How not to talk to a woman at a music festival (or anywhere else)

BreePressPass.jpg
As I stood outside a show at last weekend's Underground Music Showcase, immersed in a nice conversation with my friend and former bandmate, we were the victims of a walk-by insult. But not the regular old street harassment kind of thing -- no this was hollering of a different kind.

You see, my friend and former bandmate is a man (emphasis here on him being a biological man and me being a biological woman). The perp was a (male) promoter we have had the unfortunate displeasure of working with in the past. Even though I have had to book shows and talk money with this gentleman, he still forgets my name, refers to me as someone's girlfriend or ignores me altogether in social settings. In this particular situation, he walked up to address, gave my friend a "What's up, dude!" greeting, looked at me and then looked back at my friend and said something along the lines of "Didn't mean to interrupt you talking to a pretty girl!"

Wow. Really?

See also:
On eight years of sobriety -- the wonderful and terrifying reality of an alcohol-free life

May we all have the strength of Cassandra to be badasses, even in the worst place in the world to get caught being a woman: a musical instrument store.

I know, I know. We feminists are so touchy about accepting assumptions screamed at us -- I mean, "compliments." But there I was, at the closing of day three of this four-day music fest, feeling like my experience was going fairly well on the feminist/human dialogue front -- and I had to have consent-lacking interaction with the shitbag of all shitbags.

To be fair, this dude is universally a pain in the ass to work with regardless of your gender or orientation, and many a male friend has told me that if it weren't for business needing to be handled, they wouldn't deal with him, either.

I went to Twitter to air my grievances after the incident. A few minutes later, two women replied that they had been similar positions at the festival. One who was running the damn show was asked if she was an assistant; the other was also running the damn show was assumed to be an intern. Whew. It was good to know I wasn't alone in this particular fight (that I didn't know still existed) to be taken seriously.

Is there anything wrong with being a girlfriend, a fan of a band, an assistant or an intern? Nope. But there is something wrong with assuming that someone is an anything. Especially when you're dealing with a large concentration of people over a period of four days at a place like a music festival, where it is likely that you might run into a woman or several dozen of them who are musicians, sound people, door people, operations managers, writers, photographers, stage crew, bartenders, etc. Or maybe the person in charge of said music festival.

In most social situations, it is polite to ask someone their role if it is necessary that you know this kind of information. But in a lot of cases, it is not pertinent to the situation at hand, so it is best to keep your predetermined bias to yourself so that everyone can have a good time. A woman might in fact be a girlfriend or a wife or a fan of the band -- but again, I cannot stress enough how irrelevant it is to most conversations.

Earlier in the weekend, I was completely cut out of a conversation when a new dude entered a circle of dudes I was standing with and everyone but me was introduced to him by name and occupation. I just walked away from that, which is something I often have to do when I don't feel like making everyone else as uncomfortable as I am. But walking away is not the answer.

In order to make this a proactive conversation, dear reader, I ask this of you: If you are a woman and you are interrupted, ignored or brushed off because someone assumes something about you in a social situation, do yourself and humanity a favor and call the perp out. And if you are a dude and you see this happen, please, call your fellow dudes out.

I know, it might make you and others uncomfortable to spotlight misogyny. But that's the thing -- women have been made to be uncomfortable for centuries, so that single minute of discomfort you're having? We can empathize.

It is easy to be on the same page when we actively choose to respect each other in public spaces.

Be my voyeur (or better yet, let me stalk you) on Twitter: @cocodavies





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78 comments
BHALL
BHALL

your point seems to be that people shouldn't make assumptions about people (like that they are interns or assistants) - but his only "assumption" about you was that you were a "pretty girl" - i don't understand.

lucas.marsh14
lucas.marsh14

Oh yeah, i get my panties all in a bunch when people call me a handsome boy too...just shut up.

Eryn Morgan Jones
Eryn Morgan Jones

Like wtf? I'm sure this chick also bitches about chivalry being dead

IlikePie
IlikePie

wow, just a reason to be a bitch.

Doc Fesmire
Doc Fesmire

Awww poor thing. No one knows you're more important than everyone else! What a burden that must be. Next time make an announcement at the show so there's no confusion.

Doc Fesmire
Doc Fesmire

I guess we're supposed to find out your name, google as much info as possible, create a spreadsheet of personal, more pertinent info, THEN address you starting with all your achievements, on our knees, begging for your respect? Right? Lol ooook

bradleyqt
bradleyqt

Bree,

I like your social commentary.  We see more eye to eye on this than on album/music/show reviews.  I liked the different situations you portrayed: from the clear comments directly about your gender to the far less obvious situation of being ignored or not equally introduced.

