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Whore Paint live performance / by Ali Donohue

Earlier this month a social committee at Wesleyan University booked a “Spring Fling” concert with an all-male line-up. Wesleyan student Ally Bernstein was pissed – rightfully so. “Spring Fling Committee is 72% male. The Spring Fling lineup is 100% male. The majority of campus bands are still male,” she wrote in a post titled ‘Yes, It Is a Problem That There Is Not a Single Woman in the Spring Fling Lineup.’

Ally turned anger into action and reached out to my band Tomboy and asked us to come play on campus. It’s always exciting to play a show, especially out of town, but we were stoked that we were invited to play a show with other women that was booked in response to the lack of women represented in certain areas of campus life. It is important to work towards inclusivity because equality is not something that ‘just happens,’ it is something that is achieved.

I feel lucky to live in Massachusetts where so many awesome and inspiring women are involved in the local music communities. I didn’t believe I could or would ever play guitar in a band until I saw other women doing it. And even though it feels like we’ve come far we still have a long way to go. There are still lots of people who do not have nearly enough representation in these spaces like people of color and trans individuals. I applaud Ally for taking the time to think critically about who wasn’t being represented and to take a stance to change that.

We asked Providence’s Whore Paint to play the show with us knowing that they are feminists and all around badasses. Tomboy had been looking for an opportunity to play with Whore Paint again after we played Ladyfest Providence with them this past fall. I really admire and love Whore Paint not only as musicians but also as storytellers. Drummer Meredith Stern published an amazing zine about abortion titled, “Mine: An Anthology of Women’s Choices” that was made possible in part by a grant from choiseusa.org. Guitarist Hilary Jones is a blogger for Women’s Fund of RI in addition to being the executive director of Girls Rock! Rhode Island. But it is singer Reba Mitchell’s storytelling that literally takes center stage when Whore Paint performs. Reba spews truth between songs about everything from how shitty it is to work for AmeriCorps, staying in bed to masturbate during a cold winter with no heat, and how frustrating it is to feel unsafe leaving your house every day because of street harassment.

We played the show with Whore Paint and Wesleyan’s own Dream Conference and it felt just like that scene in Can’t Hardly Wait when the nerd jumps on the table and sings ‘Paradise City.’ There were red solo cups, cool haircuts and good vibes. And that’s the long answer to how this video of Whore Paint was born. So please watch it and enjoy and remember to support your local girl gang and to always think about who is not represented and ask, “Why?”

Whore Paint play Ladyfest Philly on Saturday at 9:45 p.m.

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