Debby Ryan On Sexism in the Industry: 'I've Had a Hard Road'

by Denny Directo 7:00 PM PDT, May 25, 2015
Playing Debby Ryan On Sexism in the Industry: 'I've Had a Hard Road'

Twenty years later and the message behind Alanis Morrissette's Jagged Little Pill still resonates with many fans of the pseudo-feminist album.

The 1995 album's blockbuster success coupled with Morrissette's unapologetic lyrics made for a powerful feminist statement during its release-- one that many young artists such as Debby Ryan are still inspired by two decades later.

"[Alanis was] proud of being a little bit broken and little bit dark," the 22-year-old singer told ETonline. "For her to give everyone permission to be that and not be polished and not be completely perfect-- it's really exciting, and really freeing and liberating."

WATCH: Debby Ryan Debuts New Hair Color, Offers to Replace Zayn in One Direction 

Jagged Little Pill not only empowered women dealing with heartbreak, but it also became a rallying cry against sexism in the industry-- an issue that Ryan poignantly explains is still alive today.

"I think it's 100% an issue," she said. "But I also think there are so many things that are coming against so many people."

"I will never experience what it's like to be an African-American in the industry. I'll never know what it's like to be a man growing up in this industry and having these standards of manhood and boyhood," she added. "I think that we all have our things that we need to fight and come up against that's not fair. And some of us have it significantly worse than others."

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The former Jessie star has been open about her own personal struggles in the past. In March, she revealed to People magazine that she was the victim of a "destructive friendship" that became "emotionally and mentally abusive."

"I've had a hard road," she admitted. "I've fought battles that no one will ever know about. I've faced so much heavy criticism, so many double standards, so many expectations, so many unfair kind of treatments and stigmas but ultimately, it's something that [you can handle].

"It's not fair but being able to overcome it only shows that much more strength and character."

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