I’d been meaning to write a meaty article fully detailing why I am so vehemently anti-slut shaming, anti sexist bullshit, and very viciously feminist. However, before doing so a friend shared an article that much more eloquently summed up what I had wanted to say. In an article entitled ‘What Is Rape Culture’, several Buzzfeed staff members deconstruct and eloquently elucidate the true meaning of ‘rape culture’ and the various components the can be seen in society today.
Many facets of what is covered in this piece are highly applicable to stigma and attitudes present in the attitudes and perceptions at play at major festivals, clubs, raves, and beyond. Recently, one writer of Daily Beat, identified only as ‘Gianna’ wrote about ‘how to be classy‘ and specifically accused the unidentified woman as dressing like a “cheap whore”. The article from Buzzfeed addresses this kind of ideology directly and succinctly:
“The old metaphor is that women who dress provocatively are the same as homeowners who don’t lock their doors at night. But this argument only further reduces women to objects and asks them to be responsible for preventing their own rape.”-Buzzfeed
In other situations, I’ve found myself offended by some of the content shared by people I consider to be friends. In one such instance, an image of a puppy with the caption jokingly stating that ‘roofies were high in vitamin C’. As someone who has had friends who have been victims of date rape (via drugs) and has direct experience with it, I was incredibly offended. Instead of an apology or a polite resolution, I was met with a “get over it” response typical of rape culture acceptance.
Essentially, I’d been hit with a trigger in the form of a “harmless” rape joke.
“Beneath the debate over whether rape jokes can be funny is the larger question of whether it’s healthy for a society to laugh at the idea of sexual violence.”-Buzzfeed
On a personal aside, I have been that girl. I’ve been the girl who wakes up in an unfamiliar bed with no memory of the night before. I’ve had to scramble terrified into a cab in early hours of the morning frantically texting friends for help to figure out how I got there. I’ve mysteriously lost all memory after only a few drinks, and fearfully wondered if anything had happened against my will while I was compromised. This has happened more than once. I can tell you, there was nothing funny about it.
Someone reading this might think:
- “Maybe if you didn’t dress like a whore it wouldn’t have happened.”
- “Maybe if you didn’t drink so much it wouldn’t have happened.”
- “Maybe if your friends had taken better care of you / been there it wouldn’t have happened.”
- “Maybe if you hadn’t stayed out so late it wouldn’t have happened.”
This brings us to what bothers me the most: we should view rape not as an act brought upon oneself, but as something perpetrated by another.
“Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.”-Shakesville
I’m sick of reading articles about “how to be classy” or why I should “see the humor” in rape jokes.
The articles cited above are well worth the read, ad I highly recommend everyone read them.
When a blogger, any blogger chooses to put a piece of themselves into an editorial piece, you open yourself up to a plethora of opinions.
A while back, one of my pieces addressing a small demographic found within the ‘club-goer’ community received a split reaction: Some applauded the article for what it was, while others vehemently retaliated. As a blogger, I understand that what I write will incite a reaction; I’d rather you douse me in emotional gasoline and set me ablaze then say nothing.
One acquaintance messaged me privately on Facebook to discuss the dirge of negativity I was met with one fine Saturday morning…weeks if not months after said article was posted:
“U just seem a lil upset about twitter attacks & feeling the need to defend urself. Addressing “scene” type subject matter makes any handle extremely susceptible to twitter haters.”- I am choosing not to disclose this person’s name.
He told me to ignore haters and spent more energy developing my craft and let the talk die down. Many called my article a ‘pack of lies’ and that I was uneducated, inexperienced, and some even called me dumb. Emails sent to my account called me a ‘dirty drug addict’ and a ‘whore’, while massively long tweets called me out for being misinformed for sharing my opinion.
“…editorials & scene stuff makes one more susceptible to personal attacks. Sticking to music not as much. It’s just up to u whether u wanna weather that storm. I certainly don’t but that’s why I don’t write.”- I am choosing not to disclose this person’s name.
However, despite all the brute negativity, that opinion I shared rang true with many, and I began seeing an influx of ‘thank you’ and ‘I agree’ messages flowing in. It was a rough morning to be snarled and hissed at for the duration of a day, but when the sun had set and I cracked myself a beer…my little firestorm of a post had generated nearly 300 views. Three. Hundred. In a day.
