Punk Rock Fails Sometimes

So check this out, I have a dumb crush on Lauren Denitzio, formerly of The Measure (SA). I mean, that’s weird and I admit that’s weird. I’ve never met her, I only “know” her through her art work and music, both of which I respond to very positively. It’s not some kind of lusty, sexual, active type of crush. But I’m a dude that likes ladies. I don’t actually often respond with silly crushes to women in rock. I actually actively keep those feelings in check, because music and love do not mix for me. I am the kind of guy that if you go to a show with me, I am probably going to ignore you the whole time. I am very purpose driven at the rock and roll concert. I judge people on the type of music they listen to, unfairly, and as such, could never date a lady that was too geeky and OCD about music. That’s kind of dumb, but the last thing I want to do is be such an asshole that I break up with someone because they say something negative about Lifetime. That’s just not cool, but that’s the kind of dumbass guy I am.

Laura wrote this a while ago about sexism in punk rock. Punknews reposted it on their site here. A lot of dumbass boys got offended. Okay, I should come clean and say, I didn’t read many of the comments. I just see a comment thread of 419 posts and I know that there are some dumbass boys so volatile and hostile to any challenge to their violent, sexist status quo, that they all anonymously go apeshit on a message board on the internet.

So what do I think? This is my blog anyway, right? I think Laura is right on in every point she makes. Her essay is pretty positive and congratulatory to the punk rock scene. Of all the essays I’ve read scribed by ladies, this one had less of a negative bight. And yet, even with the sugarcoating (I beleive out of diplomacy more than anything) these little boys can’t take any criticism to heart. The true problem is, like religion, sexism is bashed into people’s heads before they are cognizant and able to comprehend and challenge the ideas. Then, when these boys reach an age where they have actually face their actions, they don’t have the tools to self evaluate and reject what is now inherit in them. This isn’t an excuse, so much as an attempt at an explanation. Each individual is responsible for their actions and the evaluation of those actions. It’s a shame this isn’t really taught, just left for everyone to figure out on their own. Most people never do.

Punk rock is nothing more than a microcosm of regular society. As much as it helps me personally to have a bunch of other weirdos to commiserate about depression and loneliness and alienation, it does no good as a culture to continually alienate others. Further, I am tired of the burden of criticism always falling on the responsibility of the few women and non-whites to call the white boys out on their bullshit. Sure, I’ve met plenty of men/boys who are the exact opposite of the punk rock status quo, trying to create and help facilitate spaces that are inviting and safe to all types of people. But the exception is far outweighed by the rule. There is little in the music or the message that is intended to be off putting to curious people, but the culture, like almost all cultures in western society, has a serious degree of bullshit to deal with. It’s time us boys start dealing with it.

One thought on “Punk Rock Fails Sometimes

  1. I’m not in the “punk” (or any music) scene enough to know how inherently sexist it is. I can say it doesn’t surprise me to hear these descriptions and I have to say it’s amusingly consistent with observations of sexism in the comic book world (mostly stores featuring material that would make any woman uncomfortable and the effect that material has on most of its consumers.) The sexism is there, just not explicit or something that’s necessarily intentional on the part of the purveyors so much as a deep rooted, inherent element of the culture.

    That’s the worst part of it, though. And it leads to a chicken-and-the-egg problem. The only way that sexism became ingrained in the culture was because there weren’t enough women around to prevent it from taking root in the first place (would punk guys have taken to casually referring to women as “bitches” if half the crowd was women?). So were the women not there because of the sexism?

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