11.07.2016

WHITE FEMINISM IN PUNK

Punk's roots are in politics. We want to other ourselves. Our goal? To not think like our parents, like our classmates; to cleave ourselves from society at large. We consume knowledge because what is handed to us never satisfies. Punk is very "anti" in its political stances, ergo making it all too easy to pretend you really get what politics are about when really you're the kind of person we would like to burn at the stake for the way you think.
Anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-big business, anti-government... The list goes on.

On the subject of anti-sexism, punks take a few different shapes. There's the men who fit into these archetypes:
Type One: completely oblivious to politics, hates women but still want their dick sucked so they learn a few words to not seem like an out-right misogynist.
Type Two: genuinely interested in learning the inner workings of what navigating life as a woman is like and they actually listen to the plight of their scene-mates.
Type Three: somewhere in between those two, your run of the mill guy. 

Next we have the women:
Type One: filled to the brim with internalized misogyny, sees all other women as competition.
Type Two: knows a thing or two about feminism but doesn't make everything about gender.
Type Three: the White* feminist who claims to support all girls, but really doesn't give a fuck about anyone outside their immediate friend group unless that person can give them more social capital.

Now when I say *White feminist I do not mean a feminist who is of European descent. I mean a feminist whose agenda only furthers, talks about the issues of, or comforts White women. The first instance of this that's well-documented is the Riot Grrl movement which originated from Olympia, WA in the 90s. Those bands and the people involved only cared about themselves and people like them - White women. By only helping and caring about themselves they thought, in their self-centered brains, that they were helping everyone. This was not the case.

That line of thinking hasn't died, in fact it's only gained ground both in the scene and outside of it. In the scene its newest face is that of Sisterhood - the name of the Facebook group of the girls involved in "Girls to the Front", a movement that allegedly is supposed to make women feel like they belong in hardcore. The idea is noble, but senseless. These girls are ruining decades of progress by crying to be coddled and judged on a different scale. Where is the fight? Every other minority in this scene takes whatever we want. We want a band with people who look like us? We start it. We want a fanzine made? We make it. There is no time to complain when you could easily just get these things done yourself. Sisterhood is setting everyone back by saying "girls need support in hardcore" for the simple that fact that anyone whose done their homework knows that women have been here since the very beginning of the genre, and it is a Black woman who invented the sound of Rock n Roll that led us here at all. Women don't need help, we aren't children nor are we weaklings. We might just need encouragement for those of us raised in weaker ways.

The punk scene has been and always will be as diverse as real life. This place isn't as exclusive as you'd like to think it is and there are plenty of people involved who need to be political to survive. Being well-versed in issues of racism, sexism, etc. isn't optional for a lot of us, so to see people who can choose whether or not to care doing it half-assedly and in a way that creates yet another dichotomy of "us and them" is infuriating.

Your typical White feminist punk only associates with people deemed cool based on current trend, walks on eggshells, and likes to make a big show of calling people out for things they ignore about their own friends. They often take up the easiest forms of activism available to them. Vocabulary policing, repeating simple slogans, and never do they have to be intellectually honest. These people aren't speaking on actual problems all women in hardcore face, rarely are they even acknowledging them. They want to solve the crime of "oppression" of women in hardcore when in reality it's a crime of how a certain percentage of them were raised.

In the process of trying to save themselves from what is essentially the cult of domesticity that makes society raise women as weak, scared, and naive, they alienate, offend, and further marginalize everyone they claim to be fighting for in one fell swoop. They have a selfish view of what it means to be oppressed, often not understanding the meaning of the word but intellectual dishonesty kicks in and they throw it around loosely to strengthen their arguments. They use "oppressed" where, if they had any concept of actual feminist issues, they would be using "stifled." One could argue that women in hardcore who don't have the spine to just do whatever they want are stifled, one cannot say women in hardcore are oppressed because that requires a few things hardcore doesn't have. A government, for one.

At the end of the day, you can choose to be as political as you want. That's the beauty of punk, we're supposed to think for ourselves. However, if your politics only concern yourself and your problems, not problems that relate to you as you are part of any group, then you may want to step off that pedestal people have placed you on before you fall and get hurt.