Girls to the Front

NPR is asked, “Are Tall People Obligated To Stand In The Back At Concerts?

They mostly get it right: The only obligation tall people have in concerts is the same one the rest of us have, to do everything you can to be “good and courteous neighbors.” 

Frequently, though, that’s not what happens.

In the early ’90s, Kathleen Hanna noticed that it was women that get pushed to the side at concerts, and made Bikini Kill concerts a place where women got a chance to participate, with her rallying cry, “Girls to the front!” She made literal and figurative space for women at punk shows to be full participants, instead of being bystanders to larger, more aggressive, male concert-goers who angled for space and attention in front of the stage. This is a famous story, a key political moment in modern music, and a known issue, so it seems weird that the discussion around this article completely overlooks the gender angle.  

My experience is that for this very reason, as a lady, when ladies tend to be shorter than men, live music shows can be a drag because you can’t see the act. Every live show I’ve attended, without exception unless seating was assigned, I’ve been elbowed out of the way of the stage by people bigger than me, and pushed to the side of the room. These folks tend to be men. And as a thing that happens to women at concerts, being literally pushed to the side by male fans exacerbates the cultural impression in rock and punk scenes that female fans aren’t real fans, because the real fans are at the front of the crowd.

H/T to Cathryn for the link.

bikini killfeminismkathleen hannamusicpunk

Lauren Bruce • August 17, 2015

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