Ableism in the Punk Scene
Punk shows, bands, and everything in between are certainly not exempt to the -isms that plague society in general, despite claiming to rise above. Anyone who’s ever been to a punk show has seen girls get groped and treated like scum, both physically and mentally, and that’s just one color of the discriminatory rainbow. But, more than anything else, physical ableism at punk/hardcore shows is as blatant as the singer’s screaming vocals. Whether it’s the assumption that you’re a coward if you avoid the pit, or the fact that pits are so worshiped to begin with, encountering oppression is a given for the physically disabled punk rocker when trying to see their favorite band live – and let’s not forget that not every disability is visible, so the “I’ll be careful if I see someone in a wheelchair!” excuse is irrelevant in more ways than one.
I can already hear the self-entitled grousing of a thousand jocks-turned-hardcore white boys: “Circle pits and moshing are an age-old tradition!” Well, so is homophobia – it doesn’t matter how long-standing of a convention something is if it’s oppressive. And if you actually cared about using punk for good, you would know that. Let’s make punk shows more about progression and mental rebellion, and less about exerting testosterone through violence. More Clash, less Sex Pistols, please.