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Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves Bares All on Punk Authenticity [NSFW-ish]

Meredith Graves, lead singer for the Syracuse, NY-based punk outfit Perfect Pussy, isn’t punk enough for some critics. With her blonde pixie cut and black cut-off shorts, Ms. Graves found herself being dressed down by one Dallas journalist because she didn’t have the right look for the punk genre of which she is on the vanguard.

“I have no idea where this guy got off thinking that it was acceptable to devote one paragraph to my politics and three to my appearance,” Graves told the What’s Underneath Project in the latest installment of their video series that addresses the link/disconnect between identity and body image by having artists shed clothing as they discuss their personal and creative histories. The goal is to counteract the toxicity and myopia of culturally imposed tropes about what certain people are expected to look like. Graves eloquently describes her struggles, insecurities, and triumphs below.

Graves’ frustrations, though serious and extremely personal, extend outward to our our world of nerdism as well. In our own little fandoms, we strain so hard for “authenticity,” that we risk stymieing interesting, new voices. Because Graves doesn’t necessarily look like the rest of the existing fandom (or some marketing driven version of what that is), she has to spend time defending her appearance when her music, politics, and personality are far more engaging.

There’s no easier way to suppress a new voice in a community than by accusing someone of inauthenticity and consequently usurping that person’s agency. Call someone a “fake” and they’ll have to waste energy proving their bona fides when they could really be talking about anything else far more useful or constructive. It’s not just punk: it’s gamers who somehow assume that any woman who talks about games is doing it somehow for their attention. These skewed ideas, especially about women in male-dominated arenas, are dangerous, and Graves dismantles them beautifully.

Her What’s Underneath Project video is above and the video for Perfect Pussy’s “I” from their demo I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling is below. Their latest album, Say Yes to Love, is out now via Captured Tracks.

[H/T Maxwell Demon]

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17 comments

      • No. Hypocritical a**wipes like you are the problem, who like to blame an entire group of people for the issues of a few. People like YOU are the problem.

        • Arguably, belittling a person’s stance and trying to poke holes in it in an attempt to invalidate it, especially as it concerns issues of gender, is definitely part of the problem. When you attempt to silence and shut down people like that instead of actually listening and responding to the content, you’re being unnecessarily confrontational and allowing these issues to continue without any real address.

    • “Not all men, stupid!”

      You, and men like you, are a part of the problem.

      She can’t possibly create equality, or more inequality. You are demanding a respect from her that society by and large denies her from birth to death.

      One group are utterly dominant in society: men. The simple existence of this utter dominance makes ALL men a piece of the puzzle.

      The petty hurt feelings of men do not outrank the entirety of the female population of earth being systematically and systemically oppressed, abused, and trampled in all areas of society.

      What she said about men does absolutely NOTHING to harm your or my own position in society. It doesn’t harm us physically, mentally, socially, or economically. What you said about her, however, proliferates the exact atmosphere that encourages and institutionalizes misogyny.

      No, not all men. But enough to cause the problem in the first place. No, not all men bad. But ALL women are disrespected, oppressed, and victimized. ON A DAILY BASIS.

      No, not all men. But even one is too many. Do you want to be that One today?

      • You already seem to be “that one.” You’re more than comfortable using generalizations to denigrate and dismiss an entire group of people. YOU are “that one.” Not men. And that makes you the problem.

    • She’s not saying all men feel that way. But it is a thing that happens and it needs to stop. Lots of men do feel like they can focus on a woman’s body or appearance instead of the important things.

      • It’s not just men who perpetuate the body image stereotypes. And it isn’t just women who get objectified and belittled because they don’t fit a perceived norm. Great to know my gender is doing so well. But I sure as hell don’t benefit from it. I am a nice guy who treats people equally. I am also a 30 year old virgin because I don’t understand the unwritten rules and protocols I am supposed to follow on dates. Everybody is serial because people are awful 

        • To Chase and Bryan – you two are amazing douches. Where did Travis act like he was owed anything? That’s just the both of you projecting your own opinions and issues onto him. It’s like the both of you didn’t even bother to read what he had said. But then, people like you always like to trash others online without cause, don’t you? Just like all the other people did in defending what this supposed punk chick did in making ridiculous generalizations about an entire group of people.

        • It sucks that you also have body image issues. There is a society wide pressure to be physically perfect. But this conversation isn’t about you. I’m sorry that despite treating everyone equally you still can’t get what you want. I want you to be happy too. But saying that the pressure women are under, the way many men treat women, is as pressing an issue as yours is like demanding to be first in line in an emergency room because your ankle is sprained when there are others there before you who are bleeding out. Your issue is valid, but not as pressing, because it isn’t as widespread or cause as much harm (to men in general). I know it may feel sometimes that no woman will ever love you, but work on you, and you may find that there are plenty of girls out there that like weird guys who don’t always follow social cues. Trust me. 

  • It always pissed me off when people judged outfits as “punk” or “not punk”. You can wear whatever the Hell you want and still be punk. Or prep. Or nerdy. etc. You are what you are. Your outfit doesn’t determine that.