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Breaking the Silence: Exploring Gender Bias and Empowerment in a Male-Dominated Scene

Originally Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Written by: Laura Greco  

Unearthing Unspoken Tensions

A couple of weeks ago I was in true high school fashion. I had been alerted to the fact that a friend of mine had beef with me about some things I had been saying. The problematic issue, which he gently suggested to me (and let’s say said with more “embellishment” to the friend who told me), was that of my feminist tirades. The thing that got to me about this is I can’t remember talking with him about it at all let alone being aware that he had a problem with me talking about it period. This is something I find that is not uncommon.

The Scarcity of Female Presence

If you’ve ever gone to a show you’re familiar with the shockingly scant number of female attendants. When you do see one she’s usually standing off to the side or in the back. It’s very rare that I ever see a girl dancing or up on stage. This is something that should not be happening.

I remember one show in particular where there were girls on the stage- but I could see up all their skirts. Their between-the-songs crowd correspondence consisted of talking about getting fucked or drunk. They looked like morons and couldn’t play their instruments. Yet, judging by the large following of entirely male fans that’s what they wanted to see from a lady. I also remember at that particular show being rudely pushed away from the group of people (guys, rather) singing along with Al Pist to “Black and Blue Collar”, accompanied by their disapproving glares. Apparently I didn’t show enough skin to be respected.

Struggling to Find Acceptance

I apparently don’t fit in other places either. Granted the shows I’ve played with my band were all at the shitty Darien teen center to a less than dedicated crowd; I still found that we got more of the “everyone-stand-in-a-circle-and-stare” response instead of the “crowd-around-real-close-and-listen/dance” reaction that we were hoping for and that the other (male/ “normal”) bands received. With the exception of our friends who came to see us. It seems like no one else really knows what to think. We’re just a “girl band” (even though our drummer‚s a guy). Even the girls that show up at our shows do the same. Although, I would think they’d be happy to see other girls playing-I know I would.

Sometimes I feel more like I’m being seen as a gimmick rather than a serious effort. One girl actually asked our bassist if we were a “real band”. One guy actually told me that “I kicked a lot of ass for a chick” -because ass-kicking isn’t expected of us I suppose. That should be corrected.

The Call for Female Empowerment

The problem is there’s just not enough girls involved. Guys see their favorite bands and are inspired to start one of their own. Girls see all the guy bands and figure they should just stick behind the scenes. There’s a serious lack of people to look up to. Guys talk about sexism and how it sucks and how they’re being so considerate and noble. But, when a girl does it she’s just a “man-hater” or some other undesirable thing they can label us with (which relates back to the story about my friend).

Feminism: An Uncool Topic?

Feminism apparently is just not cool to talk about. It’s really a relevant issue. Girls need to start getting up there and speaking about the things that concern them; stop being so fucking content with letting other people say it for you. There defiantly are girls who are getting involved who don’t think you have to wear a miniskirt to get noticed and I think it’s awesome. The problem is there’s still so few. It’s time to make our voice strong in a scene that claims to be standing up for us. We’re not made of glass; we’re not going to shatter if you bump into us. We’re more than just potential love interests. We’re not just a decoration on the back wall. If you’re a girl, go start a band. Go throw down in some pit. Tell your boyfriend to hold his own fucking jacket. It’s time to show the guys that it is really “not just boys‚ fun” after all.

Comments
Written by Guest on 2005-09-22 10:53:48
Written by Guest on 2005-09-11 03:53:22The problem most of the time all you girls do is bitch about things that piss you off instead of trying to earn respect. I really have no problem with girls in the pit but a lot of guys do and unless you’re going to get in there and throwdown harder than they are, then you arent going to get respect from them by ranting about being a coat rack.

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