Some thoughts on the Nai Harvest artwork-
I used to keep my mouth shut about things I thought people might call petty: I didn’t want to be the killjoy, and I operated within music as though I shouldn’t be there- trying to take up as little space as possible, making sure I never did anything that was ‘not my place’ to. Recently I’ve realised that I actually can speak out about things that make me feel uncomfortable and that my job is not to fit myself into this scene wherever I can find what little space there is, but to try to create as much space for myself and other non cis male people as we deserve to occupy.
I am not happy with the new Nai Harvest single artwork, and I am speaking about it because to me it signifies another contribution to this sort of bro-culture that has been growing in indie rock recently that is particularly alienating to women. I am NOT unhappy with it because of the art itself- I take no issue with the aesthetics, I do not necessarily have a problem with naked women in art in general, and I appreciate that it being made by a woman validates the imagery more so. This, however, is not the part I take issue with.
My problem is with the other side of the contextual coin. It’s all well and good to say that it’s made by a feminist woman, that can justify it on its own. But this particular artwork does not exist in a vacuum. It accompanies a record by a band comprised of 2 men whose music is derivative of a genre which has almost always held two middle fingers up to women; a genre that has acted nearly entirely as a space for boys to be boys since its inception (and please, I love emo music but you really have to be kidding me if you’re going to deny how alienating it is to any non-male person).
This is a band that fosters a macho and aggressive culture of circle pits at shows, which is so discouraging to women and something that I absolutely loathe.
I am pretty tired of keeping quiet about bands who actually make me feel uncomfortable about being in this supposed ‘scene’. This is not about my failure to see the value of the female form as ‘art’ (which, by the way is not a very good excuse to fall back on seeing as the tradition of the female nude in art is substantially borne from ownership, humiliation and objectification).
Ultimately it boils down to: I saw that this band used this artwork and it made me incredibly uncomfortable. I am bored of bro culture, I am bored of being silenced, I am bored of being ‘part of a scene’ that thinks this is okay.