punk phd / feminism / motherhood

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Feminist Magazines

I can't fully put my finger on it but this newly launched Feminist Times...I just don't like. Maybe it's the constant e-mails I kept getting from them during the run-up to the launch. The ones which read 'Thanks for the support' - completely oblivious to the fact I had just been deleting them as I went along. I think a bad taste was left in my mouth after the attempt to secure the Spare Rib title; something I completely disagreed with. It felt as though they were capitalising on this well known feminist 'brand' (I use the term loosely) which made me question the real motives behind FT. Finally going onto their online magazine (is there going to be a real-life publication in the future???), I was further irritated by their tag line "where have all the interesting women gone?" - I don't even know why because sometimes perhaps I wonder that in some sense of the question but...it just annoyed me.

And so I wait for the publication of LadyBeard (look it up on Facebook) on the 20th Oct.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Online Misogyny - connecting CHVRCHES and 'Women in Punk'

A recent Guardian piece by Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES speaks of the online misogyny experienced by Lauren, the singer of the band. Lauren illustrates this with some examples, referring to sexually explicit insults and threats. And as she rightly says - why should anyone have to put up with this?

This article reminded me of comments I'd witnessed about a week ago on the social networking site Facebook. I'm a member of page for the Maximum Rocknroll publication and they'd posted a link to a piece from the F Word blog on women in punk which went online a few years ago. 'Excellent' I thought since this is an area of particular interest for me and I was also impressd with MRR highlighting this piece, given that women musicians/bands in punk tend to receive less attention than their male counterparts. Seems others felt similar, given the 150 likes recieved on the Facebook link, however the initial comments showed a different story:
Ever hear of The Slits, X-Ray Spex, Penetration, The Banshees, Eve Libertine, Toyah Wilcox, the Raincoats, the Au Pairs and dozens of others?? Marginalized? Written out of mainstream histories? This gloomy piece of Women's Studies propaganda sounds like a fun read indeed!
Not only was it frustrating to see responses like this in a punk community (reasons for which will be elaborated upon below)...but just the lack of basis for the comments themselves. The original F Word piece by Cazz Blase highlights the fact that yes, women punk musicians and bands are often written out of mainstream histories or commentaries of the scene and in this particular piece, Blase is looking at public perceptions of punk and how they tend to ignore some of the key influential female musicians. Surely, punks would want to support the attempt to provide a more thorough and encompassing account of punk itself? 
Someone needs to take these hipsters' typewriters away from them. They should stick to writing about their own slovenly, dishwater-dull females and leave us out of their University-of-Phoenix-Liberal-Arts-quality screeds.
One reading of this comment could be that there is no sexism or marginalisation of women in punk therefore the study of this is not needed - something punk women themselves may have something to say about (see for instance 'Pretty in Punk' by Lauraine Leblanc) - however, I think what is meant is purely that the 'dishwater-dull females' in punk should be left alone. Lovely. There is the assumption that punk and academia should not mix - that the two are incompatible. This ignores the fact that most 'punk academics' are themselves punks, researching what they love and using such research to raise the 'real' profile of punk in mainstream academia and the press.
Seriously. Who wrote this drivel? What young novice self-ingratiating tinkler would take on a topic with such assumptions... Fool
Blase's piece is based on public responses and personal experience - something clearly stated in the article itself but a point which seems to have been entirely missed. It is worth considering whether a link to a piece on the position of men within punk per se would have elicited similar responses.

Online misogyny isn't picky. To me it was a little bit of a suprise to read such comments on the MRR page because despite knowing that sexism exists within the punk scene I guess on some level I still hold up punk as an example of a scene/subculture/name your poison where ideologies which promote, amongst other things, gender equality could be pursued. There's always exceptions I guess.