underground since'89

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tobi vail P.O. Box 2572 Olympia, WA 98507 USA

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Monday, November 22, 2021


Things people have said to me as a person that has written about and participated in punk/independent/underground music since the early 80s: YOU can’t speak about that topic in public because

you are a role model, your band sucks, your band is too popular, no one cares about your band so shut the fuck up, you are too young, you are too old, you are too dumb, you are too smart, you are not cool, you think you are too cool, you are too ugly, you are a whore you are a slut you are a cunt you are a bitch ie you are a girl/woman and therefore you can only speak with authority about your own life and any experiential, lived knowledge you have gained thus far will be viewed as personal and subjective therefore not worthy.

In other words, women can’t be serious, funny, nuanced, multifaceted, intellectual, flippant, base, complicated, contradictory, abstract, specific, objective, opinionated, political, sexy, repulsive, tricksters, apolitical, transgressive, free, argumentative, antagonistic, querulous, pensive, or loudmouthed.

I am used to having my opinions misunderstood, scrutinized and dismissed but as a woman in public I actually risk my own personal safety using my voice. Not only are we punished for stepping out, we are also stalked and harassed on the internet/ social media and that impacts our bodily autonomy in a violent, unsafe world full of trauma and very real threats to our personal safety. I don’t talk about it publicly because talking about it can feed it and it is fucking scary and because talking about it makes it more real and because talking about it makes it suck even more than it already does but trust me this is real and this is extremely common. I’m speaking with first hand knowledge and experience here and I don’t need to qualify it with examples so I won’t.

Women often choose to stop sharing our work/ thoughts/ opinions/ stories publicly for these reasons. I think it’s important to acknowledge that this experience is shared and to see it is a result of patriarchy. I choose to participate because fuck society’s bullshit rules. I hate this place but I’m not gonna shut the fuck up, EVER

Xo Tobi Vail Feminist punk rocker