Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gimme Gimme Castration

Hello, world of super professional radical feminist blogging! SO nice to make your acquaintance. The pleasure, it is all mine, I assure you.

So for my debut post I thought I would write a little bit about sexism in the music scene and how a ton of supposedly liberal hipster kids are total sexist assholes who would put your garden variety Republican dude to shame. Allow me to set the scene a little. You have cheerfully decided to buy tickets to whiny indie emo boy band Y who we will refer to here as The Erections because you like that one song they do, "Nobody's Jeans are Tighter Than Mine." The list that follows contains just a few of the choice things you might encounter while you're there:

* An obnoxious as hell mosh pit. Now I've had this fight with many different people, but the truth is, YES mosh pits are sexist. They aren't a reflection of how into the show you are. They aren't about rebelling against mainstream culture. They take place completely at the expense of women in the audience and they're often an explicit demonstration of just how privileged and silly indie/punk boys are. Most of the time at a show, once a mosh pit starts somewhere you will see an immediate exodus of the women in the area to avoid having some asshole boy's bony white flesh shoved straight into your boobs. And, funny enough, most mosh pits start at the front of the crowd. What does that mean for women? It means you get shoved to the back (that might ring some bells for any of you fans of first wave feminists) or you yourself have to get involved in the melee and fight for your place if you want to stay there. I don't know about you girls, but when I'm in the mood for some good old-fashioned violence, why I just turn to my abusive partner or my friendly neighborhood rapist! Why bother with a mosh pit when you can go straight to the source of patriarchal violence on a daily basis? All expenses paid folks!

* A series of couples glued together around the crotch region or positioned so that the MALE behind the FE-MALE can drape his massive hairy arms around the woman's neck and shoulders. "I love you just so much I can't bear to let you out of my loving stranglehold Baby." Worse, you may also see a pair of straight girls making out/flashing their tits for the benefit of their cheering drunken boyfriends. Oh, and the rest of us of course. Gee, aren't we lucky?

* A lot of hair spray, high heels, and those "d.i.y." shirts that people cut to hang off their shoulders and display their artful clavicles. I realize this blogosphere topic is like, soooooo last week, but here's my angle on the hipster beauty standards specifically. As Edith, my charming co-conspirator, partner in crime, etc. etc. has previously noted in other forums, fashion is fashion people. Strange how wearing thick black eyeliner still entails actually WEARING eyeliner! What an odd coincidence that all the most beloved, oh-so-indie girls you usually see are stick thin. Just like the most beloved, oh-so-mainstream girls! "Sure, I model at Suicide Girls because I am so empowered in claiming those alternative beauty standards where I continue to shave every follicle of hair off my body," says indie girl. And naturally, we all have our rituals and we all have our certain image we are projecting out to the world and we all have to struggle with what our friends and our family and our culture blah blah tell us is pretty. Of course we do. But you've gotta recognize that being a dirty hippie IS an image, being an indie kid IS an image, being a girly girl IS an image, and whatever image you so choose, own that without having to pretend so hard that you're above it all because, news flash, you're not. Not all these looks are created equal in my mind, but they're still all about appearance and brand of attractiveness as identity, as statement. Kinda uncomfy when you think about it like that huh?

22 Comments:

Blogger Edith said...

So you've already totally upstaged me, and I would just like to point out that I am very jealous.

BUT OMG. My memories of that Sleater-Kinney concert four years ago (wow, how time doesn't fly) are, of course, tainted by the fact that the ONLY REASON we were able to stay in the front was because we had a tall male bodyguard who wouldn't let us get pushed out.

Artful clavicles, yeah, Christ. What the fuck is it with always fetishizing a new body part that shows off how thin you are? You ever want to depress yourself, go to the craigslist section for sex work on the LA site. Maybe I'll make a mean rant about that, too.

And your fashion comments, btw, are TOTALLY out of fashion. Last week? PFF! Try, like, LAST MONTH! Wow, are you ever lacking in knowing the latest feminisphere style.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Gleicher said...

Castration EH? SWEET.

