Guest Columnist #66 - An Interview w/ Leslie & Lisa from Heartattack

Vique Simba interviewed 2 wonderful women
Leslie and Lisa speak for themselves

Lisa: Essentially Leslie, Kent and I are the co-editors of HeartattaCk, a pretty big underground music and culture magazine for the hardcore/punk community.  The print run is 11,000 now, and it comes out four times a year.  I also work at Ebullition, which distros HaC, but HeartattaCk is separate from Ebullition in the sense that it is more of a volunteer run thing.  It's something that we all do on our own time. There are the three of us and we do HeartattaCk, but we each do different things--for example, I'm in charge of the 'zine review section; I do the 'zine reviews that haven't been done, and just sort of organize the whole section.  Leslie organizes the columns and contributions, and does an incredible amount of editing.  Kent deals with the record reviews, he does the layout, and deals with the financial end.  Plus there are the other people out there who contribute.

Vique: Do you feel like people see it as Kent's 'zine, where you two help him?
Lisa: Oh, yeah.  Absolutely.  Everyone thinks that Kent does everything, and quite a few people think that Leslie and I are the same person...

Vique: How can they do that when you have two different names?

Leslie: Because they both start with "L."

Vique: That's kind of confusing for people.  Very inconsiderate of you both.  Maybe one of you should change your name.

Lisa: It's the kind of thing where someone talks to me about something, but when discussing what it is to someone else they'll often call me Leslie.  And vice-versa.  But anyway, because Kent initially started the 'zine, and it was his reputation that helped to sell the 'zine in the beginning, a lot of people feel like it is his 'zine.  But HeartattaCk isn't No Answers, and I think it's hard for a lot of people to let go of that.  It is easier for people to see figureheads.  Also, I really think that HeartattaCk is a community based 'zine, so as much work as we all might put into it, I think that it is everyone's.

Vique: Does it make you mad that people think of you two as his little helpers?
Leslie: Yeah, it makes me mad when people say that it's Kent's magazine and we're just the unimportant women that do the shitwork, but it's his finished product.  Nobody wants to be thought of as someone else's lackey.  If people knew any of us, they would realize that things don't work that way with the three of us. We're all very different people, and we all contribute to very different and equally important parts of the magazine.  Without Lisa and I, HeartattaCk would be very different.  That's not to say that it would necessarily be worse, because two different people would be in our places, but it would be very different, and I think that the two of us each contribute something quite important to it.  I wonder how often women are given all of the credit for projects and male workers are overlooked?  Probably not too often.  What does that say about our society?  I think that it says a lot.  Women are doing so many different and interesting things, and it seems that many people have just gotten so used to overlooking the projects that women are involved in that they simply don't see that women are there.  I don't know why that has happened, especially in a punk community that is supposed to be all about rejecting patriarchal and sexist attitudes, but I do know that sucks.  It makes me mad when people don't think we are even there, yet I am equally angry when people do see us there and automatically assume that we are just Kent's little back-up, shitworker women.

Lisa: Yeah, that sucks.  I think that the invisibility of women holds true for a lot of different women's projects because a lot of times women aren't out there looking to make a name for themselves in the same way, even though they want to be heard, and they want to be treated like individuals.  It doesn't upset me that I'm not getting scene credit or whatever.  It upsets me because, to me, it seems that it is very obvious that three people do HeartattaCk, and even the people that are intimately involved in HeartattaCk don't always see that... even the people in Goleta, which is amazing.  I really see that as an overall problem, if there is a woman is involved in a community or in a project, she generally is the person who is doing a lot of the work behind the scenes--organizing shows, doing this or that to make sure that everything works right, organizing the potlucks and get-togethers, and all that kind of stuff--but when it comes down to it, the men are going to be the people who get up on the stage and be in a band.  That is what people see because they are forced to see the person up there doing something, and you're not forced to see a lot of the women.  I think a lot of women don't go into it with the attitude of, "I'm going to force you to see me, because I'm so cool," because no-one wants to be treated like they have a big ego or whatever--not to say that there aren't plenty of people out there who do that, but it just seems like to an incredibly less amount of women do that.  I don't know if it's because women are afraid of saying, "Hey, here I am, and I'm doing stuff, and you need to notice that," or if it's just because a lot of women are just sort of used to doing stuff and getting shit done--they don't need the recognition, they just want it to get done.

Leslie: In some ways it's a waste of time to have to say, "Look at me, look at what I am doing."  If you're involved in projects, you want to put your energy into the projects.  You don't necessarily want to put that energy into being a spectacle.  People only have a certain amount of energy to expend on projects, and it's a shame that a woman should have to use that energy to simply be seen.

Vique: And I think if a woman does have an attitude of, "You need to give me respect for the work I'm doing," then they're perceived as being arrogant and egotistical, so much more hastily than a man would be.  I mean, I get perceived that way.  You know, "I need some credit for the work I'm doing, please.  Thank you.  And if you don't appreciate what I'm doing, then I'm not going to do it."

