Friday, January 31, 2014

MTV notices women at gigs, senses a trend

That MTV has a section on its website called Guy Code is bad enough. That it runs stuff like this...:

... is unbelievable.
Why Are There So Many Cute Girls At Metal & Hardcore Concerts Now?
Perhaps, Ethan Fixell, they're there because they like the music?

Or, if you need something a little more chunky to make an article, perhaps they're there because they like the music and had assumed that in 2014 there were a bunch of sexist, sweaty cocklegs at the venues who acted like it was even a thing.

Almost every part of this think-with-your-dick-piece will make first your feet, and then your legs, curl up with horror that a proper media company would run this sort of thing in 2014:
When Dying Fetus, a death metal act not exactly known for catering to female tastes
By this, I suppose, Ethan means that Dying Fetus have no songs about ponies or babies.
... recently came to New York City, the Gramercy Theatre was — shock of shocks — populated with plenty of beautiful ladies.
As a frequenter of such concerts for over a dozen years, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Death metal events are known to be…how do I put this…”vaginally-challenged.”
Vaginally-challenged. I know all writers want to come up with neologisms, but there are some newborn phrases which are crying out to be taken down the canal and put in a burlap sack. The impression of a man standing at a gig saying "hey, there's a shortage of vaginas in here; there must be something challenging these vaginas about coming in..." is an image nobody would want to share, surely?
Is this Dying Fetus crowd a new trend at hardcore and metal shows? And if so, why are so many hot ladies now showing up?
In other words, how has hardcore over come the vagina challenge? It's interesting, by the way, that Fixell only seems interested in the "hot ladies".
My opportunity to get to the bottom of this came when Brooklyn Vegan and Red Bull announced a surprise Pig Destroyer performance at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar. Once again, my experience-based assumptions were wrong, as neither chaos nor sausage were in excessive abundance at the door.
Sausage! He's an equal opportunities reductivist.
Within a minute of entering the club, I met Sarabeth and Noa, two cute women who were also quick to support my hypothesis: “Oh, I definitely think the [girl-to-guy] ratio is evening out,” said Noa.
You've only been in the club a minute, and already women are rushing to support your hypothesis. Except Noa hasn't, has she? Because first of all, she's talking about the entire gender balance, and isn't engaging with your hypothesis about "cute girls/hot ladies", and secondly, she says that balance is "evening out" - and even the very fact that she has enough experience to judge this pretty much proves there have always been women at these gigs, and they've not just started to appear.
The change isn’t lost on the bands, either. Pig Destroyer bassist John Jarvis told me that while working at the Summer Slaughter Tour (featuring The Dillinger Escape Plan and Cattle Decapitation), he “never saw so many beautiful women before,” also noting happily that “side boob seemed to be a popular theme.”
John Jarvis there, doing his best to try and make gigs hostile places for women. But it's not just the bands who are working on looking at the audience in a creepy way:
Even Jeff, a bouncer at Saint Vitus, has noticed a change in crowd composition in just the two years he’s worked there. “There are more and more women at these shows. Especially more single women in groups. In fact, I’m trying to get laid tonight.”
Reassuring to know that, while he's also there to ensure the crowd are safe, Jeff is also taking the time to try and get to have sex with some of the people he's supposed to be looking after.
Lila and Lyndsay, two attractive female metal vets who have been going to hardcore shows “since Marauder played CBGB” (whenever that was) also confirmed an increasing number of girls at these types of shows.
Ethan, do you not think your entire 'I am an expert in this area and girls are showing up now' article falls apart when you meet women at gigs who have clearly been doing it for longer, and have far more knowledge about the scene, than you?
I asked them why they thought this might be happening.

“Because they wanna meet dudes?” joked Lyndsay.
Perhaps this is all Lyndsay said. Or perhaps a jokey, throwaway reference that fits the tone of the article has been selected.
Joke or not, metal and hardcore music no longer solely appeals to angry misanthropic males with poor social skills.
Yeah, the band gurgling about sideboobs and the bouncers hoping to get laid and the writer banging on about hot ladies really demonstrates that.

Sorry, I'm being unfair. Ethan's doing research, isn't he? Lets see what his 'going to one gig and using that as evidence' sweep turns up.
The guys in the Pig Destroyer pit looked pretty mainstream to me.
Ultimately, shows aren’t as scary as they were 20 or even 10 years ago, back when “mosh pit” was defined as “place to punch / get punched in the face.”
So actually, this article you've written about how there's a bunch of women at gigs is actually a piece about how metal gigs just have a wider appeal lost in a sexist puddle, is it?