First things fuckin last:
#3: You mean hipsters aren't actually blazing bold individualists? WHAT! But they wear unusual clothing and have interesting hairstyles! Then again, they might not ALL be claiming to be completely liberated from societal norms and images. But maybe they are (or maybe they're too dumb to think about it). I'll leave that judgment to you as I haven't interacted with any hipsters since Sean Glynn visited grinnell (oooooh).

#2: That's clearly jealousy speaking.

#1: OK, so mosh pits are sexist because women like random outlets for aggression and violence less than men. I've seen girls in moshpits, afaik voluntarily, but as a general rule I'd agree, women are less prone to violence/liking violence than men. If you disagree with that you should say so explicitly because I'm assuming that is implicit in what you posted. And yes, if they all form at the front it de facto pushes women (who by and large hate participating in them) to the back, and that's clearly sexist. But that doesn't mean they're completely bad. In fact, they're good. As an outlet for violence at shows where the music promotes violence. Obviously they make more sense at some concerts than others. But they should be relegated to the middle of the crowd. That way people who don't want to participate (which will be mostly women) can get to be at the front. PROBLEM SOLVED!



PS I look forward to the posting about how logical nonbiased atheists are sexist shitheads. :D

4:59 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Above deleted comment mine, deleted for typos, reposted below:

When did clavicles become "artful?"

I don't know about this one, gals -I know you pride yourselves on meaness, but I think it's an unfair generalization. I have chicken chest boney-ass torso no matter what I do. Had it when I was 50 pounds heavier and lactating to boot. I don't put my bones on "display" but I ain't covering them up when it's warm either. If my clavicals are sticking out, I assure you, it ain't a fashion thing.

Agree with you on the mosh pit, for sure -- don't forget the free grope session a woman ALWAYS is subjected to if she chooses to stage dive.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Vicky Vengeance said...

Hey Kaka Mak,

When I said artful clavicle it wasn't so much that I was making fun of people who have pretty clavicles or who, you know, wear t-shirts once in a while. I mainly just take issue with the way some people go out of their way to show off their thinness as part of being hip.

Word on the stage diving thing. Don't ya hate that?

9:49 AM  
Blogger Vicky Vengeance said...

Oh, and those are some excellent comments Gleicher.

I don't think I'm saying that women like violence and aggression less than men, or at least not inherently, just that they are usually on the losing end of those things when it comes to dealing with men. On average, if you're scared of being raped all the time, you're probably less likely to glorify violence as cool or radical in some way.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous dragonfly said...

Vicky, you take issue with lots of stuff that's none of your goddamned business.

What a ridiculous, subjective statement--"showing off their thinness to as part of being hip" blah blah blah--who the fuck are you? Who are you to judge? who made you head of the Hip Police?

wow, you really ARE self important.

(Don't worry Kakamak--you're still okay cuz you only wear t-shirts once in a while.)

this blog makes me giggle uncontrollably.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Phemisaurus Terribilis said...

Wow, this dragonfly sure knows how to be horrible, albeit in a juvenile name-calling sort of way, but in spite of the headstart we'll catch up, once we're warmed up, and leave it standing: bzzzzz's got nothing on grrrrr!

12:36 PM  
Blogger Edith said...

dragonfly, wow. You are sure showing us. Feeling good about yourself now, eh?

Does it make you feel better, by the way, to conceal your identity and come on here to chew us out just because I pissed you off on some other blog? I bet I called you out on the makeup thing, didn't I. Tsk, tsk. Fuck with a girl's eyeliner and the shit be on, hm?

Oh, wait, you made a comment with stuff in it so I say, yay to go with the denial of agency! And the denial of fatphobia! As if we never admire the "beauty" of the thin! As if prominent clavicles, ribcages, and hip bones and sunken cheeks and bellies weren't at all fetishized and seen as "sexy" or "hip"! As if heroin chic never happened! As if female musicians especially haven't been written about three quarters of time with reference to their sexy, hip, tiny little bodies as much as their music.

Here's something you may not realize, dragonfly: fat is a feminist issue. Fashion is a feminist issue. Music is a feminist issue. Whoa. Stop the presses.

But really, I'm jumping the gun, now aren't I? You never even said you were a feminist. You also haven't said where I hurt your feelings and why you now are bent on retribution. There really aren't very many people you could be. I'd consider outing yourself, because if/when I expose you, you are going to look mighty silly. (Even sillier than you already are looking now.)

