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.
A while back, someone who knew me from my dayjob (and not my nightlife) gave me their opinion and viewpoint as what they called the ‘typical kandi kids’.
They called them drug addicts, they called them deadbeats destined to wash up, and they called PLUR their way of ‘coping’ or perhaps even ‘legitimizing’ their ‘pointless’ lifestyle and unnecessary expenses. This someone said that his main reason for going to shows was just to hear the music, and that the crowd didn’t matter.
Unaware that I’ve coming to feel a resonance with the PLUR-practicing ‘kandi kids’, this person probably assumed (like most people) that I was the typical neon crop-top wearing 20-something who listened to David Guetta and Afrojack, went to festivals with a group of well-groomed bankers in tanks and pastel Dockers, and maybe had one or two ‘bracelets’ because I didn’t understand how trading worked or bought them from Claire’s or Hot Topic.
But, That’s Not Me
But to me, this demonstrates a fundamentally skewed and highly inaccurate portrayal of the scene. The fact of the matter is, yes some of us do drugs…but so do some of the banker-types in their neon frat-wear. Yes, some of the kandi-kids work ‘deadbeat’ jobs to make ends meet…but under some of the beaded masks, under the spirithoods, and wearing some of the LED gloves you also find PR professionals, artists, medical professionals, and yes, even some bankers. Similarly, some of the ‘well-to-do’ types that fist-pump and yell “RAAAGE!” randomly throughout DJ sets are also sometimes working deadbeat jobs, donning the frattier attire to attempt to blend in the more affluent banker-types. And that’s no reason to think of them as any less or better than the rest of the people enjoying the scene.
What PLUR Actually Is
One of the biggest reasons I love the PLUR-practicing community is, you can be that kandi-laden raver with FX contacts, body paint, fluffies, gloves…or just be some guy in a polo shirt and khaki shorts…and you will be treated with equal respect. Similarly, if you’ve only ever heard of David Guetta, and are at a festival to expand your understanding of the scene…the PLUR community will be all too excited to guide you to a stage playing Trance, or Trap, or anything that they think you might like. Hell, they’ll even let you listen to their iPod to help you figure it out sometimes. PLUR isn’t some generic cult that shoves molly down their throat to have a good time…and even those of us that do enjoy a roll here and there aren’t trying to ‘cope’ or ‘legitimizing’ our feelings for the music. In fact, some of us just add Molly sometimes…because we just want an extra kick, not unlike the fratty times that ‘pregame’ with gallons of dehydrating beer: at least we remember the experience we had, unlike the fratty mishaps that get wasted and carried off in stretchers at Festivals (though if that’s how you want to spend a festival, that is entirely your choice).
PLUR, is at its simplest core:
- Peace; the peace of mind of being amongst like-minds. The peaceful vibes you get as you experience the lights, music, and raw energy of the crowd. The peace that comes as you lay your head to sleep after a good show and relive the memories in your dreams.
- Love; a unified love of the music, of the crowd, of what is around you and who you can be for that moment in time. Love of who you are, and love of other people who are there for the same reason you are.
- Unity; quite simply the unity you feel in that moment where you let the music move you. Where you can express yourself not as one person, but as one excited and tangible unit of people aligned in the same emotions.
- Respect; the respect of those around you: if you need water, they will help you. If you need support, they will support you. In some cases, if you can’t see, they will lift you up so you can get a glimpse of your favorite DJ. They understand why you are here, and you respect the reasons they are there with you.
So perhaps if this person knew that I go to these shows wearing a bandana mask, trading kandi, and feeling a mutual love of those around me, they might think differently. But it’s not entirely their fault: if your sole reason for going to shows is to stand still and listen to the music, then stream it live from home or buy a VIP ticket. If you are so far-removed from the crowd and do no wish to interact with the ‘kandi kids’ because you find their unique expression juvenile or take joy in mocking it…just buy a VIP ticket and enjoy your VIP air-conditioned bathroom safely away from them.
But if you do nothing else, realize that the mainstream ‘stereotype’ you are associating with these individuals is inaccurate and unjustified. But because I believe in PLUR and I align with its message, instead of being mad that him for thinking this way, I will simply love and respect him, as I do all my friends.
Sorry for the mega-rant guys!