I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts today (aptly named Dude That’s Fucked Up), and the hosts brought up a point worth considering: perhaps the election of Donald Trump was the catalyst for women to say, “no more.” Perhaps if Hillary Clinton were elected, the fire wouldn’t have ignited in us. Women are feeling angry, and empowered, and fed-the-fuck-up.
I, too, often feel this adrenaline. But honestly, I’m tired, too. And sad. Straight-up sad.
With each accusation and each apology statement, we’re energized to keep going, to claim our place in the world as equals. And yet, with every new headline, it all hurts just a little bit more.
Jesse Lacey‘s “apology” was one of the hardest for me.
In part, it’s because his statement was a series of excuses and misappropriation of blame (onto the concept of “sex addiction,” rather than a flaw in morals and character. In part, it’s because many men – and women – applauded the apology and collectively gave the guy a pat on the back, as has been done with so many other men in Lacey’s position.
But the largest part is because Brand New was once a band that made everything bearable.
“Keep the blood in your head / and keep your feet on the ground” were words I lived by from age 13 until Saturday, November 11, 2017, the day I found out about accusations against Lacey that detailed his sexual abuse of underaged girls. I was furious, of course. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deeply, deeply saddened, too.
Brand New once offered me a haven from anxiety and depression, inspired my art, quelled my nerves, got my blood pumping, soothed me to sleep. They made me feel alright about not feeling alright.
What are you supposed to do when the ones who saved you from despair are now the ones who caused it?
I mourn not for Brand New, and not for my current self, who can no longer find pleasure in their music. I mourn for my younger self, who once believed in Lacey’s words, and I mourn because with each new day, another girl or woman discovers the person meant to be an ally in this world has turned out to be the darkest ghost of all.
I grow more despondent each day because, as we all know, the accusations and twisted apologies and revelations will only continue, and I believe it’s the music industry’s turn to own up to this.
Matt (@TherapyDad_) tweeted this out today, for example.
friendly reminder that Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave is about 23 year old Pete Wentz’s 15 year old ex girlfriend, and all the songs are about killing her or wishing she would die
— sweet boy (@TherapyDad_) November 15, 2017
Matt goes on to point out that no one in Fall Out Boy has ever acknowledged the horrifying behavior of Wentz, so the matter goes unaddressed.
Then there’s the band (I’m not sure which band) that tried to get girls to flash their boobs in exchange for backstage passes on some tour (I’m not sure which tour, either). My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, bless his heart, heard what was happening and gave an impassioned speech on stage and encouraged girls not to give in.
mood: gerard way telling girls to “spit right in the fucking faces” of shitty ass men pic.twitter.com/G7YiTfwaGR
— william shookspeare (@dracomallfoys) October 17, 2017
The music industry is one of the most difficult for women to navigate, not least of all because of sexual harassment everywhere you look. If Taylor Swift was sexually harassed, you can guarantee practically every other woman in this industry has been, too. Men groping women as they crowd surf at a show? Yup. Male band members manipulating 14 year old girls for nudes? Definitely. Male professionals harassing a female record label executive at the office? Undoubtedly.
I desperately hope women, and men, continue to come forward and tell their stories. I desperately hope abusers are held accountable for their actions and face consequences. Anger is fueling this machine, and that is a flame that cannot burn out.
But you can bet the rallying cry of women in the Twittersphere overlaps with tears of heartbreak in the real world. The music of closeted abusers was once my solace in times like these. Now, it’s the very reason for that heartbreak. Ladies, take some extra time for self-care. Reach out to your true allies, and be kind to each other. Keep that fire raging. But don’t forget to mourn, too.