6:38 PM  
Blogger Edith said...

Gleicher, you will be amazed at the amazingness.

And as I said that, I just dropped my chin a little because I'm *shy* and twisted my ratty vintage knit sweater into a little ball in my lap. And now I'm peeking back up at you, through my side-swept inky black bangs and biting my lower lip. Now this is the part where you talk at me for six hours while I give you wry smiles and smoke like a badass.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edith, as you just said what?

I admit I don't get the subtext of your most recent post. Explain if you feel liek it.

-DG

12:24 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

"There really aren't very many people you could be."

This is admittedly none of my business but PLEASE be careful with this Edith. I "outed" someone by IP reading/looking at times Comments were posted, etc. Got all Sherlock Holmes with my bad self. And I was WRONG. Feelings were still hurt and I still feel bad about it.

I also jumped the gun on a post Amy at Feminist Reprise made, thinking it was about my infamous Paris Hilton post -- it was NOT and I felt so badly about that too.

Not only that but many bloggers know each other personally. Possibly even living in the same town -- possibly even working in the same building, therefore leading to IP Fuckery.

For the record, if I take issue with anything you write, I expect you'll know it's me: Kaka don't do no hiding :)

"fat is a feminist issue. Fashion is a feminist issue. Music is a feminist issue. "

I agree with this 100%, BTW, as a general statement.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Vicky Vengeance said...

Dragonfly,

Like . . . you totally missed what I was saying. Obviously when I said "it's ok if you, you know, wear t-shirts once in a while" that was a total joke. Intentionally! Look! There is an arrow pointing to me! With the word joking on it in big letters! WOOOOO!!!

My post, if you actually read it without being automatically defensive and hypercritical, wasn't about "Oh if you wear this you are a horrible person." It was more like, "Hey! We all choose what we wear with the idea of projecting a certain identity and whether the identity you envision for yourself is super mainstream or super rebellious, there's still a lot of potential for a dose of the ol' patriarchy machine." Wear whatever the hell you want! But, don't just assume that because what you're wearing is black like your soul instead of pink, you are automatically escaping the world of sexism.

And yeah, as Edith said, fat IS a feminist issue. And regardless of what scene you're in, most of the time, people expect you to be skinny. And that expectation is just one way of highlighting the hypocrisy that creeps in, even among people who brag about how hardcore they are about non-traditional beauty standards. Dig?

9:03 AM  
Blogger Edith said...

Kaka Mak, I think you are right to warn me, so thank you. I almost immediately regretted making such a comment after I did. I definitely have a tendency to go into attack dog mode and jump to conclusions about people, and I could very well be wrong about dragonfly.

Vicky, you are the best blogging/life partner ever. I dig.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Interesting comments on mosh pits here - I agree they are sexist, and I'd never really thought about it before - it really is a pain in the arse having to be pushed to the side or back cos you don't feel like punching people everytime they move past you in an effort to avoid being punched yourself.

BUT I fail to see what your problem with heterosexual couples is. When I'm at a gig my boyfriend usually stands behind me because he's taller than me and we can both see better that way. I like being hugged. What exactly is sexist about that? Sometimes I stand behind him because he likes being hugged too. What is the problem here?

Also, I'm thin. Some would say stick thin. I eat a shitload. I've never dieted or worried about my weight. What is wrong with this? How exactly am I buying into the patriarchy here?

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a book that came out several years ago- The Bible Code, in which the author claimed that the Bible contained hidden messages predicted JFK's assassination, 9/11, etc. The public was duly astonished until it was demonstrated that similar messages could be found in Shakespeare, Moby Dick, and pretty much any literary work of sufficient length. My point is: most people have a tendency to find what they're looking for. Just the way that anything can be interpretted as sexual inneundo if your mind is dirty enough, most things can be taken as sexist if that's your vendetta. I'm not trying to invalidate your arguments; I agree with several of your points. However, I think that you might be reading too much into the music scene. Most of the people who perperate the afore-described concerts are adolescents who are not trying or even aware of expressing political or social views (other than a vague sense of rebellion.) It's possible that they are unwitting byproducts of an inescapable and subtle patriarchal system, but it's more likely that they, well, just like the music. Or, as in the case of the above poster, are just naturally skinny. Or whatever.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Vicky Vengeance said...

