Women at at punk shows are done with your shit
December 1, 2016 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Australian indie-punk band Camp Cope has spearheaded a call to action for bands, venue staff, and concert-goers to stand up against sexual harassment at shows, in part because of incident that went viral at their gig this past may. Their hashtag, #ItTakesOne, has been picked up by other Aussies in the music scene, including Courtney Barnett, and Luca Brasi-who notes the importance of strong male presence in the movement:
"It shouldn't solely be the responsibility of women to fix the problem," they wrote. "We feel it's important for men to speak too, and speak out against other men's behaviour and be positive role models to other men."
The band has been sending this message since the beginning- their cardinal song Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams is an anthem exploring the ideal of female safe spaces.

Further reading: Kelso, the bassist, has written an article for Yen magazine, but currently is only available in print.

Picking up what they're putting down? Check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp, and they're excellent cover of Yeah Yeah Yeah's Maps.
posted by FirstMateKate (22 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
some previously by Mefi's Own
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:50 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also previously though not punk: Grimes cancels tour due to treatment by gross fans
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:56 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


This fight goes back to the Riot Grrl movement (insert problematic criticisms of Riot Grrl). Here's an interview with the drummer of my current band talking about her experiences back in the early 90's.

It's important to collect all this I think? It's all part of the same vein of women being treated like shit in the punk scene.

I'm glad you posted this. It gives me hope that people are still fighting, and at the same time it makes me sad that not a lot seems to have changed :-(
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:12 AM on December 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


Good on Camp Cope for calling this out, but I also want to remind everyone that punk scenes are local scenes... some local punk scenes are very welcoming of women, trans folk, gender non-conforming folk, etc.

For example, my local punk music bar is run by a woman & staffed equally by women and men, all in bands themselves, many of those bands specializing in social messages about overcoming restrictive gender roles...

(Now we just have to hope the bar won't close down due to low attendance, sob sob.)
posted by subdee at 11:06 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


... I also want to remind everyone that punk scenes are local scenes...

This is a weird thing to say? Like, it might be true but how is it relevant to the fact that there are huge problems in the music scene (not just punk, in every genre)? The only way it's relevant is either to a)gloat against people mentioned in the articles who have been victims of sexual violence at shows, or 2)to try and use as anecdata against the claims that there's a problem.

I'm not trying to attack you, I just think this is the wrong place for #notallpunkscenes
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:31 AM on December 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


The only way it's relevant is either to a)gloat against people mentioned in the articles who have been victims of sexual violence at shows, or 2)to try and use as anecdata against the claims that there's a problem.


I think the goal in mentioning stuff like this is to prevent people from being scared off from going to these events. I don't think it's badly intentioned.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:54 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


FWIW every club/bar/dancehall I've ever been in billing itself as a safe space was more "safe intent" and much much less "actually safe".

I'd rather all places advertise themselves as potentially unsafe and put solid harassment policies in place because that tracks more to reality and less our utopia.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:59 AM on December 1, 2016 [15 favorites]


Plus there's the need for consistency that kicks in whenever someone points out that they had a not safe experience in your safe space -- "what? No we're not like that here." except of course that it's a little bit like that everywhere.

I like Annika's idea a lot.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:41 PM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


+8,000 to what Annika said. Saying "safe space" is vastly different than "we acknowledge this problem and are aware. Here is what we do in cases of this to help. Here's what you need to know in these cases."

I've been harassed, recently even, in a "safe space" , and it doesn't matter if the space is evenly "men and women", as a non cis person, unless the problem is acknowledged and addressed, as opposed to labeled.

That being said, I personally would like to direct the conversation away from whether or not action is needed, and instead focus on the action taken.
Or, if you just want to talk about the music please speak up because I'm honestly so in love with them.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:59 PM on December 1, 2016


FirstMateKate, I'd like to speak to both.

Now that I'm old as dirt, I don't really go to shows anymore, but I think this is most certainly a problem everywhere (and always has been as far as I can tell). It strikes me as particularly egregious, because punk is supposed to be so self-aware (and often painfully isn't.)

Also, I'd never heard of Camp Cope before, but I just bought the album on Bandcamp, and oh my gosh I am so in love with these songs! High rotation city, here I come...
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:21 PM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


my local punk music bar

I wish I had a local punk music bar, right now that sounds heavenly.

This fight goes back to the Riot Grrl movement (insert problematic criticisms of Riot Grrl).

