries Are Fighting for Equality: Norway’s Live Miranda Solberg Reflects on Women’s History Month

Louien © Julia Marie Naglestad
Louien © Julia Marie Naglestad
This Women’s History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of short essays in observance and celebration of the month’s significance. Today’s submission comes from Norway’s Live Miranda Solberg, best known for her work in Oslo-based Americana/folk band Silver Lining and for her acclaimed solo artist project, Louien.
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It’s very inspiring to see how you celebrate women for an entire month in the US!

We don’t really celebrate Women’s History Month here in Norway, but we definitely make a big deal out of March 8, International Women’s Day. I’ve grown up with so many fierce women around me, and I’ve honestly been shocked to learn that some people consider women the weaker sex (!), when in fact they are often the ones carrying almost the entire load.

Norway is a very progressive country when it comes to women’s rights, but there are still so many things we need to improve.

We still earn less, are less safe in public spaces, still experience assault and harassment solely because we are women, just to name a few examples. As a feminist, I’ve always felt the need to speak up, but more often than not, have I kept my mouth shut to protect the peace and not be “too much” around men. It wasn’t really until the #metoo movement started that it became easier to talk about women’s rights with men, without it causing a weird tension in the group.

Now, it seems, both men and women are much more aware of how much work we have left to do, and how it’s everyone’s responsibility. Needless to say, being a woman in the music industry is challenging. But I have so many amazing experiences due to the women I’ve been so fortunate to collaborate with! They are band leaders, tour managers, photographers, booking agents, writers, composers, kick-ass performers, friends, and supporters. The feminism we stand for is inclusive and progressive, and it celebrates community and sisterhood.

Silver Lining © Julia Marie Naglestad
Silver Lining © Julia Marie Naglestad

I’ve always felt very safe and respected as a woman in our band.

We have the best discussions about gender norms, women in music, how to be our best selves (the list goes on and on). The men (Halvor and Bjørnar) are just as vocal about women’s rights as Stine and me, which I think is so great and also a must to push things forward. Whenever we experience something uncomfortable on the road, we talk about it and process it together. The most common thing we encounter is that Stine and I aren’t taken seriously as guitar players; men in the audience will tell us how to use our guitars properly and engineers will pretend to make the adjustments we ask for. We also get comments on what we wear, what we should and shouldn’t talk about, etc. It’s tiring, but also quite hilarious when you think about how far behind the men doing these things are. We’ll just keep on keeping on, and as most of the men we meet are up to speed, I believe in a brighter future!

We haven’t made any songs, especially about the political aspects of feminism, but we have definitely written a lot of songs about relationships, and the way we see ourselves and interact with people is a big part of feminism in my opinion. Like our latest release “Your Everything”, which is about how a woman lets “the other” (imaginary) woman come in the way of her new relationship with a man. The thought of the ex being prettier, funnier, smarter than you is terrifying, and could ruin a lot for a woman trying to bond with a new partner.  Women have been competing with each other over men for such a long time, knowing that marriage is one of the sole ways to security. This is obviously not the case in Norway anymore, but that pattern still very much exists in our minds. So many of us are unlearning that now, I believe, and as we’re becoming more independent we also learn how to love and appreciate each other. – Live Miranda Solberg

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