Women/NB people- tell me about your life as a gig goer/music fan

A thread to chat about attitudes you have faced as a woman/NB person in the music world just because of your identity.

I will start with an annoying one. Someone I work with asked me at the office party ‘how come you know so much about music?’ Heavy implication of ‘but you’re a woman!’ I replied ‘how come you know so much about football? I know about music because I love it the way you love football’ This seemed to create a light bulb moment that everyone likes different things, and it isn’t connected to who you are.

One of the worst experiences I had as a female gig goer was when I was about 18 and was on the front row with my friends. We had been queueing all day to be there. A group of drunk men pushed in behind us, shouting that they were going to be standing there now, calling us bitches. One physically lifted me off the ground and tried to drag me off the barrier like a cave man. I kicked him really hard and he let go, my friends did similar. The bouncer wasn’t interested. Would have been nice to only worry about getting a good view/getting squashed when I was a younger woman.

5 Likes

Thats horrible, when I was younger I liked bands whose concerts were mainly attended by men and there was a lot of being squashed/having to force our way to the front to avoid mosh pits but still getting squashed, once someone spent a good 5min trying to use my head as an armrest even though I kept shrugging him off, and I’m pretty tall, it must be worse for women who are smaller too. I only really go to kpop shows or sit down concerts and its much nicer

1 Like

@brightlight that’s pretty horrific, especially to happen at such a young age.

A man once expressed absolute shock that I liked Jay Reatard as ‘women don’t usually like that sort of stuff’. Wtf, dude?

The worst I have experienced at gigs is some groping and it’s fucked up that I casually minimise this as if it is to be expected. Unfortunately, it is the norm for many women.

I’ve had this one before, with definite undertones of it would be impossible for me to be so into music as a woman…Infuriating.

Definitely a couple of occasions going to gigs where I was groped, which did put me off going up the front/front side for a long time, those were the worst experience(s) i’ve had i’d say.

I now tend to go to sit down shows, or ones where I stand at the back/on a balcony anyway.

Exactly this, the casualness I found myself writing my experience of being groped at gigs made me feel sad.

I think many people, my younger self included, see women who like alternative music as somewhat different to the norm and there’s a lot of bullshit that comes with that.

For me, liking alternative music used to be my personality when I was a kid and teenager, and while it wasn’t to get boys’ attention (especially as I had better taste than all of them) I definitely liked that it made them see me differently, in the same way as we were talking about in one of the other Menless Monday threads about “not being like the other girls”. Then when I got talking to a couple of the cool and pretty girls at school and it turned out they liked some of the same stuff as me, I was one-part excited thinking that maybe I wasn’t a weirdo because we shared an interest, and one-part worried that the only thing that I had going for me that they didn’t was gone. Obviously I now know that was a load of shite.

3 Likes

Or even worse, the assumption you only like a band because you fancy a band member, and the male fans were ‘better fans’. Pre Internet wasn’t unusual to not even know what they looked like so this was obviously nonsense anyway. Oh god could write a book about band fandoms.:grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

2 Likes

I’ve had people say that kind of thing to me so often. I was also once told by a trad rock bore that because I hadn’t heard of a particular Neil Young song I couldn’t possibly be a serious music fan.
I have no patience with twats like that so doubled down on how boring I think Neil Young is and how I’d rather listen to pop. No doubt he still thinks I’m just a silly little girl who hasn’t learned how to appreciate music properly.

2 Likes

Yes, I completely forgot about that one, but yes. Gosh I remember being at school dealing with that so much off the male metal fans…I mean among others, back then, I was big into Slipknot…they wore masks the whole damn time :thinking: So much nonsense.

1 Like

Music fan: I wrote my dissertation on Britpop and not long after ended up having a chat with a guy I mistakenly fancied in sixth form - who was in part the reason why I became interested in learning more about it - and mentioned that I’d covered it in my dissertation and got a First. His response… mansplaining completely basic parts of Britpop to me.

On the crappy dating app date I went on (the “Russian… I’ve heard of that” one), I’d got a vibe that he was a bit misogynistic and decided to test the theory when he asked me what music I like. I listed all the pop I liked and none of the alt rock, shoegaze etc. He said “sounds a bit GIRLY to me” and I immediately assumed he was an Oasis fan (I mean, me too, but it was such a Radio X thing to say) so I forced a smile and asked what music he liked. Guess who he mentioned :slight_smile:

Gigs: when I was 17 at a Bouncing Souls gig, my friends and I were in the front row as we were there early. The lights were still up and only about three rows of people were in the venue so far and a guy behind me tried to put his hand in my knickers but it went between my tights and pants. I elbowed him really hard and he didn’t do it again. I forgot about this for years and at the time it was just an ewww, men are so gross! thing. It’s really sick remembering it and knowing that that’s an attempted assault. I have no idea if he was doing it for gratification or to scare me out of the front row.

