Ann Wilson Says The '80s Were The Worst Decade For 'Female Acceptance'

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

March 17, 2021

Heart reached the peak of its commercial success in the 1980s, but the MTV-era was especially hard on lead singer Ann Wilson, who recalls being hounded constantly by the music press about her appearance.

The music video revolution put musicians — especially female artists — under immense pressure to look their best at all times. Ironically, how Wilson sounded on record or in concert didn't seem to matter to many critics.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer looked back on one of her darkest periods in a recent edition of Lily Cornell Silver's Mind Wide Open interview series.

“I kept getting criticized for not looking like a model. For being real,” Wilson said. “There were a couple of reviews I remember that were just so cruel. So personal and just cruel and nasty.”

She recalled reading one review in particular that laid into her for her appearance and "didn't even mention that I sang."

"I had to go find a restroom and get into a stall and just chill because I felt I was going to go crazy. I felt it was just all too much. I couldn't take all that kind of personal criticism on such a huge public scale. When I chilled out and finally came out, I was okay, but that kind of thing started happening. That led to me having stage fright."

Wilson's anxiety became so ever-present that she "partied to relax" and entered a vicious cycle of depression and drug and alcohol abuse.

The '80s were "the lowest of the low in terms of female acceptance," Wilson surmised.

She later added that there's been a lot of forward motion in recent years, thanks to movements for body positivity and mental health awareness, "but we're still a ways from really accepting each other."

You can watch the full conversation via the video player above!

Photo: Getty Images

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