Thrash Hits

June 20th, 2013

Tits @ Download Festival 2013

After a weekend of watching bands at Download Festival, Tom Doyle returned to his 9-5 in London feeling more than a little uncomfortable. What was the matter, though? Tits. Boobies. Breasts. And booing.

Download Festival 2013 logo thrash hits

We are now firmly in the aftermath of last weekend’s Download Festival and while heads and limbs may now finally be recovering, the memories will surely last a lifetime. Donington Park yet again proved itself to be the home of rock and astonishing sets from the likes of Slipknot, Iron Maiden, Rammstein and many, many others made it a vintage year.

However, something slightly less cool once again raised its head in that field last weekend and it’s about time it gets addressed.

Let’s be as clear as possible here: if a girl is in the crowd and on someone’s shoulders and a camera pans on to her, it is not mandatory that she get her tits out. Not ever. There’s nothing more depressing than seeing a (usually quite young) girl exposing herself to the cheers of thousands of braying morons followed by someone with a little more modesty being openly and aggressively booed for their refusal to meet with the mobs desires.

This weekend saw cameramen make repeated visits to those who refused to lift their tops first time of asking until peer pressure proved too much and they succumbed. Who the hell are these cameramen, incidentally? I didn’t realise operation Yewtree was already finding jobs for offenders back in the community.

Think about the following: if one person put continual pressure on a girl to get her breasts out if she didn’t want to, that person would be rightly berated; if 90,000 strangers in a field do, it is suddenly considered a big joke.

At one stage, a man in his 30s standing behind me was bellowing at a girl on the big screen who can’t have been much older than 19 to, “GET ‘EM OUT, YOU SLAG!” One can only wonder at the sexual inadequacies that could possibly induce such latent anger and whether or not his mother (or wife, or possibly even daughters) knows he behaves this way on the weekend.

download festival boobs steel panther 2012 NO

This is a photo from the official Download Festival website from Steel Panther’s 2012 set – possibly the zenith/nadir (depending on your stance) of flashing in public.

To speak personally for a moment, I spend a seemingly increasing amount of my time defending metal and rock music to people who are not familiar with ‘our’ subculture. These are people who have made their minds up about fans of heavy music as imbecilic animals who are slaves to baser instincts than those who attend V festival or Glastonbury, for instance.

When I tell them that I like Slipknot, or Korn, or Rammstein they look at me like I am a feral pig who should probably grow up and move on. The music I listen to means a lot to me and I am proud to defend it, yet when people see things like tit-flashing being cheered at metal and rock festivals their prejudices are confirmed in spades. In short, we are better than this.

Metal, punk and hardcore should be a place for people to get away from the set gender dichotomy that is imposed upon us in the ‘real’ world, often from an early age. The one that says that boys are braying hooligans and that girls are there as pretty pieces of meat to be gawped at.

If you were at Download cheering and whooping at a girl who decided to take her top off for a cameraman then maybe you should take some time to ask yourself why you did it and what you think that says about us as a community. Go on. I‘m not one for prudishness and I am not the thought police on this matter but it strikes me that it is another example of the metal boys club treating women as second-class citizens in a culture that is supposed to be for all of us.

Finally, an enormous shout out to the girl I saw (whoever you are) who motioned to pull her shirt down as the camera reached her before flipping the bird to all and sundry as they booed her to high heaven. In a weekend of musical highlights, it was maybe the most punk thing of the entire festival.

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UPDATE: We’ve received the following from the promoters of Download Festival, which is cool.

Live Nation does not condone such behaviour in any way. The incident in question is being taken very seriously and is currently under investigation.

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SECOND UPDATE: Andy Copping, Festival booker for Download Festival and Promoter for Live Nation, tweeted the following earlier today (Saturday, 22 June 2013):

 

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