Misogyny in Music


“This is your place. We are going to create a safe environment that you deserve.”

Ten years ago, Frank Carter was part of a band called Gallows, an English hardcore punk band that made its way into major American festivals such as South By Southwest and Vans Warped Tour. His latest project, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes, recently embarked on a 15-date summer US tour with a stop at Cobra Lounge in Chicago. The tour was to promote their newest record, Modern Ruin.

If it was unclear how noteworthy the show was going to be, the first five minutes alone were enough to prove any spectator wrong. The moment Carter stepped out onto the stage, his smile was so bright that the still-lingering sun over the Chicago skyline was put to shame. The look on his face was incredibly genuine; as if he hadn’t expected a single person to be standing in that room.  

The audience did more than stand. The audience held Carter up as he bounded into the crowd and did a one-arm handstand. The audience started a mosh pit that ran from the front of the stage to the front of the venue. The audience held up and supported women as they alone crowd surfed from the stage.

Throughout their set, a central theme made its way into conversation between songs. It started near the beginning, when a moment in between songs was dedicated to the topic of women feeling unsafe in the confides of music venues. Carter talked about the enjoyment that men typically have as a concert-goer – the ability to stand in a crowd with a clear view of the stage and without the objectifying manner in which someone speaks to them. While the majority of the male concert-goers are watching the show and participating in circle pits and stage dives, women are left off to the side; much too afraid of the repercussions that a woman might face if joining in.

Far too many times, stage diving as a woman ends with inappropriate touching or lack of support in making their way across a crowd. But that night, Carter made a point to tell everyone in the audience that women deserve the right to enjoy a show as much as men. “Most importantly, they are your equal,” he said. 

Now that Frank is a husband and a father, he looks at every woman with the same thought process: ‘That is someone’s mother, someone’s daughter.’ He doesn’t want his wife or his daughter to experience a world where women are not viewed the same as men. It’s a concept he didn’t even think about as a member of Gallows, but with this project he knows he wants to spread a message of more than just good music. “I wish I had this perspective 10 years ago,” he said.

For one night at Cobra Lounge, female fans climbed onto the small stage and looked out into the crowd. They knew a group of hands would catch them the minute their feet left the stage and wouldn’t leave until their feet were safely planted back on the ground. Off to the side, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes performed. And for that night, everyone was equal.