What I have to say might not always resonate with others, but I’ve decided I’d rather weather a monsoon of hatred if it means what I write strikes others in an emotional and tangible way. This may have been my first ‘Twitter war’ where what I had to say left me vulnerable to countless declarations of both hate and love, but it will most assuredly not be my last!
Within the first few seconds of receiving news that Sunday of Electric Zoo was cancelled, I was devastated. Distraught initially because I would once again be missing Armin and would not be seeing Vicetone. And like many, I took my fury to Twitter, lashing out angrily to every corner of the internet, blaming irresponsible people for single-handedly ruining my weekend.
That was incredibly selfish, and I’m sorry.
There were multiple factors in the cancellation of Electric Zoo, the most prominent and most reported being the two deaths due to drug overdoses. However these were not the only problems present at the festival itself. As I go on to list these issues I want to make it VERY VERY CLEAR that I am of the opinion that it was in NO WAY Made Event of the Electric Zoo 2013 officials’ fault for these problems:
- Security was not sufficient.
- Medical staff, while available did not check surrounding areas for fallen ravers.
- Certain volunteers / staff not only endorsed frequent ‘molly’ use, there was an incidence of a ‘we want molly’ tip sign at one water station.
- Certain ‘rented’ security staff was not only discourteous, they made unwanted flirtatious advances on female ravers such as myself.
- Apparel promoting drugs use was permitted at the event, only contributing to the ‘hype’ of drug use.
- Excessive shoving and general misconduct from attendees exacerbated already dehydrated ravers, only adding tension to already negative situations of crowding and overheating.
- Songs about ‘Molly’ including Tyga’s ‘Molly’ and Cedric Gervais’ hit song were dropped, only adding to unnecessary hype of the drug
Again, none of these are Made Event of Electric Zoo’s fault. It is important to note that in 2012 Electric Zoo had no deaths. As pop stars and rappers have begun to bolster the hype of drug use and wild partying, our festivals are getting inundated with unsafe expectations that tons of drugs and drinking are required to make the EDM scene enjoyable…encouraging newcomers to create their own ‘Project X‘ at shows like EDC and EZOO instead of simply coming to enjoy the music.
Spoiler Alert; You Don’t Need Drugs To Enjoy EDM
DJ’s such as Bassnectar and Brillz have released official statements about the situation, pleading with their fanbase to be safe and take accountability for their actions. Videos such as the the vimeo clip featuring major acts like Kaskade, Tommie Sunshine, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak have been circulated begging those who do partake in substances to be extremely careful of their actions.
Actions such as taking “6 hits of molly”, leaving a friend by themselves if you know that they are intoxicated or impaired, and buying illegal substances from someone you’ve never met without testing it are just a few examples of unnecessary risks that were taken and contributed to the deaths of these two young individuals. Preventable actions.
While some have made the argument that shutting down the zoo because the poor decisions of 6 people should not affect thousands who have shelled out hundreds of dollars to enjoy their favorite musicians, its important to understand that the decision was ultimately Mayor Bloomberg‘s. While it angered many, like myself it was a wake-up call: if we do not tackle this problem head-on more and more EDM events will be cancelled, banned, and characterized as ‘death fests’, ‘drug sprees’, and ravers like you and me will be labelled ‘drug addicts’. While you can’t convince major news networks to undo the damage they are doing by stigmatizing us with each and every false depiction of all ravers being drug abusers who yell ‘popped a molly I’m sweating’ every 2.5 seconds, what you can do it this:
- Don’t buy anything endorsing ‘molly’, ‘mdma’, or drugs of any kind
- Demand that your favorite DJ’s stop the endorsement of drug usage of any kind
- Demand tracks promoting ‘molly’ and other hard drugs be removed from their set lists; Heck, even walk out as soon as they come on
- Demand harsher security that ACTUALLY checks for drugs THOROUGHLY
If purging molly from our shows means we can continue to have our major festivals and enjoy our favorite acts free of stigma and death, I say let’s do it. Who’s with me?
Something that has been irritating me for a considerable amount of time is the concept that all EDM events are ‘raves’, that all that listen to EDM as ‘ravers’, and that ‘PLUR’ can be mindlessly spewed and even defecated on with alterations like ‘PLURNT’ and ‘PLUR Bitch!’