As a female, I have to say I'm also guilty of this.  I help out at a music venue and when people arrive early, they are almost always with the band, either in it or friends/significant others of the band.  For about a year, I assumed that all females that showed up were girlfriends of the band.  I think I created this assumption from the fact that I don't see many females when I see live music.  But after my assumption bit me in the ass one too many times, I decided to consciously chose to assume that all ladies were in the band.


I don't think I'm misogynistic.  I don't think I'm anti-feminism.  I think I just didn't realize what I was doing, and that's why I appreciate your call to action so much.  It's better to clarify and handle the issue at the moment than it is to realize it way too late.


I think there are ways to bring about change and I encourage people to bring up the issue in the moment in such a way that leaves people thinking about the issue and not the person who brought it up.  Keeping a light hand, using humor, trying to understand the other person so you can be understood - all of those traits of good communication can really help when you are trying to change a person's world view.

Clearly, your post has brought out the trolls.  I wish them the best of luck and that they find happiness in their negativity.  Do what you gotta do, ya'll.  Other responses have only thought to look at one point of the story but I appreciated all the complexity you brought to your point.  

Eryn Morgan Jones
Eryn Morgan Jones

GASP! How dare a MAN call you a pretty girl!! THE NERVE! Cut his dick off.

Pheenix Wonder
Pheenix Wonder

I am sick of being treated this way also. Being interrupted, talked over, and pushed aside, is not acceptable, for women, or anyone!

notgarybusey
notgarybusey

As a lady who is consistently ignored/dismissed when lesser men engaging in the same discussion get more thought and acknowledgement, I completely identify with this article, however..


What the heck is this tripe? "You see, my friend and former bandmate is a man (emphasis here on him being a biological man and me being a biological woman)." 1) "biological"? Unfortunate and exclusive terminology for a feminist. 2) What relevance does biology have to the remainder of the article?

honeyplease
honeyplease

Yet another shitty self-centered Bree Davies rant only pertaining to her personal life... I hope she isn't being paid for this drivel. Stick to writing reviews.

DietPill
DietPill

Ya, he totally shoulda like, ya know, cared who you were and junk. I mean it's like, hello where is all that attention men owe me for having a vagina, ya know? Like gawd, gag me with a spoon! Right on though, this article is totally like the eqiv of like fighting for the right to vote!

jjdoglegg
jjdoglegg

You poor thing, god forbid someone forget your name. So important with that big prominent press pass you display. Seriously, you seem like an egomaniac and female douchebag. Also, stop saying dude so much.

WillieStortz
WillieStortz topcommenter

Do these overly sensitive broads understand how much damage they do to professional women with their constant whining and complaining? 


If you had something to offer, they would remember your name. It doesn't matter if you have a dick or not.

sballardo672
sballardo672

All you do is bitch and complain.  Didn't even read past the first paragraph.  blah blah blah...Bree is upset...AGAIN!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

So he referred to you as a "pretty girl" instead of the bloated drunken cow you used to be ... and you're upset?


Whiny Cunt much?


.



scott1074
scott1074

In good old Fort Collins, FoCoMX, SpokesBUZZ, and Bohemian Nights are almost entirely organized and run by women. Just saying.

Katie Schmoker
Katie Schmoker

Pretty sure I know exactly who this is about, as there weren't very many promoters at UMS, even fewer who talk like this, and even fewer that most bands dislike working with. But, in his defense, he's a drunk fumbler of simple manners and dialogue. Now, maybe you could call that underlying misogynistic tendencies, but I just think he's an unthoughtful, egotistical, drunk jerk… Haha! Funny though that someone very publicly has called him out on it.

Adam Stevermer
Adam Stevermer

Why does this have to be a gender issue? I think the underlying theme here is professionalism. What this writer experienced is a moron with no business acumen. It's likely he offends men in the same way because he is a senseless goon. Giving him credit for misogyny is probably assuming he is intelligent enough to create a bias based on gender. If sounds to me like he probably alienates just about everyone, vagina notwithstanding.

Mike Stapley
Mike Stapley

It is interesting that the author points out numerous times that the gentleman treats everyone poorly, male and female, yet she is certain he is sexist. Sometimes you find what you're looking for.

Aaron Davidson
Aaron Davidson

I met a woman at work the other day. She has a very unique name, but I can't remember what it is. Must be sexism.

Aaron Davidson
Aaron Davidson

Eya, the guy might just generally be a douche, rather than a sexist douche. I know plenty of people who don't remember me, despite meeting me several times and knowing my friends. It happens to everyone, and I don't hold it against them. We're just not as close as they are to other people, so they don't bother remembering me.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

No, not really. It's up to us as members of society to at least TRY and be mature enough to not let such words cause us such misery or annoyance even. As adults, we should strive to be the kind of people, IMO, that don't let comments like this snowball into something bigger than they are.

Kätlyn Beth Cuilla Martinez
Kätlyn Beth Cuilla Martinez

You say "sweep shit under the rug" like it's a good thing. Eventually someone is going to have to clean that shit up.

