Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Ok, so my husband and I go to a lot of punk rock shows. As a result we hang out with a bunch of younger people, ten or more years younger, and sometimes the differences between us and them looms up and smacks me in the face.
So, the other night we went to a show, and it got pretty boisterous, but the worst was this big guy who had to be at least 6’2″, who kept trying to crowd surf on a tiny crowd in a little club. Now, I hate crowd surfing as much as anyone, but apart from this one jackass I didn’t think it was that bad.
But when one of the other women started talking about how unsafe the whole thing made her feel, I was kind of flummoxed. I mean the guy was an ass, and he did keep falling into and onto people, but by and large, the scene is friendly, welcoming, and the pits, while they get exuberant, I’ve never seen anyone get hurt or a serious fight break out. But then I thought about it for awhile, and realized that my perception was pretty badly skewed, concerning what “that bad” means.
I come out of the metal and grunge scenes of the late 80s/early 90s.
When someone fucked with you in the pit, you fucked back. Harder. Especially if you were a girl and wanted to be taken seriously at all. One of the reasons (apart from being old and the knees not digging it anymore) I stay out of the thick of the pit is that I still have those reflexes, from the days when it was expected that if someone pissed you off, you’d hit them. Hard.
I went forward once, and caught myself before I slugged a kid who was just having a good time. After that, I stay back and play pit police.
Back in the metal days, that big guy trying to get up on the crowd would have caused it to part like the Red Sea and drop him face first onto the floor.
It was a far meaner, angrier and harsher scene.
I’m used to angry pits. Like the one my buddy Kayo got his nose broken in, during Soundgarden, just after Bad Motorfinger released. I’m used to fighting for my place, especially as a girl in a mostly male scene. I never crowd surfed because I saw it as just another chance for assholes to get in free gropes, when I was already fending off enough grabby hands with both feet on the floor. It was also a way for douchebags to shift the girls from the front to the back. So, no. I fought my way to this barricade, and I am staying on this barricade, and if you don’t get your fucking hand off my shoulder I will bite you, because I can’t let go of this barricade or I’ll get swept back. And so will my male best friend, who is relying on me not letting go because I’m bigger and stronger. So fucking quit yanking on me.
That was at Slayer in 1989, btw.
Finally this huge dude parked himself behind me, probably after he saw me bite that one guy, reached around me, locked his hands on the barricade on either side of me, and didn’t try to rub up on my ass at all. I really wish I knew his name. I saw him at a couple more shows before the supremacy of metal truly gave way to grunge. He’d give me the nod, and then be off to shelter some other girl gutsy and tough enough to fight to the fore.
I can sucker punch with the best of them.
And there’s a reason I wore studded leather cowboy boots. Primarily those assholes who thought it was ok to rub up on my ass with their hard-ons. Just a step back, and grind, and “Oh, was that your foot?! I’m sorry, the crowd motion, you know.” *beam*
Then it dawned on me. And I think this is something a lot of older Feminists forget. The younger women and Feminists don’t remember when it was “that bad.” They know the times that came after, and they see the things that are still “that bad” that we might ignore because they aren’t as bad as what we remember as bad. And I realize that this probably does sound a little like, “You damn kids, get offa my lawn!” But that isn’t it at all.
Because we fought back against things, like being sexually assaulted when you went to see your favorite band, and that just being the way it was, they are free to fight against other things that can be just as toxic or harmful. So, we need to remember not to dismiss the younger generation when they’re fighting issues we didn’t think were that big a deal back in the day. Because we cleared the way for those “not a big deal issues” to be a big deal, and that’s good. Change is gradual, and good.