I’m so fucking sick of discussions about “punk’s problem with women” that make reference to the Warped Tour and its “ShiraGirl stage.’’ I don’t give a fuck about the Warped Tour and I don’t really see what the fuck it has to do with punk rock in the first place.
The last DIY show I went to was five days ago in Madison. Two of the bands playing were Lipstick Homicide and Rational Anthem, both fronted by women. The last band I bought a shirt from was The Turkletons, a band in which lead vocals are traded off between the guitarists – one male and one female. The last set of records I bought from a distro were three 7-inches – by Boys, Pity Party, and Skinny Genes. Only one of those doesn’t prominently feature women and that’s only because it’s a solo effort by one guy. But that one guy’s active band is Science Police, of which two of the members are women.
The gender of the performers wasn’t even a thought (until this morning when I read another of these articles and asked myself if there was any validity to its criticisms). I don’t support any of those bands because they have women in them; I support them because they’re great punk bands. When I interviewed Rational Anthem for Razorcake, I asked singer/guitarist Noelle Stolp about gender and punk rock. She said and I quote: “To me – I don’t really fucking care. I don’t feel any different. I just know that I can shred better than some dudes and it kills their self-esteem as well as their boners.” Beautifully fucking articulated.
Punk rock is whatever the fuck we want it to be. If you don’t like the shows being booked at 924 Gilman or Charm City Art Space, become a member and book your own shows (one of the only rules to do so is “no sexism”). If you don’t like the coverage in zines like Maximumrocknroll or Razorcake, write your own articles, conduct your own interviews, and they’ll print them! And if you feel like whatever group you identify with is underrepresented in punk, then start a band, put out records, and go out on tour.
Are there sexist attitudes in the punk scene? ABSOLUTELY! (Kind of like how there are sexist attitudes – oh, I don’t know – EVERYWHERE). Is that a bummer? Of course. But I think we do a way better job (in the punk scene) at being inclusive and open to people of all genders, races, ideologies, etc than 99% of the rest of this planet (and we’ll continue striving to be even better). Punk rock is important to me so I’m sorry if I’m getting defensive but I don’t appreciate all the shit you’ve been talking on this scene that I love and that so many of us (male and female) work so hard for.
See you in the basement (not at the Warped Tour).