by Kate Whittle
So there's a woman named Sarah O'Holla running a blog called "My Husband's Stupid Record Collection" where she listens to the records they've been toting around their entire married lives. (I found this via Megan Seling, a supremely awesome music writer and miniature-things-baked-into-cupcakes-baker over at Slog.)
O'Holla's writing is funny and totally hits the mark sometimes, like here, about garage rock, "It makes you want to dance in a cool way, like a little jolty and stiff." And she's stoked about an Au Pairs record with a fertility temperature chart on it: "I think because when music, especially rock music can be so male-centric and often misogynist, it’s so refreshing to see something 'just for women' put out there, with no explanation, and no connection to the album other than the fact that women are writing this music, playing this music and singing this music."
So far so good, k. But when she gets to Anthrax, she basically sums up everything that has ever made me want to pull my hair out:
It’s oddly beautiful, but I feel like it’s really hard for girls to get to know this kind of music. I would NEVER want to see this band live, even though I’m really liking the music. It would be too violent and too dangerous, and that sucks. And yet I’m not blaming the people who feel the need to get “caught in a mosh,” upon hearing this. It’s probably exhilarating, but sitting on the couch listening to it is fun in a totally different way. Why does music have to be such a division of the sexes sometimes?
Firstly, it's ridiculous to assign music as being for men or women, especially based on how loud or aggressive or violent it is. Men and women can both be aggressive and loud and violent. Or soft and gentle. Or a mix of all those traits. Nobody fits the definitions of the gender binary perfectly.
Secondly, not all metal/rock shows look like this:
If anything, they're closer to this:
I get why people are put off by aggressive, loud rock and metal shows, particularly if you're smaller or shorter. It's fine to watch from the sidelines.
But for the most part, energetic, aggressive music has meant the whole world to me, as a human being needing an outlet. And not every pit is the same; I will stay the hell away from karate-kickers at Code Orange Kids shows, for instance, but I'll dive right in for Kylesa or Tacocat. [All bands with women in them, BTW.] Mosh pits are also the one place in this world where being a tall, heavier chick is actually an asset. I can hold my own.
So it drives me nuts when people don't think girls can or should like aggressive music, although probably the worst derision comes from within the ranks; that is, punk and metal dudes who look down on chicks who want to be involved in it. To them I say: this is stuff I like, and I like it in my own way, and you don't get to tell me how to like it.
K, rant over. P.S., been listening to S.H.I.T.'s Collective Unconscious 7-inch on Iron Lung Records today and it rules.
P.P.S. and Helms Alee, a heavy-as-fuck band with ladies in it, is playing the ZACC tonight. Their music is pretty to listen to while sitting on a couch, *and* while fist-pumping with sweaty people.
A previous version of this post appeared on Missoula Punk News.