Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Obscenius



Missed this long expose over at Alternative Press by Luke O'Neill on sexual misconduct in the punk scene.  Harrowing stuff, but worth a read to see what music is currently working to shake out.

"Jeff Rosenstock, a punk scene veteran of Bomb the Music Industry! and the Arrogant Sons Of Bitches, is also angered by the dismissive attitude surrounding the problem. He’d just gotten home from a show he’d played in Texas this year when he saw a fan tweet that she’d been groped by a number of men in the crowd.
“I was taken aback by the fact that anyone like that would attend our shows,” he said. “I’ve always felt that it was pretty clear that our band has feminist ideals, meaning that we believe in the equality of all people. So, I tried to clear things up on Twitter and say, ‘Hey. This is not okay. If you're this kind of person, do not come to our shows ever. Or stop treating people like that. You don't have to be a dickhead forever.’
What really pissed him off, he says, was the responses. “In my eyes, a brave fan spoke out about being sexually assaulted,” he says. “That is a hard thing to do, partially because people refuse to believe that it's a thing that can happen, especially in our punk scene. So people started getting mad at her for ‘ruining my band’ and ‘spreading a feminazi agenda.’ Those were the nicer comments. I saw some vile shit being said to this person that I don't want to repeat. All by strangers on the internet who refuse to open their eyes to the fucking reality that, yeah, hello, this happens all the time at shows.”
At a recent show in Philadelphia, a large fan in the crowd had been touching a young girl in front of Rosenstock. He stopped the music and asked him to stop. Security didn’t do anything about it. “If that guy was smoking weed or snuck in a beer, he would have been booted in a heartbeat. But instead, we had to stop our show and our friends and the audience had to solve the problem. Isn't that abhorrent?

I wouldn't necessarily call myself a "vet" of the scene, but in high school I went to my fair share of "tough guy hardcore" punk/metalcore shows.  Mainly because there was nothing better to do and a lot of my friends were really into them.  There was definitely a sense of community there, but the vibe was overwhelmingly male.  Women were far more likely to get punched than touched inappropriately because of the nature of the moshing/hardcore dancing, but I also wouldn't be surprised if any of the latter took place.  The kind of frequent groping/assault/intimidation was certainly was prevalent among girls I knew who'd frequent the same establishment on the weekends when the venue would transform into a nightclub for Top 40 dancing.  It's built into the structure of the music venue that the intimate closeness can easily translate into misbehavior.  

I take it that this kind of overarching maleness is far less so with the Warped crowd, where the music tends to be less about grunting and growling. As with the never-dying BernieBros thing, it should be no shock to anyone that male privilege does not end with a supposed liberal value structure.  If rape culture could be isolated, it'd be far easier to villainize and subject to specific scrunity. But it's everywhere, not just something in MRA fuckboy forums.

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