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:
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?
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
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.
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.