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    Girls to the Front

    I debated posting this, especially as a first entry, since I originally wanted this website/blog to document my creative endeavors.  However, I've re-realized how much my experiences influence the content of my art, especially when it comes to feeling oppressed, neglected or even regaled for my gender.  I wish that my gender didn't affect how I identify as myself or how I am viewed as an artist or filmmaker, but it does.  I've been flying my feminist flag since I was 13 and could fully understand what that meant.  In order to vanquish gender roles, we must analyze the differences that we ourselves have created and developed over centuries.  Most men won't do this, because it means losing some of their privilege, so it's up to us womyn to attempt to change the world.  Which brings me to this post:


    I've known it. I've said it. I've cheered it. But I never really understood how it felt, until this past weekend at Austin City Limits while moshing to Death From Above.  I've always felt like a bi-product of that statement.  It was something I whole-heartedly agreed with, but I didn't have to fight for it.  I grew up in Lafayette, LA, to most people it seems like a small town that is possibly full of rednecks and coonasses.  In fact, it has it's own, completely individual culture which I think has a lot to do with why we all manage to grow up pretty fantastic there.  Besides being the capital of Acadiana and a prominent area of Cajun culture, it has also always had a thriving art, music and theatre culture. It's film community is even growing.  As a teenager, I ran around with fellow visual artists, actors, writers and musicians.  Although most of the bands were male-dominated, the audience never was. I experienced an extreme amount of respect and equality as a teenager that I can't seem to find as an adult.

    The first mosh pit I was in at 15 was more that half womyn and most of us were barefoot (if that gives you an idea of what type of kids we were).  I spent a week nursing multiple bruises on the tops of my feet, but I loved it, it was worth it.  I've been in all kinds of pits since then and I've even met some that I didn't like.  It was never because of feeling outnumbered or uncomfortable with the group, but more because I wasn't a fan of the way they were moshing.  A good example of one of these times was when I went to my first ska show after moving to New Orleans.  I would describe the moshing they were doing as hardcore flailing while skanking in a circle.  I personally don't like potentially getting punched or kicked which would have happened if I went in, so I stood on the edge and helped keep the circle.  I've even been in the only girl in the pit before, this also happened after I moved to New Orleans.  I never felt uncomfortable with the guys though.  I tend to avoid pits at big music festivals, just because I've been outside and active all day and I have a blood sugar problem.  I have been in a few, my favorite was at Voodoo Music Experience for Rage Against the Machine (2007).  That was probably one of the greatest pits I've ever been in.  One of the guys moshing with me said it right, 'Let's keep this nice guys! Keep your elbows in! Pick 'em up, if they get knocked down!' I had a blast and was the only girl in the pit.  I don't think I had been in a pit at big music festival, other than Festival International de Louisiane, since that Voodoo Fest.

    This past weekend, I attended Ausin City Limits(2011), my work bought my Sunday pass as my graduation present.  I pretty much only went to see Death From Above.  I adore Death From Above.  They had already broken up when I was of age to go to concerts and they weren't coming any closer to me than Austin.  I got my pass in June, if you spoke to me from then on, you pretty much had to talk about DFA with me.  So, basically, I was way too pumped.  My friends and I got to the stage a half an hour early and were a little less than halfway from the stage to the sound tent.  As soon as they started up with Turn It Out a pit broke out.  I do have to hand it to this pit, they were fairly appropriate, they dispersed when it wasn't applicable to a song, they were mostly slamming, but there were a few guys in it that seemed like they wanted damage. There were also a few, very obviously, uneducated moshers.  For most of the show, I settled for the edge, it gave me enough room to thrash and sing along at my own pace.  It also allowed me to breathe, get water when I needed it and take some pictures.  Around halfway through the set, I think for Blood on Our Hands, I decided I wanted to go in.  So I cut my way through and start going at it.  Right after I get in, I notice this guy come in after me and then everytime I turn around, he is directly behind me and shoving me as hard as he possibly can.  I don't know if he was consciously gunning for me, but if he wasn't, that's worse to me.  I didn't do anything to this guy and I hold my own in pits.  So after about the fourth time that this specific guy hits me, I decide to get out.  Right after I got out, he got out too.  This seemed to happen a lot to the girls who would decide to get in the pit.  I don't want to be the one to call foul, but there was just something off about some of those guys.  I've never felt hunted in a pit before and that's what it felt like. I felt hunted. Needless to say, I stayed mostly out of it.  Everytime I considerred going back in, I would see something entirely unsavory, including a girl almost being trampled after she fell (I barreled in to try and grab her up, luckily there were enough people who knew what they were doing and they rushed in too) and a guy picking up another then throwing him across the pit into a third guy.  I'm fairly small and although I'm tough, many a person can pick me up and getting picked up in a pit is one of my biggest fears. 

    I did brave it one more time towards the end during Romantic Rights and faired much better.  I did get shoved out again, but this time further towards the front and I won't complain for getting a spot 3 people from the barricade without fighting for it.  It was still a magnificent show.  I'm learning to not let crowds or certain people at concerts bother me or hender my enjoyment of a show.  I think this was a lesson I needed to learn.  I needed to see that womyn still aren't able to achieve equality, even on as a simple scale as a mosh pit, when they fight for it.  Every girl I saw in the Death From Above pit was fighting for it and I loved seeing that, at least.  I loved that I wasn't the only girl in the pit and I wasn't the first girl in the pit either.  That made me hopeful for the future of womyn in pits.


    I'm attaching an article I read today about the past and future of Riot Grrrl. I hope you check it out too, it helped me rediscover my voice.


    I also attached a copy of the setlist from the show.


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