The article below was written by Jeannie Gynarchy and can be found here.
On Being A Punk Woman
It sucks to be a punk woman. Yeah I’m sure you’ve heard that one before. But for reals, it fucking blows. Most, if not all, record stores are male-oriented. They only have a limited selection of female punk bands. Not that male punk is bad at all, but there are so many good female bands that are hard to get a hold of. It becomes virtually impossible to buy girl punk unless we want to hassle with mailorder labels and distros, which is a pain in the ass.
It’s also hard to find clothes that fit right because we have to wear men’s pants (that is if we want to) and men’s shirts unless we want to wear baby tees and dresses. Not too long ago I bought a handmade bondage skirt and when I put it on the shape was so odd, come to find out a guy made the skirt and obviously didn’t have a woman around to try it on. It was so awkward I had to cut it to fit my body. Look at t-shirts, most are made of 100% cotton, which means they don’t stretch like baby tees do. Regular t-shirts look odd on women with large breasts because the front is considerably higher than the back. Not like baby tees which stretch to fit the woman’s breasts. Even if we try to ignore it, women’s bodies are made completely different than men’s. Take a look at Dogpile bondage pants. The waist and hip is the same size, the legs are straight and thin. Now take for example, my body, having a smaller waist and larger hips, larger thighs and smaller calfs. Some parts of my pants are too big, some are too small. I just look retarded wearing them. Granted it’s my choice to shove my ass into these plaid pants. But, after deciding I really liked them and I really wanted them, I couldn’t pick the woman’s version made for my shape. Being a woman of the ‘90s and a lazy fuck I never learned to sew my own clothes so I guess I should learn to make my own clothes and quit bitching right? Yeah fuck you, make clothes that fit us.
Like many other punks, I write a zine. But we don’t interview the band of the day or call out posers and smash the state all at once. We write about women’s issues from a punk perspective. Sounds rad if you are a woman : feminazi dyke shit. If you’re a guy perhaps, but think of it this way, you might actually learn something. It’s hard for us to get our zine out because we are women and we deal with women’s issues so men are scared away like they might catch something from it. The only thing they will catch is a better understanding of women. But I guess that’s a bad thing. Printing, writing, interviewing, etc. is no problem for us, it’s just getting the zine out to people who are afraid of the content. If you don’t think it deals with you and yourself, think again. You might figure out that your girlfriend is tired of being the wind beneath your wings and wants to be a part of the scene directly, whether it’s a zine or a band or opening a shop or label, whatever. Maybe your girl is sick of being shoved back at shows, expected to sit on the sidelines while the boys act like boys. Here’s a little secret, she wants in the pit right along side you.
Along with my zine and a billion other wastes of time, I am a photographer. That means I go to shows for free and take a bunch of pictures so that bands coming through town can have their pretty little faces in the newspaper. You know how many times I’ve been asked for someort of background, like some previous band, actual pictures, what classes I’ve taken, who I even work for? Not once. All I do is flash a smile and I’m in. Pathetic isn’t it? Yeah maybe it’s easier for me now but fuck, I want to earn my photo pass and paycheck, not just smile at the tour manager and have my pass handed to me on a silver platter.
So I’ve spent all this time bitching about how my life as a punk rock girl sucks (boo hoo poor me) So how do we go about changing things so it doesn’t suck? Well there are a million and a half ways... There probably aren’t many female bands around unless you live in D.C. or Washington State. Simple solution : start your own band. We need more girl bands! Pick up a guitar or a set of drum sticks and knock out some good ol’ punk rock. If you have no musical talent, that doesn’t really matter because that’s what punk is all about. But seriously, if you puke in front of large crowds or you can’t sing to save your life, write a zine. Just what we all need, a new zine, eh? But fuck it, go ahead and do it anyways. Write about shit that pisses you off. Take action. Don’t let people knock you down cause you’re a woman, fight back! If you failed freshman English or you dropped out before that, you can always pick up a silkscreener or button maker. Make patches. Make clothes. Make pins. Make shirts for some local bands. Even though your name won’t be on every piece of work you do, you still made it. You get the benefit of seeing someone in a shirt you made and screaming “I MADE THAT!”. Get a job at the local record store and order some good girl bands to sell. You’d be amazed at how quickly it all sells. If you can’t get a job at a record shop, bug the hell out of the people that work there until they start carrying some girl punk records.
There are simpler ways of letting those silly punk boys know they aren’t the only big shots. Take a stab (metaphorically only, please) at the pit. Instead of hiding behind that hunk o’ burning love of yours, dive in and smash some skulls. It really doesn’t hurt after a while. Shove your way up front. Do it by yourself. Hang out with the other yummy yummy punk rock girls around. Form groups like Women for Direct Action or a riot grrrl chapter or a feminist discussion group if you want, some place where all you ladies can get together without the guys and have a good time.
OK so this didn’t go as well as I had hoped for, but I think I somewhat made my point. I know there are a lot of punk women who do all this shit and I am way down with that, but we need more of them. Everywhere. We can’t keep fighting along side the boys if we can’t even find a pair of pants that fit right.