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

This article seems like it was cut short, like the writer had more of a point to make, but it was cut off. Did West word censor it because she's a woman or maybe there was no mention of weed or juggalos. Either way, the author was making a great point. Women should not be treated like second rate citizens. Treat them like the guys. This gender inequality is old.

Aaron Davidson
Aaron Davidson

But the Westword gave her a platform, and gosh darnit, her opinion matters!

Anna Jean Frick
Anna Jean Frick

I can totally relate. I get sick of being re-introduced to the same people over and over again only to finally have my name engrained as "wife of..." My husband and I both work in music, yet he's the one that gets recognized and I'm ignored? Annoying and irritating.

John S. Schafluetzel
John S. Schafluetzel

Is it possible he knows he is as bad with women as you know he is? Maybe he developed a tendency to dismiss women less out of misogyny and more out of having no luck in his dealings with them. Not trying to defend the guy but as long as we are jumping to wild conclusions on his inner motivations I thought I might posit one of my own. I know, I know. You're going by your personal experience and the experiences of generations of your sisters before you. I don't have the generations to go by perhaps, as feminism is relatively new in a historical perspective, but I have my experiences and those of other men. Which of course can be immediately dismissed because of the aforementioned historical perspective. There certainly is no chance men could be misjudged or mistreated now, could there. The problem with some* feminists is the same with many other "ists"--your perspective colors all interactions and causes you to feed your "enemies." Sure call the guy out as a "misogynist." You don't think you will just be another "militant feminist?" You reveal your bitterness and he fortified his position. My first "feminist" experience was as a damn child. I made the mistake of opening the door for someone. She glared down coldly at me from her heavily shoulder padded power suit and declared. "Young man, don't you think you need to open the door for me simply because I am a lady." This puzzled me. I met her stare and said "I don't hold the door because you are a lady. I hold the door because I am a gentleman." My experiences since have seldom gone better. I have no problem with women. I have no problem with empowerment. I was raised by a highly educated woman. I am surrounded daily by women who by nearly every traditional definition are more successful than I am and I have nothing but respect for them. My sister is probably my greatest hero. What I have a problem with is any "ism" that requires a person to be belittled to make another feel bigger. Isn't feminism, it's ultimate goal, all about equality? We should call this guy out? We should make him feel small? We should make of him a footstool so you may feel a bit taller? I'm all for equality, but I don't think this is what this is about. You spent the bulk of your words explaining how this guy it's an asshole who no one likes. Maybe you did so to lessen the blowback from people thinking you were just over zealous. Perhaps it was because you were, yourself, uncertain this experience alone was enough to justify your backlash. Either way, the whole thing reeks more of personal grudge than social injustice.

Jana Goulet
Jana Goulet

And if you are a so called feminist who wants everyone else to call their fellow "dudes" out on their bullshit why did you then just walk away?? Sounds like someone has a bit of personal growth to do.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

Just so I'm clear, because I'm not a woman, you were called a 'pretty girl' (flippantly, agreed) by some guy you have a past with who is a known douche, and you took so much offense that you had to write this about it? Maybe I'm crazy, but at what age do we just sweep that shit under the rug and just let assholes be assholes and go our own ways?

phunkybitch
phunkybitch

Lot of mansplainers out already. Seems that a lot of men really hate women at some fundamental level.

jjdoglegg
jjdoglegg

Haha, I was wondering as the name seemed familiar. What a train wreck.

rzisook
rzisook

This does not "have to be a gender issue."  This is a gender issue.  Attempting to take out the gender as a significant aspect of this interaction is extremely problematic.  It is similar to (though not the same as) arguing that we should all be "colorblind" (as in, not seeing race as a significant part of a person's identity).  The "colorblind" mentality is also extremely problematic, as it strips people of their culture, identity, heritage, history and lived reality, and cloaks this stripping away with a pseudo-noble aim of seeing everyone as equals.  We are not equals because we live in a world that privileges some (white, male, cis-gendered, able-bodied, heterosexual, etc) and marginalizes others. 


The author is not "giving him credit for misogyny," but is rather addressing the fact that this particular man is operating as part of a larger system, a culture of misogyny and male privilege, which is very much alive and thriving, and which is a culture we all exist within, are complicit with, and/or try to fight against.  The fact that male privilege exists is not in dispute.  The fact that this particular person "probably alienates just about everyone" does not take away the specific and damaging way in which he harmed this woman in this incident.  


I am dismayed at the ignorance and hate that this brave and necessary piece of writing has brought forth.  If anything, it reminds me that we have a long way to go.  I wish love and hope to those who have found this comment stream to be an outlet for your ignorance.  And I wish the same - love and critical hope - to those who are with me in fighting off this oppression, whether on a comment thread or in our daily lives.  

sballardo672
sballardo672

@phunkybitch  So if we disagree with a  feminist we must hate women?  Is that along the lines that if I don't agree with illegal immigration I am a racist?  Boy, the lines of logic are really skewed these days. 


