Adrienne #64

    I got filled with righteous indignation at an early age. I must have been all of 17 when I began to read and study about feminist issues. I would read book after book about sexism and inequality and each word I read filled me with rage and fury. it had never occurred to me until that point in my life to question the ways that people treated me differently simply because of my gender. I had never thought of the conditioning and the socialization that I had been brainwashed with that made me think and feel certain things about myself as a woman. Even in the punk scene, it didn't seem as if anyone was really addressing the issue of sexism and the fact that this was (and still is) a male dominated scene. All the guys play in bands. All the guys publish fanzines. All the guys talk about their musical equipment and the tours they want to go on and what label their guy friend is doing. There was hardly any mention of women and when you would go see bands play, there were hardly any women up on the stage. it would be band after band of four guys or more rockin' out on their equipment. or zine after zine of some guys opinion about all these guys in bands. or some guys label who was putting out all these guys in bands who were being interviewed and reviewed by all these guys doing zines. You get my point.
    I was so furious over all of this that I jumped into the extreme of feminist thought. I was no longer a woman, I was a womyn. I was no longer human, I was a humyn. I wasn't a female, I was a femyle. And nobody had better ever even THINK about calling me chick, baby, or girl. I was a Womyn. I would confront anybody who used the word chick around me. I would get into fights and arguments with any guy who called me girl. I was on a fucking mission and nobody was going to treat me like some piece of meat or like some cattle that they could poke and prod. I had been publishing a fanzine called Too Far and most of it was about gender issues. I would interview people like Henry Rollins or Ian Mackaye or Jello Biafra and only ask them about gender politics and women's issues. it made for some very interesting interviews! I never asked about their bands or about their musical influences or about when their next record was due to come out. I didn't give a shit about that! I wanted to confront gender issues and talk about their ideas on sexism and force them to talk about women's issues instead. Everyone I interviewed was really into it because trust me, it gets so deadly boring talking about the same fucking things in interviews over and over again. I spent years on my rampage.
    Then I began to do Spitboy, an all women punk band, and had a really creative outlet for all of my thoughts and feelings. Plus I had three other women who were strong and passionate and I was able to learn and grow from them. I stopped spelling woman, female, and human with a Y because I realized that those words weren't the problem. It's the way people view women in this world that is the problem. Through doing Spitboy, I also began to realize that I wasn't a feminist anymore. In fact, I don't quite agree with feminist. I'm more of a humanist. I believe in people and in the strength of people. All people. Not just women. I didn't want to work towards only empowering women, but strive to give strength to everybody. I didn't like the feeling of gaining strength and power by stepping on the heads of anybody and a lot of people who considered themselves feminist seemed to think that stepping on the heads of men was okay if it meant that women had more strength. I don't agree with that. I know so many men who are amazing and wonderful and beautiful and who strive to deal with sexism and gender issues within themselves and the world around them. And I know some women who don't give a shit about striving for equality and don't' work towards empowering anybody, let alone themselves. I began to realize that the fight against sexism comes down to having faith and belief in individual people and that following lines based on gender wasn't going to get me anywhere.
    Plus I feel that just as strongly and as intensely as women are socialized in ways that are degrading and hurtful and unequal, men are also socialized in ways that are damaging and degrading and work towards creating an inequality for them also. Men are not the enemy. Women are not the victims. We are all being manipulated and pushed and pulled into behaviors and actions that don't work towards creating a system based on equality. And this is something that we all, men and women, need to work towards. We have a common goal together, not a battle that we're fighting against each other. As a woman, I have spoken out and written lyrics and columns about the things that I've had to face in this society because of my gender. And as a human being, I have reached out to the women and the men in my life to struggle for answers and for healing and for solutions. The best way I can think to describe my feelings is something that I wrote for Aus Rotten in their song 'Sexist Appeal". The lines go like this:
    This is not about man versus woman, or woman versus man, but human to human as we struggle to understand.
Peace/Equality,
Adrienne