“I think it’s something that’s hard to recognise if you don’t experience it yourself”

Via the I live sweat… zine (ezine? tumblrzine? tumbline? Help me, my portmanteaus are terrible) is another great piece about the lived realities of sexism in the punk scene.

It’s the male band members who don’t take you seriously, and when you get upset with how you’re treated, ask you if you’re menstruating. It’s the promoters and planners who screw you, then call you a diva when you assert yourself.  It’s the kids who don’t talk to you after your set, but talk to your male bandmates because they assume you’re only there for show.  It’s the people who think you’re sleeping with the guitarist, the people who assume you’re queer,  or the journalists who mention your weight in reviews.  It’s every single time a producer has told me I can’t play guitar on my own record because “sweetie, you’re not a studio musician” or “sing it again, but naked.”

Most importantly, it’s the baggage I have to carry that my male bandmates don’t. I have to worry about walking to the car alone to grab my guitar; I have to worry about where we are staying and if the strangers who own the floor I’m sleeping on will assault me in the middle of the night, even though it’s unlikely. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve clung to the side of my male bandmates when we’re sleeping, just to feel safe. I can’t drink too much or take a drink from a stranger at an after-party wherever we are staying, because I can’t be out of control.

I’m quoting this bit because it’s among the most immediate and powerful, but I should emphasise that a big part of this article is about not wanting to present oneself as, or be perceived as, a victim. Read the whole thing here. It’s written by Mariel Loveland, who sings and plays guitar in Candy Hearts (reviewed at the tail end of last year, here).

If you’re new to I live sweat… then you may also be interested in this piece by Lauren Denitzio, ex-The Measure [SA] (I think ex-that band, since I read that they were splitting up – which saddened me. They were one of the first bands I reviewed here, all the way back in March 2009). Here’s an excerpt:

I’ll start off by saying that I’m a white cis-female in her late 20’s who identifies as queer, feminist, radical and punk.  I’m speaking from my experiences being a part of a largely DIY poppunk scene for the majority of my life and in a touring band for over six years. A large part of the time, I feel welcomed, supported and accepted within the “punk” circles that I’m a part of.  However, nothing makes me more angry then hearing someone, men specifically, say that the scene isn’t sexist, “because we’re all punks and obviously that’s not cool.” I am far from the only woman-identified person in the room who would like to call bullshit on that statement.  While yes, most of my friends and the spaces I go to do not tolerate obviously sexist, homophobic, racist, able-ist, etc. speech, saying those concepts do not exist in our community is just flat out wrong.  What offends me is not always just the action itself, but the excuse that if you wear the “punk” label that you’re absolved of having done anything wrong because you “didn’t mean it that way.”  I can’t think of a rationale so unproductive.

Both pieces should be read by every punk, whether you’re an arsehole or an ally. There’s always more to learn, more you can do, to make punk rock better for everyone. You dig?

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