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Breaking Barriers: Women’s Voices in the Hardcore Scene

Written by Brittany Mendoza

Confronting Gender Bias: “No Clit in the Pit”

“No clit in the pit!” These are some of the more common phrases you hear at a hardcore show if you’re a female. Girls being at shows, or in the hardcore scene at all, has become a huge issue in the contemporary hardcore scene. Bands and listeners alike have set up invisible barriers in the scene persecuting girls and saying such things as “Girls can’t be hardcore.” And “Girls can’t be Straight Edge.”

Mixed Views from Band Members

Danny Banura, guitarist of the hardcore band “Blood Stands Still” had mixed feelings when asked what he thought of girls in the hardcore scene. “I think it’s good as long as they are not causing stupid drama. You come to a show for the music. Don’t come and start shit with your ex at the show,” says Dan. “If you are standing close to the pit, don’t fucking cry when you get hit. And don’t go get your boyfriend to do something. That’s just drama. And the less of that at shows the better.”

Positive Perspectives on Female Participation

There are some, however, who have a different mindset regarding girls in the hardcore scene, girls being straight edge, and girls being in bands. Cam Jose, guitarist for the hardcore band “Miles Away”, and Nelson Flores, guitarist for the band “Sovereign Strength”, spoke their minds regarding these issues on behalf of their bands. When I interviewed Nelson Flores, he seemed to have a positive outlook on women being in the scene, and he even says he supports women in bands. “It’s dope seeing girls in bands!” he said. “I have girlfriends that are in the bands ‘Take Everything’ and ‘The Great Commission’. I respect girls that are in the hardcore scene for the right reasons.”

Global Variations in Acceptance of Women in Hardcore

Cam Jose also seemed to have a more positive outlook on women in the scene. “Women in hardcore is an interesting issue. I have noticed in Australia and in the US, that women are not always welcomed into the hardcore scene,” Cam says. “Throughout Europe and Asia it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue at all,” He adds. “The fact that hardcore is predominantly populated by males does not help this. It can sometimes be a macho testosterone-induced orgy.”

The Role of Location in Hardcore Perception

Location can also play a crucial role in how people perceive a hardcore band or scene. More known cities such as D.C., New York, and L.A., are where some of the best hardcore bands including Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and the Cro Mags began. These cities and their scenes automatically receive more credibility than bands from smaller, more rural areas trying to break out and start something new.

Hardcore Evolution: From Rebellion to Fashion

The hardcore scene has drastically changed from an escape and a new hope for misunderstood teens to a crew-infested fashion show. “These days a lot of kids just come to shows for band merch, or because it’s cool,” Says Cam. “I guess in a way hardcore is slowly becoming more mainstream, and in that, you get dudes in bands being treated differently, like they are better than everyone else. What the hell! This is hardcore keep that shit out!”

Addressing Sexism in the Scene So where do women fall into all of this? People that have, and that continue to, divide the scene and twist its original intention into what it is today strategically make it so women feel unwelcome in the scene with phrases such as “No clit in the pit”, crews committed to hitting girls at shows, etc. This is where the sexism comes in. It is people who twist the meaning of hardcore, and what it’s really about.

Embracing Equality: Women’s Rightful Place in Hardcore

“I personally don’t have a problem with women in hardcore or with women being straight edge,” says Cam. “Some of my best friends are women who I have met because of hardcore. I have heard so many times that women can’t be straight edge because they are girls. I actually say this to my female friends who are straight edge as a joke. It is a joke right? After all, straight edge is not a gang, there are no prerequisites, there are no initiations, you just are, male or female, black or white, short or tall, skinny or fat. It is hardcore; it is a place where we should all be able to fit in, all be accepted for whoever we are! Hardcore is supposed to embrace all those things positive, leaving things such as racism and fascism at the door, but a lot of the time sexism gets through and can be an issue. But really what is the issue with women in hardcore? Is it because it is HARD-core and society says women are not meant to be hard? Is it because women shouldn’t mosh? Is it because girls can’t be straight edge? These are all so stupid and women have every right to do what every dude does. As long as they are there because of the music then there should not be a problem. And this is where the issue really lies; Being there for the music.”

Keeping Hardcore Alive: Music Above All

The scene probably always will have barriers and segregations; but as long as there are people in the scene that remember the true meaning of hardcore, and that keep in mind that hardcore is about the music, we can continue to keep hardcore alive

Special Thanks to:

  • Nelson Flores and Sovereign Strength
  • Cam Jose and Miles Away
  • Dan Banura and Blood Stands Still

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