Women are part of the joke for the French band Attentat Fanfare

On the last January 12th I saw the show of this French band Attentat Fanfare, at VL in the city of Halle,Germany. VL is a hausprojekt, as they call here, a community where some people live, a place for gigs, workshops, left wing groups meetings and other things.

I was in the house and it happened that this band would play. The band got on stage. Except by the woman playing accordion they were all dressed in “funny” costumes. The singer was in pajamas and slippers and one of them was dressed “as a woman”.

I couldn’t help but think that it was a bad joke. Men always found a bright idea to dress up “as women” to make fun. It’s misogynistic to wear clothes associated to women in order to mock. While it can be a joke for men to wear high heels, make up, skirts, etc, for women these are things patriarchy forces us into femininity and establishes those as beauty standards that oppress us.

But. Although I’m critical of this and some other characterstics of this band, those weren’t the reasons for me writing this.

I’m reporting what took place during the concert.

In some part o the show, between songs, the singer started to announce the next song, he begun saying: “I was in Brazil and there women have big tits and great asses” (his words). At the same time his hands were drawing shapes of breasts and asses on the air while his eyes widned. I could not believe that he came at this far. For me the band was already hard to swallow, but that was a more tangible fact which left no room for doubts about what was going on. That sentence has only one interpretation: misogyny and racism. Talking about women on that way. To refer to Brazilian women on that way, from a country he probably never stepped in, but in case he did, it doesn’t count on his favor.

He showed his male and european privilege without any embarrassment. He found it very funny to reinforce the stereotype of Brazilian women. He simply doesn’t care of what this stands for. Of how women in Brazil are exploited by the sex tourism for example, which is a practice widely used for his compatriots, other european men, as well other men for any richer country.

He simply doesn’t have a clue what means to be objectified, different from us women, having our bodies been controlled by patriarchy and its laws, where our bodies are objectified and sold on beer labels, objectfied and violated for men including the ones we trust. Where the beauty standards oppress us and lead women on this restless and unsuccessful search for a perfect body/looking, which feeds both capitalism and patriarchy. Standards that are the cause for many women, also very young girls, for depression, eating disorders and other disturbances that are serius enough, but that can also lead to death. He placed himself from the step of misogyny, at the racist eurocentric male privilege place. He presents himself in this way, even in a place with political reputation. Because men feel entitled to be sexist and they benefit from it.

I reacted yelling at him in the middle of the noize the following sentences: “you have no right to say what brazilian women are! you sexist! you racist!

His answer was: “Maybe I’m too drunk”.

The audience kept dancing and they continued playing peacifully. And I left the room. I don’t want to blame the people there for their lack of reaction. I’m sticking into the facts for only one reason, because they (the facts) say a lot about what happened and how I did feel about it. I understand that sepecially women might not feel comfortable to react in situations like this. I also believe that some people didn’t see or realized it. However I also cannot help but noticing that part of “not seeing” it’s because the struggle against misogyny and sexism aren’t considered legitimate struggles. Women’s struggle is secondary, for not saying of third or fifth level in the hierachical scale of the struggles. This lack of reaction surprised me on that particular context and says a lot about how patriarchy works and also prevails in the left scene.

I can say that I have noticed, that it hit me, that his atittude hit all women, and that’s why I’ve decided to dennounce it.

I would like to inform I’m no patriot, I wasn’t defending “my country”. That’s just a coincidence, I would have reacted the same way if he would have talked about any women from any other place of the planet. What he did was to blame women for being exploited. He didn’t talked about the men who exploit them, about the industries that exploit them, neither about the patriarchal system. He objectified and also mock women who he sees been depicted in the media as carnaval accessories.

However, the offense was to all women in the room, even if people don’t realize it. And this is misogyny.

It’s not a good defense to say that it was just a joke. I realized that. And that doesn’t help it in any way, on the contrary, only confirms the level of misogyny and disrespect for women, because as doing so, you are treating women as object also for mockery.

Aline Rodrigues