Hands Off Gretel are one of the dammed best things happening in the UK at the moment, and they don’t take crap from anyone. They’re a female fronted part of the Riot Girl movement but there have been a few things happening at their shows which have had vocalist/guitarist Lauren Tate and Bassist Becky Baldwin speaking up when they’ve been disrespected by predatory men.
Speaking of the situations via a post on Facebook, Lauren wrote:
“Dear guys that come to my shows. Please stop kissing my cheek. Please stop sexualising myself and my bass player. Please let girls stand at the front more. Please be more aware that I really don’t want to be touched or told I am sexy. I am a MUSICIAN and I get messages and comments all day from men about myself and my female bass player being sexy or eye candy or some bullshit and it honestly kills my soul and makes my eyes roll into the dirt. I’ve seen ‘band’ posters cropped with just myself and Becky in them used to promote shows! Can you imagine how it feels to be the guys? It’s shite! SOOOO…
To all the guys that respect personal space, genuinely love my band for my music and let young girls stand up at the front I really really thank you. You have no idea how much it means to myself and many female musicians when we are valued for our skills and seen as equal to the guys in bands on the same bill. Please note that a lot of girls stand politely and smile when they’re skin is crawling in so many situations it’s mental.
We just want to be valued and respected. AND WE REALLY REALLY NEVER EVER EVEREVER WANT TO BE KISSED or touched all over believe me! … In this photo here I’m locking eyes with the girls I requested come forward in the crowd. I’m holding the guitar that I wrote every song on for the new album, the guitar a guy told me after the show to ‘put down and stop playing’!!! See… us women are fierce. I’ve heard so many girls in other bands talking about these issues with men at shows and how we tackle them. It’s starts with the good guys. Look out for the girls in the crowd. If you see someone being a dick or a general creep… Call them out. Make them aware. We need more amazing guys like you in the world to stop these shitty men ruining it all for everyone. Massive respect to all those guys that do this… gigs should be for everyone to be themselves and have fun. I shouldn’t be worrying about anything while I’m up there on the mic playing my music for my fans #handsoffgretel #discuss #talk #girlband#girlstothefront #feminism #equality#respect#laurentate #femalemusician #rant”
I do hate seeing posts such as this and reading about stories that have had female musicians feel like Lauren and Becky have had. When they’re playing sets, they shouldn’t have to worry about anything such as unwanted advances. Men, just think before you do something. If you’re going to be like that, don’t turn up to a show because there’ll be a lot of fans who don’t want you there if your behaviour’s going to be bullsh**.