Friday, December 13, 2013

everything is sexist

Holy crap, I was doing my daily morning scan of and came across another lolworthy post in their lolworthy series of interviews, Rad Women Who Make Rad Art. This one happens to be numero cinco in the series.

Couple things of note here: women are awesome. In fact, I know one in particular that is way more than awesome. Women are as strong, funny, intelligent, capable, creative, whatever, as men.

Anyways, punknews has a kind of running theme about how women in punk, and to a lesser extent, the mainstream, are always victims, how they’re always struggling. How it’s so much easier for women with big tits and plastic faces and skinny bodies to succeed.

No shit! Have something that somebody else finds of value, and you can make money and become a commodity!

“Oh, but women aren’t a commodity!”, you say.

Oh but they are.

Men are too! If a woman possesses any of the above-mentioned qualities and is willing to whore herself out - BOOM, commoditized. And the problem certainly isn’t women, it’s our culture where a cheap thrill is valued more than anything of substance. Dudes, food, clothes/fashion, cars, everything has been chinsed out and raped.

So to be a whiny woman crying about being marginalized because of gender, nah, you’re sometimes marginalized because of licentiousness pervading American culture. And unfortunately that seeps down into sub- and counter-cultures, like punk.

And most of the time you’re not even marginalized - you’re not able to be marginalized - because you’re ugly, not creative, and have nothing of value to offer anybody. And that’s not because you’re a wom’n; it’s because as an individual, you fucking suck.

Sorry about the rant, I did just want to comment on one of the excerpts from the interview, peep my thoughts in bold.

Q: There is a good deal of conversation about whether it is difficult for women to exist in the music community. Do you think that it is easier, harder or the same to be a woman in the visual arts? Why?

A: I think it's harder, but then again, if you're skinny and rich and have some conventional asset to the industry's market, then I feel like you can either be unproductive and famous like Taylor Swift (Unproductive? I don’t think that would be right for Taylor Swift. Sure she may be producing what equates to shit, but she’s producing it at a pretty high rate) , or attempt using your voice to empower young girls and queers, like, say, Beyonce (If you find empowerment in cheap, vague, un-anthems littered with hip hop culture, then that sounds like you have a problem picking out genuine, novel art. Nothing Beyonce has done hasn’t been done before, better. She’s pretty, she can sing, and she can do a pretty spot on Incredible Hulk impression, but there is nothing new about her at all). Although, shit, I'm sure Beyonce has had to deal with some bullshit. (Why, because she’s black? Because every black person takes some bullshit? Assuming things like this automatically attributes her as a victim, when in reality, she’s far from it. We all deal with unfair bullshit in everyday life, on varying scales, some more than others, and you know what, most of the time it stems from pure stupidity - racist, sexist, or otherwise. But to have any sympathy for her at all, when there are people and animals out there suffering much more furiously, is, well, really fucking stupid.)

Despite that, in a smaller scale, I don't think women are taken seriously. I think we have to prove our worth in completely unfortunate or tiring ways to be taken seriously. I also think that at least in punk, it’s becoming clear that sexist behavior is such a joke. I don't have any sympathy or understanding for either straight up sexist behavior, like, remember that time Ben Weasel punched a woman (Nobody should be punching anybody; fighting is stupid, but I think Ben Weasel punching a woman is about as unsexist an act as there is. I think it’s fair to say he didn’t punch her because he hates women. Ben Weasel is a known asshole, but I’m not aware of any misogynistic views previously expressed. He punched her because he thought she was going to keep attacking him. As horrible as it is, equal rights means equal fights. Being a woman doesn’t provide license to physically attack dudes at will. And FYI - I think Hooters and strip clubs are stupid.) and people chose sides as if that was actually justifiable? (Really, in self-defense, punching somebody is sometimes actually justifiable, whether he punched her in self-defense is up for debate, not that he hates women.) Or straight up sexist business, like the way that Hellcat Records used to only have one "girl-fronted" band at a time, like if gender is a genre of music (So, did this really happen, or is this just hearsay? My money is on the latter. Also, not sure if Hellcat Records is a not-for-profit feminist organization or a record label being run for profit. Her insinuation that a record label should be compelled to sign bands based on gender is scary).

I can't imagine a DIY punk show with only white guys fronting bands and identifying as a "revolution." I have, however, seen a lot of labels and events exploring music by women and queers and acknowledging the power in our voice, because, fuck, our voices, when expressing anger, are genuinely cast aside by the mainstream (clearly she is not familiar with mainstream pop radio. Your voice is not cast aside because you’re an angry female, it’s cast aside because you’re probably dropping f-bombs every other word and it sounds tacky). And at the end of the day isn't giving power to silenced demographics what punk is all about? (That’s the beauty of punk - it can be whatever you want it to be)

Since I exist as a musician in punk, I can’t say much for the world outside of that. I’m not dedicated to revolutionizing the music industry that's already based on sexist and classist morals (Automatically identifying with the “underdog” and blindly despising “the rich” sounds pretty classist to me). I'm concerned with maintaining the spirit of punk that made it a haven for angry girls and angry queers and, fuck, angry straight guys who experience some kind of disenfranchisement and maybe have tough as nail mothers and a basic respect for women (Sounds like the problem is not sexism, rather, women like this flying the disenfranchisement flag, and having a sense of entitlement that screams, ‘look at me! I dress punk! I make art! I make music! It’s good!” No, it’s not automatically good. In fact, it’s automatically shitty until somebody finds enjoyment out of whatever it is you create. The problem is that art in general is oversaturated with shit. Every asshole thinks they’re creative - my blog is absolute proof of that. Flying that disenfranchisement flag doesn’t make what you create automatically valid). You know? I definitely own the complete Mr. T Experience discography, and I love an apolitical pop-punk song as much as the next guy (the next what!?), but, come on! Punk is about expressing a message to the disenfranchised, not really about selling your product (that’s cute, but shit ain’t free, dawg. Gotta make money to produce and spread the message, doing it in the most ethical way, that’s the punk way.). If your message blows up, then more power to you. I feel proud when bands like Against Me! and The Gossip, who I used to see in stank basements for years, now get the recognition they deserve for the work they've done.

Last thing, maybe the roads were shitty on the way to work, maybe your alarm didn't go off, whatever, go out today, say something nice to somebody, do something nice, however small. 

*Note here again, that yeah, sexist things happen all the time. Women get shit on for being female, and that sucks. We all get shit on for various reasons beyond our control. But that will never change. It can get better, but it will never change, for one simple reason: assholes will always exist. You can’t have fair without unfair, and the scary part is when people start deciding what fair is. But that’s another convo for another time.

**UPDATE: in an unexpected twist, punknews just posted the next interview in the series. When given a soapbox on which to soap or box, literally handed to her on a silver platter, Ms. Osborne went all reasonable and awesome. True story, when asked about the difficulties women face in music and art, she answers, "I think being a human on the planet is pretty hard sometimes".

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