This NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS premiere comes at a really fucking good time for me. I’m about to turn 41 years old, and over the past week and a half, all of my backed-up internalized misogyny and patriarchal judgment came pouring out of my mind like a septic tank had sprung a leak.
Even before I grew tits, I identified as a feminist. Even when my mom, whom I idolized, screwed her face up at me and spat that word back out at me like it was dirty.
It’s been 30 years and yet I had so much self-hating programming still lurking in the murk of my mind. Judging myself for a body that was sexualized daily as soon as it began to develop. Judging myself for being too sexy and not sexy enough. Judging myself for being a mom who wears booty shorts and crop tops and no makeup and shaves her head and has broad shoulders and tattoos and still turns the other cheek when men come on to me in front of my daughters, because, maybe I invited that attention on myself. Maybe if I didn’t drink so much on my 19th birthday I wouldn’t have been raped by my boss. Maybe if I just make all the right decisions about how I look and where I go and with whom and teach my daughters to do the same, we’ll all be safe. The problem is, I don’t want to conform.
Because we live within a system that rests on sexism as one of its foundational pillars. When a man targets women, we tell women to act better to avoid it. That’s what my grandmother taught me, and my mother, and my aunts. And that’s what I started to tell my daughters last week, until (with the help of my amazing partner) I heard what I was telling them. Make yourself quieter, less noticeable, ignore it, it doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t have to bother you. How fucked is that?
So when L.A.’s Neighborhood Brats scream “Harvey Weinstein is a symptom of a greater disease,” I feel it. Because after 30 years of unpacking I’m still carrying patriarchal baggage disguised as a first aid kit. And because this song is a beautiful brutal punk symphony of rage! Today I’m so glad to share “Harvey Weinstein (is a symptom)” off their album Confines of Life that’s out via Dirt Cult Records on May 28 – you can pre-order it here.
I was disgusted with Harvey Weinstein and wrote the lyrics to the song “Harvey Weinstein (is a symptom)” specifically after listening to a New York Times The Daily podcast where Megan Twohey interviewed Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno.
At the end of the interview, it was asked of Rotunno if she had ever been sexually assaulted, to which she answered, “I have not because I would never put myself in that position” and went on to say basically that women who are sexual assault victims should take responsibility for what happened to them because they put themselves in a position to be assaulted.
When I heard this, I think I screamed, threw my phone, and crumpled down on my kitchen floor in tears. I thought about all the times I had been in inappropriate or scary situations with men where my only “fault” was that I was a woman and in the company of a man who was a predator or an abuser. I thought about all the times IN THE PUNK SCENE (a scene that’s supposedly so progressive or woke) where I have been treated poorly, had inappropriate advances made on me, touched against my will, talked down to, or had shitty comments said to me, and the overall flavor of misogyny and patriarchal values and stereotypes in what I’ve had to deal with for the past 20 years in a scene that’s pretty much dominated by men.
– Jenny Angelillo, vocalist