My Faves Are Problematic

Question:

Dear Bitches, 

Help! My favourite Canadian pop-punk band has been accused of sexually assaulting several women. I'm a woke feminist mom with tattoos, and gosh darn, I keep falling into these traps that say, "Oh it's just accusations," or, "This is just a rock 'n' roll lifestyle, why aren't other bands in trouble?" 

I know the choice should be simple, but I just can't help the waves of nostalgia that this band and the smell of Axe cologne give me. (Not to mention my many tattoos in their image that I still wear proudly on my skin!) It always reminds me of being a privileged, yet misunderstood, youth; one who was ready to rebel only slightly through mediocre music that pushed my dad's buttons just enough for him to know I'm ANGSTY, but not enough that cut off my allowance (a girl needs her Starbucks, ya know?) Help!

Sincerely, 

Kate Graves: a tattooed, music enthusiast stay-at-home mom 

Note:  Kate's full question (which may have been rhetorical) is up on CBC Opinions

Answer: 

Dear Kate, 

I know it's hard to keep that alternative rocker cred as you get older with baby in tow. But guess what? Standing by a shitty band, (hey, standing by a great band) is simply not okay when allegations about rape have happened. And sure, you can tell yourself, "They're just accusations," but then you would probably need to be a defence lawyer, because the only place that shitty excuse belongs is in the courtroom. In the real world, we believe survivors. We believe survivors when they met their rapist on Tinder, we believe survivors when they were a fan of their rapist's music, hell, we believe survivors when we're a fan of their rapist's music. 

You state that standing by your favourite band, "the soundtrack to your soul," as it were, does not make you a "traitor to women." Well, women aren't a country and as such, I suppose you aren't a traitor. But you're certainly not supporting women, not raising other women up, and not believing other women when you stand by a band that has had multiple allegations of sexual assault voiced against them. You write off these accusations violent crime as "objectifying women," and point out the fact that many other bands are in the same place. That's denial, plain and simple. It's excusing the continuation of sexual violence by men as a "boys will be boys," or "bands will be be bands," trope. 

You can do better, Kate. First, pick another band to sing the soundtrack to your soul. Try the Bad + Bitchy Spotify playlist to begin. I highly recommend digging deep into Fiona Apple if you're an angsty alternative gal like myself. Then, let Hedley go, with the dozens of other problematic faves we've let go recently, because you choose better. I bet you live a life with high standards of integrity otherwise. You are probably teaching your children not to lie, not to judge others by their appearance, and not to touch other people without their consent. So, ask the same of the people who who give so much credit to when it comes to shaping the soundtrack of your life.

You ask, "How can something that has always given me hope, courage, excitement, satisfaction and peace ever become something I'm ashamed of?" Ask every kid who grew up with Dr. Huxtable as their stand-in dad in the 80's that same question, and most of us will tell you, "You just let it go." You don't need to be ashamed for the actions of others, just as your life does not need to be ruined by these accusations.

You say, "In terms of allegations of rape: that is obviously an incredibly serious accusation. But right now, that's all it is: an accusation. Nevertheless, its effect has been to destroy the lives of members of the band, as well as the spirit of fans who have followed them throughout their entire careers. I can't tell you how frustrating it has been to watch: to wake up every day to a new headline in the media, to news that they've lost an opening act, lost their management, lost their spot on the radio — it just didn't slow down. To say it's sad isn't enough: it's devastating." 

That's a little dramatic, isn't it, Kate? Last time I checked, you don't wake up with night terrors, live with flashbacks, or have needed to retreat from family, work, school, and friends because of this. That's what survivors of sexual violence need to live with every single day. So get a hold of yourself, and demand better from your new favourites. If Hedley made your darkest days a little brighter, I promise there are many sunny skies ahead from bands that aren't sexually violent.