Sexism in the punk scene, a still necessary debate?
Around 10 years ago (I think), an English band of friends of mine invited me to go on tour with them in England. The situation was pretty cool because it allowed me to see what was happening in the punk scene outside of London (finally), the people’s attitude, the conversations, the difference from what I was used to in Europe, and especially in Italy.
Meanwhile, at home, other girls and I were in pure excitement for the release of our first collective feminist zine, “LesCostumizzed”, that dealt with different things and, in not suspicious times, threw into Friuli’s pit the theme of sexism and abuses during punk shows.
That’s a topic that I was familiar with and that I really wanted to have confrontations about. In the UK, however, it seemed like an “Italian problem”, like there was no such thing as men and women, only punx, and that the letch attitude was a culture that didn’t belong to them (kind of like Pizza and Mandolino you know). Basically zero problems there…
Wandering through tables full of distros, however, the stuff on display told a very different story. Flyers or zines talked about countless stories and statements from a lot of women who survived experiences, brutal ones as well, during live shows or festivals, and took a stand with the fact that safer places for everybody were needed.
Particularly I remember and still have a bunch of flyers with really curated graphics about consent and the “rape culture” in the English punk scene, self-made by the “Love sex, Hate sexism”. A collective born following a case of abuse in London, to raise awareness on sexism and sexual aggression within the community, but also share information on safe and conscious sexuality, because the self-protection of us and those around us is essential.
I think that shining the light on direct experiences is always the best way to raise a problem that would otherwise remain invisible and it’s also cathartic for the people who share their stories.
A call to share stories
I’d like to drop a call for anyone to share stories, thoughts, reflections, expectations put to paper, testimony or drawings or whatever you feel like doing, that could serve as a starting point to criticize and make amends in the punk scene, or in the bigger DIY scene, to make sure that the community we live in has a solid base, and to demonstrate that claiming to be anti-sexism, or fighting against homophobia, transphobia and so one should not be just a cool slogan to hold on to, but a way to build spaces that are truly safe for everyone.
If you have stories you feel like talking about, or if you have any question (or suggestion about how we could talk about it), then send me a mail at email@example.com
If you’re good at the drawing we could create some flyers to bring at concerts or expose in our distros, just like the aforementioned ones!