In Defence of The Genre. A Reply to Vice


In Defence of The Genre.
A Reply to Vice.

The more we talk about sexism, the better. As with most issues borne out of ignorance, education and exposure are the quickest and most effective ways to impact a positive change. That said, recently any article that details what harm women/men/the industry are having on gender equality are being hoisted up high and celebrated as a wake up call for the world. Not only does this pollute the ever-growing interest in how women are viewed by society, ill-informed arguments undermine the intelligent ones, but is also distracts the audience with in-fighting. A bad feminist is always better than a good sexist.

One such article is the recently published Vice piece ‘Britain’s Alt-Rock Scene is Sexist and Keeping Lad Culture Alive.’

You can read it here but the jist of the piece is that ‘Alt-Rock’ clubs like ‘Facedown’ and ‘Uprawr’ are responsible for a thriving ‘Lad Culture’ scene, while it dies out in the mainstream. It questions how women can fit into the ‘Alt-Rock’ scene when it’s skewed in a certain way, then calls for bands to stop playing the aforementioned clubs and stop doing interviews with ‘Front Magazine’, even though it stopped being published some eight months ago.

While it raises some good points, club photographers are mostly dirt, the thrust of the article is wrong. Here’s why.

First things first, the ‘Bullet Girls’ that quickly become the antagonists of the scene setting opening aren’t advertised as one of the attractions of Facedown. The crowd that watches them, made up of both men and women, are drawn to the club for the bands and the music. That said, the clubs that give the article a majority of its ammunition, ‘Facedown’ and ‘Uprawr’, aren’t really ‘Alt-Clubs’. I don’t think any establishment that plays three ‘Avril Lavigne’ songs in one evening or hosts a ‘TOWIE’ theme night comes close to being classed as alternative. They’re mainstream clubs that play ‘New Found Glory’ but that’s a small issue when compared to the damning assassination of women who like ‘alternative’ music.

You see, the ‘alternative’ world isn’t a place where girls are “sidelined, tokenised, dismissed or fetishised.” Go to almost any gig that falls under the umbrella of ‘alternative rock’ and you’ll find women shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. Kerrang!, the closets thing to an alternative music magazine this country has, has a 45% female readership. And let’s not start listing the inspirational women spearheading the scenes current renaissance.

It’s not Britain’s ‘Alt-Rock’ scene keeping ‘Lad Culture’ alive, it’s an epidemic that’s running rampant through the mainstream, despite Vice’s insistence that it’s dying out. ‘Lad Bible’, ‘Kasabian’ and ‘Top Gear’ are all alive and well, as is their expansive fanbase and banter is a lifestyle choice for many, undermining the argument that the ‘Alt Rock’ scene is one of its final outposts. For a subculture so reliant on the witty stuff, why would it thrive in scene based around loud music. It begs the question, if a Lad banters in a club, and no one can hear it, is it still crass?

Somewhere amidst the issues with ‘Front’ and ‘Uprawr’s’ social media strategy, the article begs the question, “If you’re just the average female music fan, how do you fit in?”

Sexism is a problem across the musical spectrum and beyond. You’re going to find guys who feel like women are beneath them, regardless of the music they listen to. The nostalgia clubs, under the guise of alternative music, aren’t the cause nor are they the sustenance. Not buying clothes from Big Deal isn’t going to make them go away. Educating the perpetrators will. Standing together against their ignorance will make a difference.

The question shouldn’t be about how the average female music fan can fit in, because from what I’ve seen they already do. But that’s not what’s wrong with the Vice article. Once again, it’s being left to women to fit in, rather then being welcomed. It’s another sad example of women attacking women, in the name of feminism. It’s asking for bands to further reduce their exposure and join an almost pointless picket.

The questions should be pointed at the individuals who have this archaic mindset, but you’ll be hard pushed to find many in our ‘alternative’ scene.


~ by justdip on 21/10/2014.

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