i rode the bus from 9pm until 10pm to go to a punk show. anti-racism benefit, my girlfriends band playing, sounds great.
at 11pm i'm back on the bus on my way home, bruised, hurt & deflated
when i was younger, i loved a good pit. i loved to throw myself around with wild abandon, push & pull everyone around me, feel lost in a sea, a single organism with total strangers. i never considered my female-ness in this, it wasn't a revolutionary act, it was just fun. john, i'm only dancing!
well now i'm older, less inclined for crazy dancing, and oh yeah, crippled. i broke every bone in my arm 5 months ago & have lots of nerve damage & radial nerve palsy. this means my shit fucking hurts, all the goddamn time, and i cant really move my arm. my elbow is very slowly regaining movement & i'm beginning to have hope that my wrist will as well. the pain has subsided to a point where i no longer wear a sling 24/7, but still bad enough that i have to wear a brace and refrain from things such as getting thrown into walls.
i feel like its pretty standard common sense to not throw anyone into a wall, not only because they may not be able bodied and have the ability to push back or keep from falling, but because its just a respectful thing to do, right?
apparently not, as this evening i rode for a fucking hour on the bus to get injured 45 minutes into the show. a pit came out of nowhere (as they do) and although i was standing to the side (up against some gear, next to the wall) some fucking shit-head came from my left and tried to like... run through me. kicked me in the leg and threw me into the wall. my arm was screaming. i jumped over all the gear & had my back against the wall to support me. this person AGAIN plowed right through the two people i was trying to hide behind and hit my left side, the bad one, and again nearly knocked me over. this may be shocking, but it's fairly difficult to balance with one arm. i am actually surprised. i fall on the bus a lot
there are so many reasons this irks me.
1. ableism. pits are totally fine. great fun. stay inside them. see the people lining the pit? its ok to bounce off them. theyre there for protection. please do not play 'red rover' with them. people outside the pit are there for just that reason, they don't want to be. maybe they're tired, maybe they have a low tolerance for pain & bullshit, maybe they are small and intimidated or PERHAPS they are disabled. not all disabled people have wheelchairs. theres even invisible disabilities that effect people who look and seem totally able bodied. my invisibly disabled friend used to catch wrath for parking in handicapped spots, not knowing that if she stood for more than 10 minutes she was likely to collapse.\
this isnt even to get into what a show of able bodiedness that the pit embodies. yes, you are so fit you can even purposely injure yourself & others around you. cool. must be nice.
2. feminism. i go to a show to see music, not to get my fucking ass kicked. didn't riot grrrl address this all over the place? what happened to that? i'm pretty sure theres a kathleen hanna quote about it - maybe people would listen to her.
3. spatial privilege you have your space. i have mine. mine is not for sharing. this runs in cahoots with male privilege, and the 'you don't wanna get hurt? stand in the back" mentality.
in the punk scene in boston, pits were very well protected. big tough people would line the pit & push back at the dancers, making it way more fun for them & much safer for those outside. actually, i saw pearl jam when i was like 13? a pit erupted around me & my 13 year old friends and i thought we were gonna die. some huge dude picked me up by my armpits & placed me outside the pits confines. then eddie vedder actually stopped the show and said he wouldnt play if people were gonna get violent. loved that.
chicago doesn't seem to embrace this. at a queer feminist show (pre-crippled days), while a good & very feminist & 'right on' band were playing, some crazy dudes started a pit. not regular dudes at shows, more like they saw a punk show on an episode of NCIS once & decided this is what they should do to fit in. i stood towards the back bc i wasnt into getting hit by these idiots with no experience, & the fucking owner of the space actually came up to the group of girls & queers i was standing with, clearly hanging back, and was like COME ON! DANCE! & tried to pull a few people up. i got pissed, as i generally do when straight white dudes try to boss me around, & told him that we're all standing here because we're not trying to get hurt. he took offense, whatever, but i was totally surprised nobody in the band said anything. the singer was dodging fists & giving some back, but youd think like... i dunno. shes a loud mouth like me & i thought shed say something.
* side note: at this show i got nosy & opened the bathroom mirror. there was a jar full of toenail clippings. i shit you not.
and lastly, i saw who hit me the 2nd time. i didnt see the 1st but I imagine it was the same, due to the sheer force. this person is totally queer & feminist, has their ideals in the right place, doesn't reap a ton of privilege, and still behaved this way. maybe it was an off night, maybe they had a lot of aggression to get out, who knows. either way, their actions combined with others made the show no longer a safe space for me and i had to leave.
the worst part is how i really, really, really needed a night out. i needed to feel fun & free after this summer & what 'feminists' did to me. it's become such a dirty word, i wonder if there even are feminists anymore.
years ago, a bunch of 'feminists' said i was 'the courtney love to our kathleen hanna'. truth.