The Klipptones

No More Skirting the Issue

Last week, Bruno Mars sent me over the edge. Prior to then I had no opinion of him other than I like some of his music. But a video clip from his May 28th concert in Oakland infuriated me. The overview:

To a looping bump and grind R&B groove, Bruno schools the male attendees on how to be a player, specifically, how to say “DAY-UM” at the ladies. He announces he’s going to invite one lucky lady onto the stage with him, then pompously paces back and forth scrutinizing women attendees like a personal harem before pointing at one and motioning her to come up. The woman declines. Bruno freaks. “Don’t you know we were at the Superbowl??” he screams. “I’m going to give you one more chance”, and again she declines. At this point, Bruno announces to the crowd of thousands he has something to say to her, and howls “FUCK YOU” into the microphone, thereby cementing into the brains of young men and women everywhere that any woman who didn’t feel like being sexually objectified deserves to be verbally abused.

It sent me over the edge.

I’ve watched as one of my co-vocalists was stalked, objectified and harassed. I’ve watched as another was groped. And now I see it happening all over again with Mayra, to the point where the band now has a signal: “Do you want to go over the set list?” which is code for “Do you need to get away from this guy?”

I can’t stay on the sidelines anymore. I can’t proclaim to be a feminist but keep my mouth shut when I see this shit going down all over the world, at the Oakland Coliseum, and on the stage right next to me. Progressive dudes have a responsibility to do more than just say we are feminists, we need to start acting like it.

There are many things I can’t control but a few that I can. As the Klipptones front man, I have visibility and therefore the ability to make a statement with what I wear. This Wednesday, I will perform wearing a skirt. Well, a utilikilt, to be exact. And my point is to make a visible reminder that someone wearing a skirt deserves equal respect, freedom from harassment, and to be able to say “no” and have that wish simply honored.

I asked my bandmates to join me, and explained why. They all said yes (except Bob, who sits on a stool all night and I can’t blame him).  I don’t know how I got so lucky to be backed by guys as gutsy as they are talented.

Misogyny has no place in this world, and no place on the bandstand. Not with Bruno Mars, not with anyone. And until EVERY female singer, or woman in the audience, or young lady in a sorority house is respected, then NO man’s work is done. Certainly not mine. Our skirts this Wednesday are dedicated to every woman who deserves better.

 Required reading for all men:

https://medium.com/human-parts/a-gentlemens-guide-to-rape-culture-7fc86c50dc4c

PS – For precedent on Klipptones garb making a statement, recall our pink ties drawing attention to Breast Cancer Awareness, our green ties in support of Friends of the Urban Forest, or the polar bear hats we wore raising money for the Center for Biological Diversity.

UPDATE: We did it!