Gigs are largely unenjoyable for me because of tall/aggressive/sweaty (delete as appropriate) men and I much prefer seated gigs at this point. Gigs are expensive and typically in London which is even more expensive so it’s not like I make a habit of going to many but I could never regularly attend gigs because I spend most of them on my tiptoes trying to angle myself behind a tall bloke until I can see half of a lead singer.

1 Like

That is awful. They probably did it just because they could, and haven’t given it a moment’s thought since, while it is still a traumatic memory for you.

I went to see Oasis when I was 14 with my parents and a drunk adult man like, full on grabbed me, like he was trying to hug me or dance with me? My parents pulled him away immediately and he staggered off somewhere else. Such a weird thing to do and he probably didn’t even remember the next day. Alcohol is no excuse, guys.

That was the only time I’ve been groped at a gig that I can remember, thankfully, though obviously elsewhere is another matter.

I don’t like when blokes get drunk at gigs and start bumping into people around them. It’s quite scary being smaller than most people around you in a crowd and someone’s not paying attention to those around them.

Mainly I just feel conspicuous at gigs or like people will be thinking i shouldn’t be there or I’m just there because [man they’ve assumed is my boyfriend] wanted to go. It’s not aything anyone’s said, just a lack of other women. That puts me off going on my own now that I don’t have any local friends to go with since moving here.

One thing I don’t think anyone has mentioned is transport? Gigs generally take place in the evening and I don’t feel safe walking outside late at night so “how will i get home?” also puts me off going to stuff a lot. I’m really near the train station here, like 5 mins walk, but the route from there at night is deserted underpasses with poor visibility so if I want to go to London on the train, I have to arrange for my partner to be at home and still awake so he can meet me at the train station.

1 Like

I’ve often felt like I’m an intruder in a man’s world at gigs. There are some things that are explained by the fact I’m small rather than the fact I’m a woman, but there’s some crossover there too I guess - it’s like, if the average man can see then everything is fine and we don’t need to do anything to make sure that more people can get something out of this experience. One of the reasons the Brudenell is so great is that there are steps and two levels so it’s easier to find somewhere I can stand to see the stage. There’s a real feeling of “put up and shut up otherwise you’re not cool enough to come here” with most gigs and there doesn’t seem to be any desire from any side to try to make things a bit more accessible.

5 Likes

Second this, and not always cause of the height thing like you say, that is sometimes a factor but not the only factor in why I feel like that sometimes.

1 Like

I like the brude for the inverse of your reason. Im 6ft2 and always conscious of blocking views. It’s great that it has lots of good sight lines and raised areas. Feel like a dickhead when it’s a flat space with a low stage and just end up lurking at the back

3 Likes

Honestly one of the best moments I’ve had at a gig in recent years was at Her Fest at the Brudenell and at one point the Tuts told all the women to come to the front and played a cover of Wannabe, for the first time it felt like this was for US and it was the men who were along for the ride

3 Likes

Reading this thread is going to make me feel sad and angry isn’t it? :frowning:

2 Likes

Nearly got into a fight at a gig due to some completely drunken prick groping a female friend I was there with. In the end his mates pulled him away.

not the main point of the thread, but gigs are one of the most inconsiderate forms of entertainment or art when it comes to making life easy for its audience. they finish too late, you never know when they’re going to start, you never know if they’re going to be unpleasantly loud or not, you might not be able to see, and so on. when i started going to gigs again after a 10 year break it was weird how audience-unfriendly they are compared to basically anything else.

9 Likes

Oh oh oh I just remembered that last summer my local award winning small venue did a zoom quiz. Even though we never really went there, housemate and I had really fretted about its viability through lockdown and my housemate had made efforts to support it financially from afar and planned to go to gigs once it reopened.

So we went to the Zoom quiz to show support and there were about 50 people but it was horribly cliquey and the organisers were so fucking smug. They literally said - not in a jokey way - if you couldn’t identify a James band t-shirt you shouldn’t be doing the quiz. Not even a major band. How fucking rude to undermine people’s music interest/knowledge based on your knowledge of fucking JAMES. We felt completely out of place the whole time and the organisers pointed out we weren’t smiling (classic sexist trope right there) and questioning it during the quiz, bringing everyone’s attention to us. We had forced smiles and sat through the rest of the quiz gritting our teeth.

Frankly it killed my housemate’s interest in supporting them and I didn’t feel inclined to make the effort either. There was no effort to make anyone feel included who wasn’t already known to them and to be honest I didn’t exactly trust the vibes of LADS whose idea of the pinnacle of music is JAMES. I felt kind of excluded from the start tbh as the dress code was band t-shirts and I tend to find they don’t come in larger sizes for women (not that I like most band t-shirt designs tbh). Not saying they’d know that but just generally added to the sense of exclusion that they heaped a load of petrol onto

3 Likes