I am usually the only girl on the lineup – (unless we are playing with the brilliant Veils,www.veilshc.bandcamp.com) but I don’t ever see being on stage or in a band as a spotlight on my gender.
I see it as a great leveller- I am not a girl amongst boys, I am a musician amongst a band. Being female will neither cover me if I mess up a bass break, nor does it make my slides better than the male bassist playing after us.
The other boys in the band are the best band mates I could ever ask for. They are fiercely feminist , pro gay rights and vegan, and they taught me to not ever back down, or apologise for this. They give me absolute confidence to walk into a dingy room full of hardcore / metal men and give out my feminist zine – but not through any pep talks ,or ever starting fights in a display of machism with anyone who held opposing views.
They gave me this confidence by working hard and making tight music with gut-feeling emotional equal rights lyrics, driving 4 hours after work to a show, setting up, playing a sweet set and screaming their thoughts to a room full of people, jumping around lots, and driving home to get up for work at 9am.
I love taking my zine Ghost Fuck www.ghostfuckzine.tumblr.com to shows, because I feel we can play a set which sets out who we are and what we think, but then people can take away the zine and expand on where those thoughts come from. Particularly my feminist ones. Shows are a dizzying, fast and sociable thing. I want people to get cut with an idea at a show, then examine the wound at home (so to speak.).
I have only experienced spectacular sexism a handful of times. We were coming out of practise, carrying our gear, and one of the guys waiting to use the practice room after us said to his middle age balding mate ‘ah, remember when we had girlfriends to carry our stuff around for us?’
I remember putting up footage from my first show in Bristol (which was nuts) and proudly labelling it ‘My first show with Witch Cult, carrying their stuff.’
No, I don’t really ever ‘get involved’ in the pits at shows in an attempt to level myself with the guys squishing each other up. Yeah – I am scared you will hurt my boobs to be honest. I have never felt the need to deny this and prove that I can be ‘up there’ with the ‘real hardcore kids’. I love watching the chaos, watching the bass player play, talking to people on merch stands and learning new things – that’s how I enjoy a show. I usually get home afterwards, make a nice cup of tea, and watch Eastenders.
To any girls wanting to play hardcore or punk music – you have an incredible advantage. A higher pitched voice that will cut though all this male gutteral screaming – use it! After that, its all down to musicianship and working hard.
I am not scared of ever getting sexist heckles at shows. I definitely can’t hear you over the sound of my big muff.