I’m sorry, but Kandi kids aren’t necessarily the club crowd and the club crowd isn’t necessarily the ‘kandi-kid’ crowd that is celebrated on instagram. EDMsnob wrote a fantastic piece explaining the rich history of those wearing kandi, so I don’t feel the need to go into depth (especially since I’m a much newer face in that arena). But I will say is this:
Of the many people I’ve come across that tweet things tagged with ‘#PLUR’ and initiate projects that claim to be ‘PLUR’ and hock product with the false pretense that they are truly ‘ravers’, I have found that a startling few are who they claim to be. Very seldom do you meet someone whose Twitter handle or association precedes them, and find a genuine representation of what ‘ravers’ truly are.
After spending a night unwinding with some of the very first people to ever recognize me as ‘Ragehound’, I took a minute to look back on all the hard work I’ve put into taking the time to connect with anyone who has every reached out to me. Some have been incredible: they have accepted me with open arms, made me feel like a family member, and given me a sense of acceptance that no one ever could previously in my life. Some have taken time out of their day to come and meet with me, to teach me how to use a perler board, how to make a cuff, even gotten me a water and helped me to the front row my first time seeing a certain DJ. Some have held my hand and sung along to my favorite lyrics and cried with me when ‘that moment’ of a festival when it ends and the ‘comedown’ effect sets in full force. Some have stayed with me when I’ve stupidly tested my limits with drugs and alcohol and gotten too out of control and made sure I got home safe.
These kandi-clad people have been more of a family to me than my own at times, and that is why I get livid when their lifestyle is equated to a joke.
I view those who hock PLUR as a marketing tool as a joke. I also look at those who have begged and pleaded me to tweet their crap, promote their shitty venues, and support their jaded causes which wind up just being another marketing tool as jokers as well. Nonetheless I tweeted, I facebooked, I supported and championed them because that’s the person I am. I suppose what irked me in some cases, was when it came time when I needed that same favor, some magically found it ‘not feasible’ or suddenly ‘just didn’t have the time’.
What I largely discovered, was that these were the people who didn’t arrive at festivals with kandi they’d spent hours and hours making especially for people they knew and loved. These were not the people who sometimes went as far as to coordinate with their friends to match costumes, made sure everyone was hydrated, or took the time to explain subtleties of the music to newcomers who had seen a trailer for a festival on Youtube and yearned to experience an EDM festival for themselves. Instead, these were the people who wrote condescending articles in response to kandi kids, who scoffed and laughed at articles like my own explaining the connection between PLUR and charity, and who would leave comments like this on pictures of girls dressed for raves:
And these people are largely the ‘club’ crowd: the crowd that goes to ‘fine establishments’ to enjoy bottle service, listen to a carefully curated selection of ‘techno’ that they feel is far superior to the ‘drop heavy’ sets one hears at festivals (which I can respect), and views the ‘raver’ crowd as a mass of drug-addicted youngsters too jaded to understand what real music is. These are the people who will belittle you for the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and wave their smug sense of entitlement about like a magic wand. They will tell you the ‘kandi kids’ are awful, tell you how they yearn for when no one knew about Tiesto or Hardwell, and when EDC wasn’t a neon parade of girls in underwear. They probably won’t let you get to the front of the stage, or offer you water. They may instead sneer at you with your parched mouth, thinking you ‘popped a molly and you are sweating’, and as a result think of you as some colorful insect pestering them.
So when individuals such as this tweet about ‘PLUR’ and wave their smug sense of self-importance at others while trying to call themselves ‘ravers’, I get frustrated. These were the individuals pouring beers from the VIP balcony onto shuffling ravers below at Pacha during Tyler Sherritt’s set (oh don’t worry, I saw you bunch of fools and I’ll return the favor). These were the assholes who elbowed a girl in the face next to me at Zedd when she tried to edge in front of a taller person to see.
These people aren’t ‘ravers’. They don’t preach ‘PLUR’, and probably can’t tell you where it originated. Don’t call them ravers; it’s an insult to those of us who are.
PLUR: It’s one of the biggest buzzwords circulating throughout the raver scene, and has been utilized across the scene as both a communal term, an ideology..and a key tool in marketing campaigns.
