Warped Tour was amazing (Orlando, 06/30/17). The lineup was full of badass punk bands like one of my favorites War on Women. In true riot grrrl fashion I was up front and the lead singer Shawna handed me the mic and let me sing! Then we went to their merch tent afterward and I got to talk with her for a little bit. I also saw ate Ataris, Bad Cop Bad Cop, Adolescents (one of my favorite old school punk bands and they fucking killed it!!), & Municipal Waste (for a little bit, I had to go sit down before their set was done because I was overheating). I saw Anti-Flag too & they were so politically charged and intense it was amazing. I’ve been a fan of their music for a long time and their show had so much energy. Not only that but they all seemed really down to earth and invited their audience to come meet them by their merch tent after their set so we stopped over to say hi. I finished out the night by seeing our intergalactic overlords GWAR & holy shit was it amazing. They blessed us with the blood of our enemies!! They put on such an amazing show it’s just so insanely fun. I got to go with my friends Mercutio and Kenny who I love and who I had so much fun with. The whole day was just amazing.
As far as the War on Women/Dickies controversy goes I wanted to say that I don’t get what everyone’s issue with “political correctness” is. Like it’s just not being an asshole to other people. That’s it. The right wingers have taken that term and use it anytime something happens they don’t agree with and so now it’s a scapegoat for people who don’t understand that their actions and words can have an impact on oppressed groups. Like oh no punks becoming too politically correct because some riot grrrls don’t want 40+ year old men talking about fucking 13 year olds on stage!!! 😱😱😱😱 like give me a break. When punk started it was about rebelling against social norms and injustices but the number of women, queer people, and people of color in punk was small. That means a group of largely straight white men were fighting against governments and religions & corporations that were oppressing them and holding them down. And that was great, it’s not their fault that they may have had some misguided views on women and queer folks because they weren’t exposed to them that often. But it’s 2017, and there are a TON of women, queers, and people of color in the punk scene and I think the older generations are just grumpy and refuse to acknowledge their own problematic attitudes. Like take Descendents for instance, one of my favorite bands mind you, they have some songs that are very sexist and mildly homophobic from back in the day. But you know now that they’re older they understand that that isn’t the kind of message they want to put out there because those were written when they were teenagers and young adults with little knowledge and experience. So now they don’t play some of those songs live and they’ll change some of the words when they do (like songs that say “fag”). It’s not some big scary demon called “political correctness” it’s realizing that older attitudes you may have had can be problematic, hurtful, and oppressive to others who are apart of your community. And I understand that that is the Dickies gimmick is being sexually inappropriate and acting immature, I really do and I don’t hold that much issue with their music I just am not really into it, but they’re being sexually inappropriate directly to young girls in their audience, and they’re 40+ year old men. Like directly telling the young girls “I want to fuck you” or telling the moms with their kids “I want to snort viagra off your daughter’s ass”. That’s kind of creepy. And one woman stood off to the side to protest them and the lead singer lost his shit. This isn’t that woman trying to silence the dickies it’s them trying to silence her. He screamed at and insulted her for over a minute and led the crowd in a chant of “blow me”. It could’ve very easily ended badly for that woman if she persisted because the crowd was willing (obviously) to do anything he said. He used insults and derogatory terms to silence this woman. And, they were not kicked off the tour for this they were never scheduled to play the entire tour and this was their last date. Being shocking and vulgar in punk rock is a valid thing, when it’s used properly to attack systems of power, not when it’s used to target or silence women, queer folk, and people of color. You look at bands like GWAR that uses shock value to speak out against the corporate elites, against meaningless war and violence by making a mockery of it. You look at Municipal Waste who sell a t-shirt with Trump brutally blowing his brains out. Shock performance is punk rock when it’s used against the elites, the government, the corporations, but when it’s used against people who are already oppressed you turn into the very types of people you wanted to rebel against. And it’s just reflective of the way men treat women in our society, if a woman disagrees with a man they’re likely to flip shit and begin to call them a “slut” “whore” “cunt” or whatever and just lose their mind. That’s one of the biggest issues here is that his whole rant was just insanely misogynistic. One woman held up a sign during his set and he freaked the fuck out. Honestly, it’s something reflective of what Trump and millions of other men do.
I think what War on Women is doing with their organization Safer Scenes is really amazing. They’re out their promoting a punk scene that is safe for women, queer folk, & PoC. They show people how to be better allies and how to step up and defend people when they face discrimination. I’m a transgender woman and I’ve only been going to punk shows as my true self for about a year but I’ve faced a lot of harassment in that short time. For example once I was outside a venue smoking a cigarette and an old man started talking to me about wanting to fuck me and take me home with him & he was touching my waist. I was so worried about what he would do if I straight up rejected him. Luckily a friend of mine came out and I was able to make it clear to him I needed him to take me inside and he did. But this happens all the time to women in & out of the punk scene. Not only am I worried about being sexually harassed or assaulted but also about being clocked as transgender and having a transphobe attack me or hurt me. I’ve seen a white boy walk around saying the N word and then make out with the black girl who he met at the show. I’ve seen neo nazis come out to shows. Women, queer folks, and people of color helped to build the punk scene from the very beginning and we’re a huge part of it now. We deserve to feel safe in this community we’re a part of and that prides itself on standing up to oppressors and to the fucked up shit in the world. Punk rock is about unity and saying “fuck you” to those who keep you down because you’re an outcast, it isn’t about hurting those in your community because of who they are.