In Defense Of Outrage: A Response
We’re pretty sure that, by now, you’ve heard about the female crowdsurfer who planted an unwanted kiss on vocalist Parker Cannon during The Story So Far’s show in Houston last week. In fact, we know that you’ve heard about it, because an astounding number of you liked, reblogged and shared our news post on the story.
Yesterday, we published a piece from Editor-in-Chief Erik van Rheenen titled In Defense Of Boundaries, which addressed the unspoken contract between band and fan. But working on that piece got us wondering — why is it that this particular story has blown up the way it has? What does the overwhelming interest we’ve seen in this story tell us about our scene?
We don’t think there’s a single answer to that question — it’s the result of many factors. But one of those factors sticks out like a sore thumb. Today, in the next piece in our In Defense Of… series, senior Staff Writer Jesse Richman asks why we’re so outraged… or more pointedly, why are we only getting outraged now?
by Jesse Richman, edited by Erik van Rheenen
Let me preface this by making one thing clear: Erik van Rheenen is 100 percent right. (So are most of our readers, judging from the feedback to both his In Defense Of Boundaries piece and our original news post on the incident). It’s unequivocally not OK to kiss someone without their consent, whether it’s in a private room or on a stage in front of hundreds of people.
But what is it about this particular incident that has it racking up an astounding 1,600+ likes and reblogs on our site? Why did it generate 800 comments in a thread on AbsolutePunk? Or, to break out of our own bubble for a bit, why did a similar (if more salacious) on-stage assault of rapper Danny Brown earlier this year spawn a thousand thinkpieces?
Why is it that a quick peck on Parker Cannon’s lips generates twice the buzz as a story about New Years Day’s Ash Costello being repeatedly sexually assaulted by a member of Blood On The Dance Floor? Why is it that, when Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts details her own experiences with ingrained sexism in the scene, not only does it barely register a blip on the radar, but inevitably draws the sort of commenters who insist on proving her point via their own cluelessly sexist feedback? And why is it that it never stops, even when you’re Hayley Williams, Queen of the Punk Universe? (Or Florence Welch, or Lady Gaga?)
Why is it that when the drummer for Bellwether is accused of sexual assault, so much of the Internet leaps to his defense, or calls for prudence, as though false rape accusations aren’t astoundingly rare? I’ve never been a teenage girl, but I imagine coming forward as a rape victim doesn’t win you any popularity contests in high school, and takes roughly a metric fuckton of courage.
Why is it that we have no qualms calling Cannon’s assailant a “bitch,” a “fucking slut,” and a “fangirl” (because only female fans do fucked-up things, right?), as if her actions, wrong as they were, give us some kind of free pass to say shit we know is deeply awful?