It’s been slapped onto shirts, hash-tagged, exclaimed by kandi-clad ravers at festivals, and is on the uptrend. While there are many efforts in the scene that claim to demonstrate ‘PLUR’, many of these fall short as they simply use ‘PLUR’ as an excuse for monetary gain, contrived purpose, and ultimately end in sloppy execution; often leading to more negativity surrounding their shortcomings.
Additionally, many who get behind the movement fail to understand the origins of the concept, or simply drop the facade once its core virtues no longer suit them. As a result, those who use the acronym are often met with disdain and annoyance from the more ‘clubby’ or ‘audiophilic’ crowd and regarded as the ‘dirty hippies’ of our time.
However in more recent efforts, the concept of PLUR has ushered in a new application that may help to fight the stigmatized ‘rave culture’: Charity.
With major acts like Avicii donating up to $1 million while on tour and donating 2 million meals through the FEED organization, Steve Aoki forming the Steve Aoki Charitable Fund to aid children in third world countries, and Insomniac Event’s Pasquale Rotella donating up to $115,000 to Las Vegas charities, there is more to the PLUR-spewing scene that initially meets the eye.
On a smaller scale, new events have begun to emerge that follow in the same footsteps carrying the same message: a quick Google search reveals hundreds of thousands of small Facebook events whose missions range from local initiatives to third-world outreach.
Among the vibrant (and ever vigilant) raver community on Twitter, small but tangible efforts range from rave bras to benefit charities to full-blown fundraising campaigns to benefit fellow ravers, friends, and family in need. Icons among the festival crowd like Lady Casa (formerly Molly Casa until a ‘clean the scene’ name change) preach acceptance and work towards inspiring others to inject more positivity into a largely snob-saturated atmosphere.
Though many club regulars, tech-house die-hards, and veterans to the scene may feel that today’s “kandi kid” PLUR-preaching scene is largely contrived, there is a tangible forward-thinking motive behind the movement that is hard to ignore. As the scene matures, It is my hope to see more ravers embrace PLUR in a more charitable way by reaching out to others in need: anything from sharing a water at a festival or attending a charity rave for a non-profit.
Instead of just slapping ‘PLUR’ on a shirt, organizers should try slapping the concept of PLUR onto events and partnering with notable (and honorable) causes which set forth to make a difference in the world. I’m not saying we need an ‘Electric PLUR Carnival’ in 2014, but I would gladly welcome events like Electric Zoo donating proceeds to the ASPCA and Nocturnal Wonderland partnering with the Make a Wish Foundation.
Instead of casting light on lingering the drug culture that becomes the main focus of media sources in reviewing events, I would love to see major events give back to rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and recovery efforts for any raver who may have found themselves in a dangerous situation at a rave.
I’ve noticed an increase in negativity on Twitter; whether it be in reaction to the cancellation of Moonrise (warranted, what happened was a shock and a disrespect to the artists who were signed up to perform) or the outright vicious attack of others, there seems to be an increase in hypocrisy surrounding those who claim to ‘preach PLUR’ and then so adamantly drop the veil of acceptance to berate and humiliate others. Truthfully, it makes me sad to see that so many have turned against the true ideals they stand for in favor of petty argument and bickering. Not only that, but I’ve even seen a truly disgusting increase in outright muckraking by twitter handles that claim to represent blogs. I know I have been known to criticize producers such as Paris Hilton, Will.i.am, and Pauly D…but there is a fundamental difference in disagreeing with the musical styles they perpetuate and an all-out assault on them personally.
I understand that twitter is a platform built on conversation, and that not all conversations will be positive, but outright bullying of anyone within the EDM scene is fundamentally un-PLUR, and if you are viciously attacking anyone be it a DJ, Anon, or personal handle, you are not preaching PLUR. To be honest, anyone who knows the original origin of the saying that coined the phenomena remembers that the initial mention was in a threatening manner:
“You better start showing some Peace, Love and Unity, or I will break your $%^ing faces”
Initially yelled by at a rave where a fight broke out, this moment of clarity would inspire our neon-laden comrades to later on don the expressive and vibrant decor they wear now, and their mission to spread love and acceptance of everyone in the scene. I’m not saying I’m going to break your fucking face if you continue to berate others while “going through the motions” of PLUR, but I think its time someone informed you that you are perpetuating a blasphemy, a charade, and not truly embracing the Peace, Love, Unity, or Respect idolized by this generation.