Beth Ditto | Singer, Songwriter
* 19 February 1981 in Searcy, Arkansas as Mary Beth Patterson
As one of the most unconventional stars of the music and fashion worlds, Beth Ditto inspires people worldwide. She became incredibly successful with her band Gossip, and is hailed as a style icon by the likes of fashion-world royalty Karl Lagerfeld and Kate Moss.
„I’m a lesbian, I’m loud, I’m fat, and I’m proud.“ Beth talks about beauty ideals, homosexuality and feminism. A kind of superwoman who encourages you to accept and love yourself.
Beth’s road to positive self-esteem was a long one and includes a childhood marked by poverty, violence and sexual abuse. Her family would have been known as Trailer Trash in the US, living in a trailer park in the extremely religious Bible Belt of Arkansas. Beth’s parents separated shortly after she was born.
For many years as a child Beth was sexually abused by her uncle. The theme of sexual abuse features heavily in her autobiography. This abuse threaded through several generations of her family. A type of tradition developed in the disregard shown to the victims: the aim being to, „deny it ever happened, normalise it, and establish a system of impunity for the perpetrators.“
Beth often felt like an outsider when she was growing up. Eventually she found like-minded people, became a musician, and came out as a lesbian. After finishing high school, she escaped with friends to Olympia, the birthplace of the feminist Riot Grrrl movement. There, her bandmates came together and formed the band Gossip. She still refers to the group as her adopted family.
Gossip achieved commercial success in 2006 with the album Standing in the Way of Control. Presenting a stark contrast to the stars of mainstream pop culture, Beth became a cult icon. With the headline „Kiss my ass“ she posed naked on cover pages to provoke debate and to make a statement against beauty ideals and size-zero body culture. It was an extremely effective feminist and political act.
Beth made it onto international catwalks with her phenomenal charisma and positive attitude. Karl Lagerfeld made her his muse and Beth created her own style collection. „My idea of oversized fashion is not to make women look thinner. I want them to look cool. If I can help girls develop a more positive self-image, then I’ve accomplished my mission.“