I thought it was just me

Years ago, I got knocked down, punched and kicked in the ribs in a mosh pit at an X show. Apparently this is how some people treat women who dare to go to live shows:

Most women who frequently attend live shows will tell you that they have been harassed, groped or assaulted as they listen to their favorite bands. A standing-room-only show, when you’re wedged into a massive crowd fueled by beer and testosterone, is particularly scary. There seems to be a spectrum of violence that women experience at live shows, ranging from misogynist verbal harassment to sexual assault. Sometimes, it means being called a “fat bitch” by a guy who wants to cut in front of you in line at the bar. Other times it involves being forcefully shoved across a raging mosh pit by someone three times your size, or being touched inappropriately as you try to crowd-surf. These may seem like harmless little interactions, something that should just be expected in a rowdy crowd. But every time one of these acts of violence occurs, in their varying degrees of severity, it has the same effect: making women feel scared or vulnerable as they enjoy the bands that they love.

In the past few years, there have been a torrent of stories in the news in which women are abused, assaulted or raped at live shows. Earlier this year, video surfaced of Afroman decking a woman who jumped up on his stage to dance. Last year, Tim McGraw slapped a fan who grabbed his leg across the face. Even though the actions of both of these women were completely unjustified, the artists responded with violence. In the experience of many female fans, the men whom they share space with at shows can cross that line, too.

The author goes on to say how it’s assumed that women at these stories are “just groupies.” I was never a groupie; I had lots of musician friends but it simply wouldn’t occur to me to sleep with any of them. It just wasn’t my thing, I was there for the music.

Now that I read this, I realized I stopped going to these kind of shows after this happened. Maybe it’s just safer to go to singer-songwriter shows.

2 thoughts on “I thought it was just me

  1. I have hardly ever been to a live show (I remember John Prine at Wolftrap, and that’s about all I can come up with) so I have little relevant experience. But I can tell you that just going to a straight bar for a man can get you all of the above on the regular, except for the sexual assault parts. Maybe chivalry is dead, but as for being elbowed and pushed and getting baited into fights by drunks looking for trouble, well, welcome to our world.
    Which is why I mostly stuck to gay bars in my day. My straight brother went to his first gay bar and his reaction was “gee, it is just like a straight bar as far as the male to female ratio (i.e. predominantly male) except much friendlier and the guys aren’t acting like assholes nearly as much.
    As for women in bars, they do a lot of asshole things that they think are perfectly acceptable, and then get surprised when people don’t like it. Such as, in crowded bars, they will hold hands and form a chain, and then force their ways thru the crowd, causing spilled drinks and major annoyance. Some of them also have very big bottoms, with low centers of gravity, which leads to a lot of drink spilling too since it is harder to balance your drink when you get bumped by them. Not to mention high heels, which makes them even more wobbly. Instead of turning themselves sideways to fit thru narrow openings, they just plow on thru.
    Lesson: stay away from crowds with drunks, music or no music. And if you have to be told to stay away from anywhere with crowd surfing or mosh pits, then you are probably hopeless. I would say stick to Indigo Girl concerts, but I can’t even vouch that lesbian concerts wouldn’t have that sort of thing too. Although my straight brother loves him some lesbians and he has never reported problems at those concerts.
    But the example of Tim McGraw about is completely inappropriate in that article. Grabbing a performer (or anybody) by the leg is assault on his body. Slapping her in the face was perfectly acceptable. She was lucky she didn’t get a kick in the face, which is what I would have done. If a man did that to a woman, he would be sitting in jail facing charges. If a man did that to Beyonce on stage, he would have got nearly killed by her security detail.

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