Saturday, March 19, 2011

Where are all the Riot Grrrls?: Sexism and Punk Rock


Published in Persephone Magazine, March 16, 2011

I started out wanting to write about how I don’t think the punk world is really sexist. After all, I’ve been going to shows since I was 16 and haven’t personally experienced overt hostility, assault, or discrimination. But once I really sat down to think about it, I realized, much to my own dismay, the scene is almost as bad as anywhere else.

Almost. I still hold the opinion that it could be worse. I think there’s a more accepting ideology involved – for starters, there are several bands who outwardly express that they are anti-sexist in addition to being anti-racist and anti-homophobic – but it’s still a scene that’s part of this society, and part of music in general. Punk is not immune.

One major problem is a lack of female artists, at least in prominent groups. You can count on one hand, maybe two, the number of current well-known punk bands with at least one female member. The Creepshow, Star Fucking Hipsters, The Measure (SA), HorrorPops and Civet come to mind. If you loosen the definition of “punk” you could include a few more, like Hey Monday, Paramore and VersaEmerge. There are others, but it’s still a pretty barren wasteland compared to the hundreds of all-male bands that are out there. Barren in numbers, of course, not in talent.

Read the rest.

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