Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Feminism is the dirtiest word I know.

There's a time and a place for everything in life. Tonight is the night a show in Poland of all places has forced me to really come clean with myself. I don't really like to touch on feminist stuff because I used to feel that it's a personal issue and I do enough as it is supporting fellow female bands (and fronting my own!). There are such negative things associated with speaking your mind as a woman in rock. God forbid you are volatile like Courtney Love or borderline "too in love with the females" like smarter than most, Kathleen Hanna. That's right, I'm coming out and saying it, that there is an unspoken rule as a girl in music not to take too much of a stand. Uh, on anything. That's why most women in bands say "oh, we don't like to be seen as a girl band" or "gender doesn't matter in music"…That's such bullshit. It's sad because all this is to me is a cop out. You are too scared to be seen for what you are that you downplay it in hopes that it will go away. It's not going away!
Tonight what happened in Poland was destined to happen eventually. There's still a lot of wrong in the world that needs to be righted. I'm telling this story in hopes that the next time you see something wrong, you act on it, like I did, regardless of who you are. Female, male…in a band…working at the burger joint…we are all the same. I generally don't like to call myself a feminist and at the end of the day I love men just as much as the next chick, but things are not equal and I witnessed that at this show. I might be changing my title. Tonight in Poland we played an amazing show with the Adicts. I experienced firsthand the kind of discrimination I've been saying in interviews for years that I didn't really believe existed anymore. We tour, we play with guy bands. We are well respected. We're not hoes. We are positive role models for young women. Nothing we do suggests that we want anything other than your friendship and loyalty as a fan. Tonight we took the stage to a really really great crowd and 2 songs in I got to see that the double standard is alive & well in Poland apparently. There was a guy photog that tried to jump up on stage and actually stick his camera up my skirt. Like I wasn't even a real person or maybe like I was a stripper at a strip club?! Now, I need to note that I'm pretty tough and I brush off things that aren't a big deal, but there was a lot riding on this moment. There were so many little girls in the crowd…..more than I've seen at a show in a while. They were all cute and civetafied. I couldn't possibly stand down something like this. I did the only thing my instincts told me to do…Stand up for myself! I got some help from our road crew to grab him….but he gave some excuse and they let him go. I just wasn't really satisfied with that at all, and at the risk of looking like Courtney Love in the 90's I put my guitar down and let my sister take the next song. I climbed off stage and confronted the cowering bastard who was now in the back of the room….the details from here on out were not very important….I demanded the camera or it to be deleted. All in all it wasn't about the photo at all, cause everyone knows there's pics of me out there where you can see my shorts….yes everyone….I ALWAYS wear boy shorts under my skirt, so even when you think you saw something, it's shorts…congrats. It wasn't about the photo at all. It was about the fact that this person thought it was OK to violate someone's personal space and objectify them like that. What if that had been your mother or your sister onstage, how would you feel? Think about the rage my brother probably felt seeing that? If it was one of your own it would be a whole other story right? The majority of men I come across are pretty enlightened…they encourage their women to really live their lives, and there's a certain amount of respect there. Now I don't know if homeboy does this all the time or whaaatever, but it doesn't happen on my watch. I truly felt that in that moment, that if I didn't stand up for myself in front of all these women AND MEN who have respect for me, all would be lost. Everything I've worked for from day one….stolen, by someone who hadn't been taught how to treat women right. Blows my mind. I found that when I got in the crowd and in this persons face I wasn't "lowering myself" but I was standing up for everyone in that room. I was met by a lot of fans who grabbed him and got in his face as well. That support was resounding. It really struck a cord with me. Security took him outside and at the end of the show a woman came up and gave me a roll of film. That's right…a woman handed me the film.    
I went back onstage and played my little heart out, which is what I do every night. I played for all the little girls in the audience who had to witness that. I played it for the Polish men who were embarrassed that one of their favorite bands would come to their country and be disrespected like that. I played it for my future daughter….and my grandchildren and everyone who knows the truth…that just because we aren't living in the 50's anymore, doesn't mean that housewife mentality is gone. We just don't talk about it even though we should! You can't keep me in the kitchen, and you sure as hell can't keep me off the road.

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