Laura,

It just grosses me out to see a guy holding a girl really possessively at a show, especially since everybody is in such close quarters in the crowd. You've got a right to do it, I've got a right to be grossed out. Also though, generally I think public displays of affection among heterosexuals, while they often seem and are intended to be playful and harmless, can contribute to a certain environment of hetero hegemony. I'm not saying it's heterosexist to go around holding hands with your boyfriend, just that it's something worth thinking about. How is your ability to hug your boyfriend at a show without fear a demonstration of your privilege as a straight person?

Also, I never said that if you are thin you are a sexist outrage who is buying into patriarchy. I am also thin. What I'm criticizing is how thinness is often a very prominent part of the whole hipster aesthetic. I can't think of many punk rock icons who weren't heroin thin. Sure, punk fashion might include a massive mohawk and big chains and black boots, but the girls are still expected to be thin and pretty just like girls are always expected to be.

Anonymous,

Since when did unintentional sexism suddenly become non-sexism? If someone without social or political awareness decides to treat women like shit for whatever reason, I'm still gonna call that action sexist. And you know what? Often the MOST sexist people are the ones who are the MOST politically unaware. Why? Well because of that inescapable and subtle patriarchal system you just mentioned! How do we fight that system? Why, by pointing it out when we come across it!

Where in my post did I say any of these acts were intentionally sexist in the first place? Indeed, I wrote this post BECAUSE people aren't aware of how sexist these things are because they haven't bothered to think or care about the women they are effecting.

Further, a lot of the people I know who are involved in the music scene ARE extremely politically and socially aware and they pride themselves on how "out there" and "radical" they are. Yet, I see these same people turning around at shows and buying into the same old bullshit. It becomes unbelievably frustrating after a while and I've had plenty of friends who refuse to go to concerts anymore because of the hostile, sexist environment they often encounter there, even for music that's supposedly progressive.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I fail to see how abstaining from public "displays" of affection with my boyfriend will make it any easier for gay or lesbian couples to hold hands or hug in public. Displaying heterosexuality does not involve an alienation or rejection of homosexuality, just as displaying a certain political view or hairstyle or whatever doesn't prevent other political views or hairstyles from being displayed. People who are in love, whether heterosexual or homosexual, like to hug and hold hands,it's just nice! Though I guess you'd see that as another display of possesiveness, right?

And, to be honest, I don't really care if I am displaying my "priviledge" - I want homosexual couples to have the same freedom I do, and I think it is completely patronising to renounce my freedom to do this just to try and make a show of how pro-equality or non homophobic or whatever I am. We won't destroy the porn industry by raping and abusing men as well as women, we need to stop women being raped and abused, and in just the same way we won't stop homophobia by taking away the rights of heterosexual people to display their heterosexuality in public, but by challenging attitudes and enabling homosexual couples to feel just as free.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Edith said...

Wow, Laura. Correct me if I'm like, uh, totally misreading what you wrote, but are you somehow comparing the act of NOT engaging in public displays of affection with your boyfriend in spaces where homosexuals cannot, perhaps, freely do so with going out and sexually assaulting men in solidarity with women who are sexually assaulted? Wow. How do you even come up with such a comparison? So heterosexuals that recognize their heterosexual privilege and decide to be aware of the messages of otherness they send to homosexuals when they have lovey-dovey special tender moments in spaces where homosexuals cannot without dealing with the inquisite, prying eyes of the curious and the disgusted (you know, like, pretty much everywhere) -- these people are the same as some magical (straw)women who want to go off and rape men in some kind of, like, wish to make the numbers all equal between male rape victims and women rape victims?

Yeah, that's totally the same. Oh, and we're not talking about "taking away rights" now are we? We're talking about, like, you know, acknowledging your heterosexual privilege. I see that is much, much too difficult for you to address alone. Instead you have to make ridiculous, offensive analogies and jump to conclusions that no one is making.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I never said it was the same, I was just pointing out how ridiculous and, yes, offensive the logic of removing everyone's privileges/freedoms in order to make everyone the same is, rather than aiming to ensure everyone has the same freedoms/privileges.

