In an attempt to be eloquent, I re-wrote this opening 6 times, but fuck it. I was born 30 years ago, I claimed Straight Edge 16 years ago, and I went to my first punk show when I was 13… I’ve been around a while, but none of that really matters. I’m not at shows super often, hardcore used to be my life, and now it’s simply a part of it.
My daughter is the largest part of my life, and much as I can, I try to look at how I can make this world better for her. I want for her to someday to be able to fall in love with punk and hardcore in many of the same ways Cassie and I did, but in recent years I’ve struggled with a very real problem. Women in hardcore are super fucking marginalized, and not just in a “well women are marginalized in all society,” sort of way. In many facets hardcore trails normal society, in others it simply mimics it. However, in every facet it should be ahead of it. I shake my head in disgust when female friends my age, who are still dating, tell me about hardcore dudes sending them completely unsolicited dick pics. I got so angry when I helped Cassie run a venue, and she did most of the hard work, and people would assume it was just me, “…the girl at the door…” Oh, you mean the fucking owner. I’d get mad when dudes, who weren’t very good at drums, would tell Cassie how she could play better in a patronizing way. I’ve been mad at a lot of things making hardcore a place that marginalizes women, but the first place I have to point the finger is a mirror.
I’ve screamed lyrics into mics shaming girls who slept around the hardcore scene. I could blame it on being 17, but it doesn’t matter. I was smarter than that then, I knew plenty of girls who were just as passionate as any dude about hardcore. I also knew plenty of dudes who just used hardcore to sleep around, I never wrote a song about that. Hardcore made shaming women easy, but I’m to blame for choosing to do it. While it was not my intention at the time, I was not making hardcore a better place, I was making it worse, and I’m so very sorry.
Recent allegations about Jim Hesketh run far deeper than being young or naive. They make me sad and angry, but I’m not shocked. Shocked that it involves Jim, maybe. Shocked that it happened in hardcore? Not at all, and that makes me sick to my stomach. We can do better, We have to do better.
To all of the amazing women and men in hardcore, who have been, or are carving a path for my daughter to hopefully one day walk, please believe me that It’s with tears in my eyes that I say thank you, I’m sorry I made your job harder.
To other men and women in hardcore who marginalize members of our community, or hold them to a different standards, simply because they are girls. I implore you to take the time necessary to reevaluate your actions. We can’t undo what’s been done, but we can all do better.