Neill Jameson Calls Out Metal Chumps, Requests Common Decency
This morning, many women in metal and their male feminist allies were pleasantly surprised (via “metal twitter”, the collective conscious, et al) when Decibel’s website posted an essay crafted by excellent wordsmith and prolific music-maker Neill Jameson. “Neill Jameson on Maybe Not Treating Women Like Sperm Receptacles” is a perfectly timed edition of his column Low Culture, and hits right in the middle of a week where gender relations are hitting fever pitch, particularly in the music industry. Pitchfork’s senior editor Jessica Hopper started an enormous and long-overdue conversation on Twitter with the following:
Hundreds of women had stories to throw in from personal experiences, myself included. If you are or have been a woman in music, you need look no further than the comments section on this very site to see that we are often marginalized, objectified, and taught to think we matter less than our male contemporaries. If we go to shows in anything other than baggy sweatpants and a t-shirt that hides our bodies and every ounce of feminine sexuality we have, it’s because we’re on the hunt for a man (or at least the attention of one). If we listen to heavy music, it’s to impress some guy we’re trying to fuck. If we take your jobs and write for metal sites you dudes are reading (ahem), we’ve fucked our way there and are lucky that someone lets us air out our uninformed, small-brained opinions. Time to go back to the kitchen, right? Nah, actually. We’re here to fucking stay, whether you boys like it or not, so let one of your more highly-evolved own tell you why it’s important to understand that, accept it, and stop being colossal shitbags when a girl who’s out of your league shows up looking like a fox and headbangs along to the bands you refuse to believe she actually listens to:
As a man, I’ve never gone to a show worried that someone was going to grab my dick or give me a drink with some bullshit drug in it. It’s not because I don’t think I’m pretty; it’s because this is shit that doesn’t happen to men (I understand someone in the comments section will have a story saying that it does, but for the sake of argument, please shut the fuck up). It’s just not something we have to worry about. Women have to shrug this behavior off because they’re afraid if they speak up that it’s going to be turned around on them due to what they’re wearing, or their sexual history, or the simple fucking reason they have a vagina and guys are taught from a young age through marketing and media that we’re entitled to that. Movies and other forms of storytelling glamorize women going to shows to fuck and nothing else. The idea that they’re there because they love the music seems as absurd as a cop telling the truth during a trial.
CAN I GET A FUCKING AMEN? I’m almost ashamed at how many dudes I haven’t murdered after they copped a feel or shoved their tongue down my throat after using the oh-so-arousing “I can totally get you on the guest list.” Trust me when I say that the $15 dollars you saved me doesn’t entitle you to touching a goddamn thing on my body, no matter how many comped drinks and sketchy drugs you try to throw at me.
None of this angry ranting and drooling over Neill’s essay is to say I haven’t slept with my fair share of musicians. I am one, after all, so why wouldn’t I be attracted to someone with whom I had shared interests? Newsflash: women like to fuck, too. I know it’s shocking and gross to plenty of guys who have a Madonna/Whore complex leftover from their formative years being raised in a culture that glorifies female chastity (see: every religion ever), but there it is, and if your moms didn’t like to fuck, too, you wouldn’t be here to judge the rest of us for following suit. Jameson perfectly sums up my thoughts on that topic with this gem, which had me cry-cheering by the end of this paragraph:
Here’s the thing: So what if they’re there to fuck someone? What does that have to do with you? Does that give you the right to grab onto them or make them feel like shit? No. No, it fucking does not. I get that you’re jealous of who they’re going home with, but that’s their choice and has fuck-all to do with you. And if they’re going to fuck someone in a band, who cares? Men go out on tour and try to fuck, and no one calls us anything derogatory unless it’s their girlfriend or they’re jealous. This double standard has been documented to death, but it needs to be repeated ad infinitum until it sinks in: As grown adults, we all have the right to take home a willing participant in whatever fucked up weird sex we both consent to. This goes for women and men. Shaming a woman for her sexuality with the reasoning that she won’t fuck you is absolutely hypocritical, and displays your insecurity to the world like the fucking Bat Signal.
None of this is to say the article is perfect — there are plenty of women out there who could have (and already have, a favorite example) written pieces making these same arguments, and non-binary and trans women are left out of the conversation completely. But for a man with Jameson’s reach, this is a good read for both the men he is addressing and for those who are already trying to do better by us women. Ladies like my personal favorite music writer and all-around badass GrimKim have been at this for far too long to be ignored, taunted, and even threatened by men who are intimidated by a non-masculine voice. I’m hopeful that Jameson reaches some of the people who might not otherwise pay attention to this issue.