I am on facebook way more often than wordpress, so apologies. If you want to see what I am up to, please check out my facebook page. I want to post what I’m writing on moshing and other forms of consensual violence (with some edits from their original form).
I participated full-on in a mosh pit for the first time at anti-flag last nite. altho pretty fun, i still remain ambivalent about it and think it needs to be considered within a frame of consensual violence and problematized/politicized. in mosh pits, people really look out for and help people who fall. but many participate get really f’ing rough. i’ve no visible bruises, but still a few tender spots.
i’m also wondering how this can be compared to other forms of consensual violence, eg bdsm. i think one can participate in something, find some good things about it, yet remain critical of it. i wonder if i will mosh again. the pain afterwards isn’t worth it, to me, although it is exciting and forms some unity within the moshing audience. i experienced some worry for short girls/women who were having a hard time getting out. and i think it effectively shuts off non-moshers from seeing the band, and injects our flailing bodies into the non-moshers’ space. some moshers used elbows to jab and hands to shove far too hard (eg ppl fell) which i think is fucked. however, bands tend to encourage moshing. it’s rare to see discouragement by punk and other “moshy” bands.
obv there are diffs b/t various forms of consensual violence, eg occurs in public (eg boxing) or private (eg bdsm), is sexualized none, somewhat, a lot, presence or absence of audience, recorded (eg pay per view wrestling, porn) or not, etc. and consensual violence is often not entirely so, both within those directly involved (eg enthusiastic consent vs “doing it for the money” vs force) and those not (eg wanting to see a music show but not “annoying punks” thrashing each other). another diff: simulated violence (eg “professional” wrestling) vs real (eg rugby) another is whether the audience views it as real or simulated, or experiences it as real or simulated, as well as how the participants view it. i also feel that piercing and tattooing are forms of consensual violence. who participates is also really important to examine.
being the radfem i am, i view all of these (and more) as very salient, particularly demographics of who is doing it (eg sex, gender, class, race, sexual orientation/preference), whether it’s for another, whether money is involved and how (eg employment), and whether it is sexualized.
also, me using bdsm as an example of consensual violence. was not meant to be exhaustive of either private and/or sexualized consensual violence. i am becoming wary of picking on bdsm in itself, because that serves to de-politicize heterosexuality as usual (unless one has the analysis that heterosexuality and bdsm are equally political, for many of the same reasons, which i’ve seen some radfems have). i’ve been wondering lately, and realizing, that heterosexuality, eg penis in vagina, heterosexuality as institution, etc, while arguably infused with a particular brand(s) of bdsm, has done far more damage, harm, and even death to women than bdsm has.
this had a response about moshing from a friend who talked about her experiences, that tended to be really violent, going beyond what she thought could be considered consensual:
“Some mosh pits are not so nice as what you describe, depending on the genre of music I suppose. I also haven’t been in a mosh pit in probably 10 or 15 years at this point– so maybe they have changed… I remember when I was a teenager and seeing people getting trampled (or getting trampled myself)– and sometimes trapped in them trying desperately to push my way out. Sometimes there were deliberate fist-fights within them, or people who purposely wore spiked jewelry or brass-knuckles to inflict the most pain. People sometimes covered in blood. I actually remember hearing in the late 90s of a few concerts where people died in them as a result. I believe that passes beyond consent at that point.
“One concert I saw a young girl with a clearly broken arm in one (her lower arm went at a right angle– not at the elbow, but below it). She was soo high she had no idea what was going on– and people kept pushing into her and her arm was spurting blood like mad. It was disgusting. We tried to get her out, but it was impossible and eventually she got trampled. Later I saw her being taken out by an ambulance– in pretty rough shape.”
what i was at was a lot better than that, but still had some of what you discuss, i saw one male with a bloody face (not severely, just like scratches), and two females got into a punch-fest, that was broken up after a minute or so.
yeah, i’…(tharr be more)d agree that when bones are broken, ppl wear spiked things to cause injury, etc. that goes beyond consent. esp considering that some ppl, as you said, aren’t aware of what is happening to them because they are so drunk.
i think it’s both in the “nature” of the activity (ie what it is) and how the people in it handle themselves, as well as the copious alcohol consumed by many.
also in that pit, some things happened that weren’t ok with me, but were accidental, like getting my toes stepped on, or falling into me b/c another pushed them.
i also think it was a rather better than average, based on what i’ve seen of moshing at other shows. i also had a knapsack to protect me on, so my back didn’t get hurt by pushing, etc.
white males tend to go the hardest, to prove their “toughness” bs.
this also reminds me of another big issue: can one get out of the violence, and if so, how easily?
certainly, in moshing, consent isn’t negotiated. if you’re in the area surrounding the stage, you get pushed/slammed into.
I invite other comments, and I’m sure my queries and arguments will be further developed!