Entertainment | A Response to 'The Problem About Gigs'

Today's post is going to take a more serious tone, as I have decided to write a response to my friend Beth's blog post on sexual harassment at gigs - an issue I feel is widely ignored but is extremely important to address. You can find Beth's original post here and it's certainly well worth a read.

Although I personally have never experienced any such trouble at gigs or elsewhere, it would be foolish to deny the prominence of 'rape culture' in today's society and the popular (as well as ridiculous) myths surrounding this culture. I personally feel it is extremely important to focus on debunking these myths and subsequently empowering ourselves to stand up against sexual harassment - be that at gigs or within the wider world.

One popular myth about sexual harassment at gigs is the notion that the type of music playing is to blame for the goings-on at the gig. This, as Beth says in her post, is absolutely wrong. Different pieces of music mean different things to different people and has long been a form of escapism both for musicians and music fans. Many music fans seek out listening to music as a form of sanctuary and often take inspiration from musicians. To then have this feeling of safety encroached upon at a gig is absolutely disgusting and to then scapegoat the genre as an invitation for harassment is, to put it bluntly, just plain stupid. From heavy metal to pop, no-one should ever feel threatened by their musical preferences and all different types of fans should be welcomed into the atmosphere of a gig to share in a uniting love of music - not made to feel belittled or uncomfortable in any way.

Myth number 2, one that seems to circulate in all accusations of sexual harassment, at gigs and elsewhere: that clothes are somehow influencers. It cannot be stressed enough that consent is explicit, enthusiastic and informed. By 'informed' I mean that those consenting should not be coerced in anyway and should be in a suitable state to consent (i.e. conscious, sober, of age, etc.). But to focus on 'explicit' and 'enthusiastic', any notion that certain types of clothing equate consent is utterly despicable. Consent - for any sort of sexual contact - should be given, not taken and should certainly not be inferred from anything. Of all the myths surrounding rape culture, this is one that is particularly dangerous as it limits the freedom of expression that so many of us find through the medium of fashion, advocates victim-blaming and undermines the concept of consent drastically.

It is hugely important for both women and men to stand up against sexual harassment, both at gigs and elsewhere in everyday life. No one should ever feel that being a victim of harassment is their fault, and no one should ever be ashamed to come forward and complain. Girls Against is a wonderful campaign focussed on trying to reduce the stigma surrounding and the actual occurrence of sexual harassment at music gigs, just one of many social groups fighting against the problems of rape culture in today's society.

Thank you for reading today's post, on a subject I feel is extremely important and relevant. You can read more about Girls Against and their work here.