By the way, Ethan Fixell is 31 years old. If he really was going to hardcore gigs twenty years ago, maybe the reason he found them frightening wasn't because of the lack of women, but because he was a preteen.
Bouncer Jeff has noticed that these days, “When someone falls, everybody picks ‘em up.”
Yeah, Jeff. You're there trying to get laid. We know you're trying to pick people up.
Punk rock seems to now tolerate a much more supportive vibe. In fact, I twice witnessed Pig Destroyer vocalist J. R. Hayes ask the crowd to give the front row some breathing room, a request which would have been mocked in most hardcore rooms of the ’80s and ’90s.
Again, Fixell's knowledge of what happened at hardcore gigs in the 1980s is incredible for someone who didn't turn 10 until the 1992.
The internet has helped demystify extreme music, making it more accessible and less intimidating. A girl can watch clips from a Napalm Death concert and see that it’s not so scary after all, which makes her much more likely to attend.
Or she might read an article and discover that members of Pig Destroyer are trying to see her tits, and decide to go and see a different band entirely.

Even if he wasn't being so damn patronising, Fixell makes no sense - surely the point of extreme music is to be intimidating to everybody? Maybe these girls watching the clips aren't thinking 'why, providing I tie my bonnet tightly I might be able to attend this concert event and remain alive by the end of it' but just 'wooooah that is fucking wooooaaah I MUST GO AND EXPERIENCE THIS NOW'? Did it occur to Fixell that what the internet has done for hardcore is what it has done for all sorts of musical types - allowed it to find a larger audience by making it easier to discover things you might not have come across otherwise? And that might account for the increasing, less intense audience of all genders?

It sort of has, it turns out, but he only takes the though as far as 'perhaps this has something to do with Pinterest':
And plenty of studies have shown that women are more apt to share photos or videos online than men are, thus creating a quicker spread of the news amongst themselves.
At this point MTV helpfully pastes in a selfie it appears to have lifted from the Facebook page of latex model Dani Divine to illustrate, erm, something.

So far, then, so bad. But it's about to get worse, as Ethan makes the leap from wittering on about women being at gigs to thinking about how we might use this knowledge to hit on them.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why cute girls are there — they’re there. So get your ass to a metal, punk or hardcore show. It can be easy to pick up a woman at such a concert if you follow a few quick preparation tips:
Yeah, women at punk gigs are easy to pick up, providing you put in the work beforehand. I'm starting to think Ethan Fixell must assume the Barney episodes of How I Met Your Mother are documentaries.
Dress Slightly Better Than Everyone Else

If you own anything nicer than a Cannibal Corpse shirt and torn jeans, you already have an advantage over your competition. But for God’s sake, it’s still a metal show: Leave the chiffon sweater at home.
Or, on the other hand, the women might be at the gig because they want to listen to the band, and don't care what you're wearing.
Bring A Wingman (Or, Bonus Points, Wingwoman)

Single metal chicks often travel in packs, and it’s easier to approach such a crew with a pal in tow. Plus, it’ll help mask your ulterior motives, you head-bobbing lurker, you.
I think no matter how many wingmen you have, your attempts to clumsily hit on women are stalkery, creepy motives that you're not going to be able to easily mask. The tiny semi is always a give-away.
Get There Early

The show is going to be loud as hell, and you won’t be able to talk to anyone when the music starts playing. Early arrival will help you get a lay of the land, a feel for who’s there and the ability to talk to a woman without screaming at her like the vocalist for a powerviolence band.
I imagine for anyone who is actually following the article with anything other than a depressed horror the phrase "the ability to talk to a woman" is going to sound like a cruel jibe.

But remember, guys: make sure you get there before the music starts and spoils the whole point of going to a gig in the first place.
Bring Extra Pairs Of Earplugs

Offering them to a lady is a great icebreaker, and she’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness. Protecting your ears doesn’t make you less of a man — it demonstrates your caring, paternal instincts. (WARNING: May cause imminent pregnancy.)
Who knew that it was possible to take a sensible precaution, and make turn that into something creepy?
Know Your Sh*t

Noa even offered me a tip of her own: “Don’t assume that [any girl] is there because a guy dragged her there by the hair,” she said. “Assume that she’s into the music. Talk to her like you would talk to any other fan.” A dude into metal or hardcore can fare pretty well at any show.
I think what Noa was trying to say was 'talk to her like she's a person, not a vagina'. But that advice would have come too late.

I think, really, Laura Snapes probably summed this piece up best, and swiftest:


Mark Barnes said...

I've been going to Hardcore punk gigs since the early 80's, mostly at the late TJs in Newport. There have always been women at the shows, although admittedly they were probably in a minority.
Incidently, if you got knocked on your arse the people around you would always pick you up and haul you to your feet. Everybody looks after everyone else, otherwise somebody would get trampled to death at every show!

Tim Bick said...

Ah, but were they cute/hot women Mark? If the bouncer doesn't want to shag them then they don't count.

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