And with roots going much earlier -- I can remember discussions in the 1980s and I'm sure they were not new then.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:47 PM on December 1, 2016


I don't really see this as a gender thing, more like a case of the world is full of idiots.
+ punk bands with facebook pages are not punk
posted by beesbees at 12:27 AM on December 2, 2016


[Gives some serious side eye to beesbees.]
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:56 AM on December 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


I've seen a transition to a "safer space" phrasing rather than "safe space" in NYC, which I think speaks to what Annika Cicada is saying.
posted by dysh at 4:46 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm also curious as to whether the conclusion some punk scenes are coming to is an end to mosh pits. I'm not really part of the punk scene in NYC, but I love punk and go to shows when I can. This is just speculation, but I've noticed fewer pits in the last few years, and I've heard bands call out dude-bros for aggressive pits. I guess my question is if the nature of the pits is being called out, or the pits themselves regardless. I'm a relatively small woman so I avoid circle pits, but I do love a cosy, close, friendly pit with no swinging arms. I'd be sad to see those types of pits go, but I also don't want my personal preference to make anyone feel unsafe, so if that's the direction the scene is going, I'm happy to go there with it. I guess I'm just trying to figure out if engaging in non-aggressive pits is still causing harm to others at shows. Sorry for the rambling.
posted by dysh at 5:05 AM on December 2, 2016


> + punk bands with facebook pages are not punk

Yeah, I dare you to tell Exene that.

Under the Big Black Sun, the anthology about Southern California punk that John Doe and Tom DeSavia put together, is a great collection from a pretty broad swath of current/former musicians and the occasional journalist about the scene(s) from the late 70s through the early 80s. One of the narrative threads is the rise in violence at shows as punk's popularity grew. It's a really great book for all kinds of reasons; the audiobook is excellent, since most of the contributors read their own pieces.
posted by rtha at 6:01 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not particularly passionate about pits one way or the other, I used to be in the pit at every show, stage diving and crowd surfing and moshing but these days I'm in the back.

For me what makes punk is more approach to life and less aesthetic or sonic texture. Like, I can be punk as fuck in a black dress at the opera, it's something that lives in me and I carry it everywhere I go.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:03 AM on December 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


And if anyone wants to know my lifestyle is probably best summed up as "twee-gender surf punk" lol. Which honestly makes no sense at all but that is what is so punk rock about it.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:06 AM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


"It shouldn't solely be the responsibility of women to fix the problem,"

It shouldn't be the responsibility of women to fix the problem at all. Men, this one is on us to fix, any women who want to help are certainly welcome. It's more complex than that in reality and sometimes "right" has to give way to "effective". But in my mind, my gender alone makes me part of the problem and it's on me to step and try to fix it.

The vast majority of the time, all this involves is calling out bad behavior and not letting it slide and being open minded and apologetic when I get called out on stuff myself. Most of the time, it doesn't actually take a ton of effort and the stakes are pretty low.
posted by VTX at 8:19 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Modern Baseball and other bands have been leaders in this as well.
posted by caddis at 10:36 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


FirstMateKate, I brought up the issue of local scenes to address everyone in this thread who expressed sadness that the punk scene had not changed since the 90s, while not personally having been to a punk rock bar since the 90s. In my personal experience, the scene is indeed different from what it used to be.

I did not in any way bring this up to deny that harassment can happen at punk rock shows (just as it can happen in clubs, on the streets, or at home). Nor did I bring it up to discount the experiences of others, or deny the innate difficulty of being a women in a perceived male space. Female musicians still have it hard (although not AS hard, again in my experience), and female audience members still get harassed, same as it ever was.

The sad truth, though, is that around here no one comes to punk rock shows anymore :( I'm proud of my local punk rock bar and I don't want it to close. Camp Cope are right to call out the shit in their own backyard but please support local music, and stand up for the quality of everyone's experience in your own LOCAL scenes, guys... or else there quickly will be not be any local scenes to improve.
posted by subdee at 3:42 PM on December 2, 2016


Fwiw subdee, my previously on the first comment about this post was in reference to beerland in Austin where I live and during (and after) this incident I and others (the person interviewed in my second link for instance) advocated heavily in support of meaningful anti-harassment policies for punk venues in Austin, and my second link is in reference to the 90's all-ages community run punk clubs that I was heavily invested in from all sides (musician, clubgoer and organizer) as a teenager, so I'm not sure where you're getting the notion from the comments that this isn't about getting active in your local scene because from the actual contents of my comments, I'm talking about my and my friends direct and meaningful action that has been taken in my local punk scenes for going on 30 years now.

So I appreciate the call out for local action but it seems like you're not actually engaging with some of us here and speaking past us?
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


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