The Girl at the Rock Show
What we go through and what we worry about.
Music is something that has been a part of my life since before I was born. My parents were so heavily immersed in the Heavy Metal scene, they were sure I would be holding up those horns as soon as I opened my eyes. While it didn't happen quite that quick, I made my way to the "dark side" if you will. I have been attending concerts in general since I was 13 years old. They quickly became my safe haven. As I got older my music taste progressed and I started going to shows with harder crowds and faster riffs, and I enjoyed it all the same if not more. If you want to see the real me, you'll have to meet me at the barricade.
Rock music and its subgenres are where I find the most joy when it comes to music. This genre is DOMINATED by males in both the music, crew, and fanbase. However, with all music, there is a fair amount of women and girls in the fanbase. We like to headbang too you know. We go to these shows with our friends to make memories and meet the artists we know and love. We want to escape the world with some angry music just as much as your neighbor's son does.
We go to these shows to let out our own aggression and have fun for ourselves, yet that almost always seems to get undermined by inappropriate actions in the crowd. These can be simply just overly aggressive as we are often seen as weaker than all the big bad boys in the crowd, or they can be sexual. Women are groped, harassed, and annoyed to no end in metal show crowds for hundreds of reasons. These reasons arguably all stem from blatant sexism in which men don't know how to respectfully engage with women when they don't conform to what is expected.
This doesn't stop with fans, however, as 2020 alone has brought many sexual assault allegations to light from bands themselves. Bands such as A Day To Remember, SWMRS, and connections to allegations from Neverkept's Dorian Cooke with members of the band Sleep On It. So what does this all mean? What does it make women think?
I want to be able to go to a show and have a good time. I want to be able to enjoy the heavy music that I love without a man three times my size pushing all of his weight against me because he knows I can't do anything about it. I would like to enjoy a rock show with my friend without having to hear her be told "well you're too small to be up here anyway so if I accidentally beat you up pretty good, you kinda asked for it." I want to be able to meet an artist without concern that they have ulterior motives for me, my friends, or any other female that walks through the meet and greet. I want to be able to get press passes without fear of being taken less seriously because I am a young girl.
Women are scared to be women publicly and rightfully so. We carry pepper spray, hold our keys between our fingers when we walk back to our cars, we check the back seats as soon as we get in the car, we are taught to never leave our drinks unattended, never go anywhere alone, make sure we wear modest clothing, all in an attempt to keep ourselves safe from male assault. We deal with this every day, and then we go to a concert to escape and what are we met with? Another checklist to make sure we keep ourselves safe.
Can we ever have a break? Can we ever just go to a show or a party and be ourselves? It seems as though we can, but not without consequences. Sure there are artists that are speaking out against these actions and are vowing to keep their shows a safe space for their female fans, but do they really expect us to believe that at first? I hate doubting people's intentions, but how can I not when all the evidence so far, is heavy to the contrary?
I will continue to go to shows because I have fallen in love with my experiences so far. However, I am eager for the day when I can go with no concerns, no reservations, and no fear for other women. I hope we get there sooner rather than later.