Check this out: http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/ <<<they must hate women too.

phunkybitch
phunkybitch

@fishingblues @phunkybitch 

How does a moron like you get a top commenter status? Oh, just yell at anyone who disagrees with you. Somehow I bet that you view all women as overbearing shrews, especially since they won't give you the time of day. 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@phunkybitch 


I don't hear anyone yelling?


Some people who possess XX chromosomes may technically be called women, yet they manifest no such female symptoms in appearance or attitude.


I believe it is referred to as penis envy.

(I've also heard them referred to as man-hating bull-dykes, but you obviously know more about that than I.)

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga @notgarybusey Yeah, the bat that was taken from you when you were getting your lunch money taken as you got off the short bus.


About those odd little fantasies about everyone that exposes how foolish you make yourself, I say OFF TOPIC.  That's OK, while we're off topic, a let's laugh at the libertarians:

http://youtu.be/7QDv4sYwjO0

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga @sballardo672 @phunkybitch No, my gender is a subject you have fantasies about.  I have never addressed the subject other that ridiculing your delusions. 

Now lets get back on topic:

  • South Dakota wants to require “spiritual” counseling (House Bill 1217) at religious centers before allowing an abortion to take place. The bill was signed into law in March 2011 and challenged in court by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU in May. We still haven’t heard what the courts will decide in this case (though a federal judge has suspended most of the law in the interim) and Republicans aren’t waiting to find out. The South Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill on February 13 sponsored by Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon that changes counseling requirements. Women seeking abortions will still have to wait 72 hours and endure spiritual counseling but now requires those counselors be licensed. The consulting doctor will now have to decide if it is likely the woman will develop mental health problems as a result of the abortion. As a side note, in both 2006 and 2008 voters rejected attempts to outlaw most abortions.
  • Also in South Dakota, H.B. 1166, which was enacted in 2005, was, says RHRealityCheck.org, billed as an “informed consent law,” but what it really mandated was misinformation, requiring doctors “to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she faces an ‘increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide,’ a claim for which there is absolutely no scientific or medical evidence.” On September 2, 2011, “Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out important provisions of a South Dakota law that literally forced doctors to lie to their patients.”
  • The Texas State House of Representatives has passed the Sonogram Bill (HB 15), a measure requiring women to get a sonogram before ending a pregnancy, forcing even victims of rape to have a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure. Gov. Rick Perry has signed the bill into law, which takes effect September 1, 2011. There are exceptions in cases of rape and incest. As Planned Parenthood reports: “While a woman can opt-out of seeing the sonogram image and hearing the heart tone, she cannot opt-out of a medically unnecessary sonogram, nor can she opt-out of the fetal description except within very narrow parameters for situations of rape, incest, judicial bypasses, and fetal anomalies.”
  • Also from Texas, the passage of SB 257, passed by House and Senate on May 5, 2011 and signed by the governor on May 17, 2011 provides for “Choose Life” license plates. As explained by Planned Parenthood: “The state will now produce “Choose Life” license plates and distribute revenue from the sale of the plates to anti-choice groups such as crisis pregnancy centers (CPC). The “Alternative to Abortion” program currently receives $4 million dollars a year in taxpayer money through the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) that is distributed to CPCs. CPC are unregulated anti-choice organizations that do not provide any medical services and are known to spend nearly half of the tax dollars they receive on advertising and administrative costs, not client services.”
  • Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin has introduced a bill that would not only make abortion illegal but would make miscarriages illegal.
  • Indiana (House Bill 1210) wants to force doctors to lie to women about abortion causing breast cancer despite medical evidence to the contrary in order to discourage women from having abortions
  • Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” (HR 3) that would limit the rape exemption for abortion to “forcible rape” which would have defined many rapes, for example, statutory rape of a minor, as non-forcible and therefore not covered by federal assistance. Mother Jones has reported another aspect of this legislation, that the IRS would be turned into abortion-cops: “Were this to become law, people could end up in an audit, the subject of which could be abortion, rape, and incest,” says Christopher Bergin, the head of Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit tax policy group. “If you pass the law like this, the IRS would be required to enforce it.”


muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @phunkybitch Fishingrainbow:  Just about everyone knows more about anything than you, silly little cultist.

Phunky:  Being a "Top Commenter just means you post a lot....there is no honor to the "title." 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@muhutdafuga


Your fat ass wouldn't fit on the short bus.  They had to haul you in a cattle trailer.  

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga So now your fantasies have me as this giant that can crush you like a great green grape.  I've heard of cases like yours...

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