If people have a problem with two men or two women holding hands, this caused by their own prejudice, not by me holding hands with my boyfriend.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Vicky Vengeance said...

Allow me to repost some of my comment, Laura dear:

I think public displays of affection among heterosexuals, while they often SEEM and ARE intended to be playful and harmless, CAN contribute to a certain environment of hetero hegemony. I think public displays of affection among heterosexuals, while they often seem and are intended to be playful and harmless, can contribute to a certain environment of hetero hegemony. I'm NOT saying it's heterosexist to go around holding hands with your boyfriend, just that it's something WORTH THINKING ABOUT.

Obviously I don't think doing away with hetero public displays of affection is going to fix homophobia. DUUUUUH. Yes! There are plenty of awesome ways out there to fight for gay rights! I'm glad you wanna be involved in those actions!

What I do think, however, is that this world can often be a pretty fucking hostile place for gay and lesbian people to live in. Every time a lesbian sees you holding hands with your boyfriend that may or may not remind said lesbian of precisely what she is not allowed to do with the one she loves. It reminds her that our culture considers her love shameful and sick and dirty, while your love is clean and healthy and promoted in nearly every movie, every tv show, every song she encounters.

Not only that, she's reminded just how outnumbered she is, how almost everywhere she goes she will always be the minority, her sexuality will always be hidden and silenced unless she is willing to put her personal safety, her employment, her reputation on the line.

As a mostly hetero woman, when I consider the possibility of how my display of affection might make a gay or lesbian person feel, how I might contribute to their feelings of alienation, I feel like maybe not holding hands in public with my boyfriend is a sacrifice I can live with. Some might call it patronizing, other people might call it being considerate and aware that you don't have to wear an "I hate gays" t-shirt to be promoting heterosexuality as the norm.

And seriously dude, don't act so outraged when someone calls you out on your privilege. All I asked you to do was THINK about it. Think about how it might make a gay person feel. It's totally fine if you disagree with me, but I think it's always a good idea to at least try and put yourself in the other person's shoes when you are the one on the power end of things.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous jagged little dyl said...

as the webmaster of the satirical e-zine known as www.strongwomen.info, i would like to say that now is the time for the stronger gender to sever a breast off of any Strongwoman. it's time for men to beat the Strongwoman down to submission and lob off one of her milk jugs when she's fully awake...which actually would be a slap in the face to the lorena bobbitts of the world, as well as ANY meek Strongwoman who must wait for men to fall asleep before seeing a chance to hurt them. after all, the B is silent in the word WOMB - put that in front of MAN to get WOMMAN or WOMAN, and that justifies the little female's place in this world.

too many little females are trying to justify their superiority over men by sneaking up while men are sleeping and removing a body part. therefore, men should do one better and justify their superiority by slicing a wombn's breast off while the wombn is fully awake. let her know that all this Strongwoman propaganda does not make members of the pipsqueak-gender taller or wider or even stronger than men. let Strongwoman know that propaganda is not going to turn her milk-leaks and her monthly blood-leak into something not related to the truth about the purpose of Strongwoman.

sever a breast off of a feminist, it's long overdue. you would think that Strongwoman would learn that she can't excel like a man, just from the mere existences of gender-based college sports teams and gender-based military requirements. just from the "coney island hot dog eating competition" having to add a separate "womens' division" because females cannot excel over (only alongside of) men just from the fitness centers admitting only members of the weaker gender in honor of the "retard bus". heck, you'd think they'd learn they can't do anything as well as men, just from the "ladies only" poker nights at casinos. they NEED their own "retard bus" or, if you will, "affirmative action".

Strongwoman apparently has not learned the reason she needs things to be gender-based, so maybe this movement will teach her. sever a breast off of a feminist. period. any feminist: black or white, princess or pauper. let's go, men.

"oh, god, mother...BLOOD, BLOOD!"

dylan terreri, i


"When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it." - Madonna
www.jaggedlittledyl.com/essays

1:39 AM  

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