September 25, 2014
by Brandon Gepfer

“Fuck these pussies. Stage dives forever.”

That’s a recent status update from a pop-punk band on Facebook regarding Joyce Manor’s calling out, shaming, whatever-you-want-to-call-it of stage divers during their current headlining tour. (The post has since been deleted, but a screenshot can be seen here via Google cache. -ed.) Apparently, that’s not an uncommon sentiment being expressed; I unfortunately get bored at work and see a bunch of idiotic opinions and feel the need to address them. Here’s something for a fan, friend of the band, supporter of art and anyone that is just plain curious: You, as a fan, do not control the show. Simple as that.

I get that some people want to have fun, and I’ve been stage diving since 2006. I used to go to the Wonder Years’ shows, too. It’s totally cool. The line gets drawn, however, when the performer says that it isn’t cool. Why is it so confusing, rather; why is it so outrageous to listen? At the end of the day, you are an attendant at a show and you made the decision to support a band. However, there are a number of people, including bands that call Barry Johnson from Joyce Manor a ‘pussy’ and say that’s not ‘punk rock.’ You know what’s not punk rock? A disrespectful teenager calling someone a ‘pussy’ because you disagree with their view point.

This highlights the actual problem in punk rock. The attendees of the show think that they are owed something because they have an opinion. A lot of people got into punk rock because they were made fun of. I was called a ‘pussy’ from fifth grade all the way up until right now because of the opinions I hold, you know that simple opinion called equality. I hate the bro aspect of pop-punk and how these dorks infiltrated punk rock. The same type of people that beat me up as a kid listen to hardcore and punk rock now. They come to shows and hit people (not even dancing, just pushing each other for the hell of it), they jump off the stage literally every three minutes because I guess that’s how they express themselves, I don’t know.

It’s annoying to me that some of us that happen to be men and women have to worry about getting a knee to the head because some privileged pop-punk goofball thinks that that’s how to only have a good time at a show. I have to stand in the back of the venue because, I guess you deserve to have a better time than me. Listen, if the show you’re at encourages stage diving and hitting each other, go ahead and do it. But, if you’re at a show and the artist says stop. Stop.

Respect one another. Realize that not everyone is comfortable with what you are doing. Don’t call me a ‘pussy’ because you disagree.