Why Maren Morris 'Never' Regrets Clapping Back at Online Trolls and Body Shamers: 'They're Asking for It'
The singer gets candid in a new interview with Playboy about calling out haters, body confidence and what she has learned from her marriage
From her music to her everyday life, Maren Morris will always be unapologetically herself.
In a new interview with Playboy, the outspoken singer gets candid about why she’s not afraid to clap back at online trolls and body shamers despite there being some repercussions, like losing followers on social media.
“Every time I’ve spoken up or clapped back at some troll, it has been very much me,” Morris, 29, told the magazine in an interview with writer Andrea Domanick released on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t go back on any of it, because they deserved it. Body shamers? They’re asking for it. I would never regret calling them out.”
The Grammy-winner then recalled how she lost “probably 5,000 followers” after posting a picture of Parkland shooting survivor Emma González to her social media.
“To not be able to share an opinion, or to lose fans and ticket sales over it, is so mind-boggling to me, because it’s an American right — a human right — to be able to voice your opinion,” she said. “Of course, any fan has the choice to quit buying your music or listening to it. But as a tax-paying citizen, I should be allowed to speak up when I’m passionate about something. It’s always to increase awareness. It’s to let my fans know where I stand.”
Though Morris recognizes that “not many country artists speak up,” she hopes that sharing her opinions will show her fans: “This is where I stand, this is what I want, this is the world I want my kids to live in.”
“I don’t want to be one of those head-in-the-sand artists who’s only worried about keeping the money in my pocket,” she said. “I get only one life here, and if I’m going to be a musician and do this thing I’ve been given a gift for, I would like people to know what I believe in.”
As to what actually does scare her, Morris said how “fed up” she is with “certain norms.”
“I could just shut up and sing, keep my head down, not talk about politics or sexuality in my songs,” she explained. “But I swear quite a bit. I talk openly about drinking. I’m learning things about myself that are starting to freak me out, in a good way. I’m growing up, and that doesn’t necessarily mean becoming more mature or wiser or buttoning things up a bit more. Sometimes it’s letting it all be a little more freewheeling.”
“For example, my husband is very much a feminist, and I’ve never really done anything that’s freaked him out,” she said. “He has always been accepting. Even with Playboy, he was like, ‘That’s really hot.’ It’s awesome to be with somebody who is an equal and isn’t trying to make you feel like a skank because you’re proud of your body — someone who’s not watering down your ideologies for patriarchal and bulls— standards that women in country music have been locked into for the past several decades.”
In the years following the success of her debut album Hero, which was released in 2016, Morris said she started opening up more to her fans thanks to, in part, her relationship. Then in March, she released her deeply personal follow-up, GIRL.
“I’ve learned it’s okay to not be a badass all the time,” she said of the transition between the two albums. “Over the past few years, as I wrote GIRL, I learned that it’s not a weakness to be vulnerable with somebody else, to share all your light and your darkness with them, to trust that they won’t trample your heart or judge you. That was such a learning curve for me, because I used to think if you were vulnerable and admitted how much you needed someone, you were being submissive. That’s so far from the case. Saying I need my husband isn’t me submitting to his power. It’s me being independent and saying, ‘Yeah, I need your f—ing time right now.”
“It’s healthy to tell someone that,” she continued. “It’s not co-dependent; it’s a gift. It takes strength. It takes balls. My acceptance of that felt like, ‘Wow, this is some woman s—.’ There’s strength in the femininity of needing someone but also in having the confidence to ask for it.”
When asked whether she was concerned about posing topless for Playboy, Morris said: “I’m speaking such a loud, noisy concept of what it means to be a woman in the music industry right now.”
“This feels like I’m amplifying a message I’ve been passionate about since the beginning that has intensified in the past year,” she added. “I feel I’ve already challenged a lot of sexual norms. It’s funny, because it’s not that risqué in the grand scheme of things. Even the cover of GIRL is slightly risqué, but it feels like me — throwback but a little modern.”
Morris said she “knew it would piss some people off” by wearing a bra top on her GIRL album cover, but that she’s ultimately proud of the decision.
“I remember when choosing GIRL’s cover, I was like, ‘Yeah, I have this body; I’m going to put it on the cover!'” she said. “I felt really sexy because I knew I was going to get flak for it, from these little titties, but I’m definitely owning it. I like when I scare the absolute s— out of myself like that. That’s when I feel sexy. That’s what gets me off.”
And her parting words for readers in regards to sex and sexuality?
“Lingerie is supremely overrated and unnecessary,” she said. “Also, I would say that if you’re in a relationship and that person isn’t going down on you on the regular, dump them. If it doesn’t happen enough early on, you know what you’re getting for the rest of it. A selfish lover is a no-go from the get-go. Just dump him, dump her, dump whoever it is. If you can’t sometimes give and sometimes take or have a completely equal experience, then that person is probably selfish in many other facets of his or her life as well.”