I may possibly be reading too much into this whole thing, but then again, maybe not. As I've mentioned, I'm a pretty unapologetic feminist, and I have, in the past, walked away from acts I used to enjoy because the people involved revealed themselves to be sexist, misogynist, racist, or really any sort of bigoted at all. I can't seem to separate the art from the artist when it comes to things like that.
So of course, I am always thrilled when I sense--or am outright shown--tolerance from people in positions to voice their values to a large audience. I'm not talking about soapbox shouting, or using one's art as a vehicle for a personal agenda (although that can be all right in some cases.) I'm just talking about when your values come through naturally - and that's the feeling I was getting at the HitRECord Halloween show.
So let's talk abut feminism for a second. There's no way around internalized misogyny nearly everywhere, except to be aware of it at all times. What I've noticed, though, is that once your eyes are open to it (and really, to anything,) it's hard to close them again. You see it every single time it happens, and it can suck. "Living is easy with eyes closed," right? So, you can speak up, or you can lead by example, or both.
There'd been some talk on HitRECord and elsewhere about the lack of Halloween costumes for women. Lydia brought it up in her brilliant Re: Halloween segment, in fact. (It's not actually the lack of clothing that's the issue here, it's the one-sided lack of options. If you wanna go ahead and be Sexy Dumbledore or Sexy Anything, that should be your prerogative. ^_^ )
This is all leading up to the fact that Joe came out in full drag. I do mean like, full-on, wrecked, latex French Maid costume. “Je suis Josephine,” he said, “je suis ici pour votre plaisirrrrrrr,” with a perfectly overdone French R-roll. (The finishing touch was the blond wig with the black bow, and the tag hanging out the back. Freaking hilarious.)
Anyway, my feminist soul was all like “RIGHT ON!” Kind of a like a “Not so one-sided anymore, is it?” sort of thing. Okay, maybe I’m reading too much into his intentions, but maybe not.
Then came Little Red Riding Hood, as re-written by Joe. He explained that Little Red Riding Hood was basically about sex. A few people laughed and seemed surprised by that. But that’s what most fairy tales are actually about, and in many cases they are warnings against certain behaviors: Be good, be virtuous, don't stray, do as you're told. Little Red Riding Hood was most definitely about how women should not wander off “the path” because predators lurked around every corner. And if she did wander and get “eaten,” it was her fault for disobeying. But, Red was fortunate enough to have a big, strapping, virtuous man come and rescue her from the beast, and she learned her lesson: Never wander again, because there are predators out there.
I've always hated the mindset that the onus is on women to not walk into the lair of predators. Why shouldn't we be allowed to walk wherever the hell we want without getting "eaten?" Why is it my responsibility if someone chooses to hurt me?
Joe changed the ending, though. In his version, Red doesn’t wait around for the hunter to rescue her and Grandma from the Big Bad Wolf: she uses her knife to cut herself out of him. And then she doesn’t “learn her lesson” either, instead deciding to keep wandering off the path anyway, since she’s armed with said knife.
Again, my feminist soul was punching the air. :) It’s so nice when people get it. So subtly, and with such a sense of fun, he totally shut down victim-blaming and the whole “serves her right for not doing what we told her to do” moral-thing. I think Joe’s Mamma taught him right.
It's sort of like this in general on HitRECord, which is really nice. It's quite possibly the one place where I have yet to run into any kind of sexism, racism, lookism, etc. Of course, everyone makes a mistake and says the wrong thing at some point. I do that all the damn time. (I think during the show, someone misinterpreted Joe's legitimately innocuous remark about Greeks and Romans and said something like "Don't judge!" Or something? And instead of getting defensive and privileged, Joe just said, "I wasn't judging; I'm sorry." People could learn by his example.)
This is all just to say how pleased I am to have found a forward-thinking place like HitRECord, and how proud I am of the show that the community performed on that night of nights, Halloween. <3