Leslie: You shouldn't have to demand that kind of respect from people; it should simply be given to you because of the work that you have done.  It's so obvious that people take so many things for granted, and when it's gone, they're going to wonder where it went.  They're going to wonder why all these amazing distributions and tours and 'zines disappeared, but it's because people aren't willing to support those projects, or only support them when it's made extremely convenient for them.

Lisa: People will say that people who did it just got tired or got lazy, but I think it's degrading to have to demand respect.  In a situation where I feel like I am going to make people notice something I've done I feel like it takes something away from me to have to really make the point.  While it is nice to be thanked, I don't want to force them to say it.  That doesn't really mean anything and it makes me feel even worse about the whole deal. But I think what's really interesting is that when I meet other women in the scene it is different... maybe it's just that whole idea that there are not that many of us and we're just going to band together and treat each other well.  It really does say something positive about the women in the scene.  I think that it's amazing how many women treat each other automatically with respect, and not with this whole catty, "Ooh, I don't like her, she's another woman, and she's going to get in my way of doing things" attitude.  It seems like they want to get together and do projects together, they want to talk to each other, they want to hang out, and they really want to make it obvious to the other women that, "Hey, I see you doing something and I think that's cool."  Maybe it's just because that person understands what it's like to be invisible or to be treated as if, in order to have people treat you like you are an active part, you have to make a big stink about who you are or what you are doing.  I think that's really fucked up because I feel like there are a lot of other people out there who just don't have to do that; they get treated like what they are doing is so amazing when they are just doing something.  I honestly think that a lot of the people who get the credit for doing the really amazing shit... it's just kind of boring and not interesting to me--I'm amazed by the kind of stuff that is popular.

Vique: Can you think of examples?

Lisa: I see that with many of the popular 'zines around today, mostly from the formulaic, vapid music 'zines that come up all the time.  Just because there are so many empty interviews and empty columns and empty words coming from this--I hate to say cheesy, but really sort of kitsch--male attitude of, "I'm gonna try and be really, really meaningful here by using a lot of big words"--but it's all empty metaphor.  There's a lot of that right now, especially musically with the whole metal-core thing.  I mean, it's incredibly unoriginal and sterile.  I'm so sick of it.  It's not interesting to me. It just feels like, there is this thing that everyone thinks is so amazing, and I don't have anything to connect to that.  Maybe every once in a while I think that the music is okay, but when I got involved in the scene it was because there was this whole amazing ideology that went along with something that I already believed in. 

Yeah, the music was cool and the people were nice and things were going on, but the ideology was what made it feel like it was something for me to be a part of.  So I get really depressed when I see the scene going in cycles of things that I am not interested in.  Which I guess is good because it makes me want to throw myself into doing a whole bunch of projects, like this or  the magazine or anything involving community hang-out time.  Undoubtedly something I will find connection to will pop up in response to that.

Leslie: One thing that I try to do with HeartattaCk and that is important to me is to make it a space for the voices that aren't the scenesters, because every person in the punk community has something so important to lend--whether they are organizing in collectives or making their own clothes or traveling around and making people think.  We're all these thinking beings that have so much to say, and that is what I want to see HeartattaCk focus on.  I want it to be a documentation of all the different forms of the human experience, as opposed to a documentation of a genre of music.

Vique: And how do you feel that just by the very nature of how respected and well-read HeartattaCk is, that those people then become--the people that do columns and both of you yourselves--have developed a scenester kind of status.  How does that make you feel?

Lisa: I don't really feel that I have.  I mean, maybe I am just wrong, but I don't really feel that I have, and I think that for a lot of people out there it's just this sort of weird thing that happens where they do something and then someone notices it.  But I don't know if it's just this pop culture mentality where we see someone up on a pedestal doing something like writing a column, and then everyone treats them like, "Ooh, they're so cool."  I don't feel like that has happened to me, so I have to wonder if it happens to that many other people.  Maybe it does.  When it does I think it's kind of weird, because I feel like a lot of it is people being interested because they're in HeartattaCk, not because of what they actually said, which is a bummer.
Leslie: But at the same time, there are people writing in HeartattaCk that I feel are saying interesting and creative things, and are deserving of respect.  What I want to see is a situation where everyone who reads HeartattaCk looks at it and says, "I can write a column, and I have interesting things to say, and I am deserving of respect as much as anyone else in this magazine."

Vique: Do you think that everyone has the capability of writing something interesting?

Leslie: I don't think that everyone necessarily has the capability or the desire to write well.  I mean, some people are writers, some people are singers, some people are visual artists, some people are mathematicians, some people are dancers, but everyone has something to express.  If people do express things through writing, I want them to feel that HeartattaCk is a forum where they can do that; if they want to express it through dancing, I want them to feel free to come to our town and dance.  It may not be as well received as someone writing a column, which is an obvious fault in punk, but they still have something important to express.  It seems that everyone has become fixated on making icons out of other people, when it is so unnecessary.  The person behind every scenester is still simply a person doing whatever it is that they love to do.

Lisa: Adding on to that, I think HaC gives a lot of people who might not normally be heard a chance.  One thing that HeartattaCk tries to do is present discussions.  We print what we find interesting to a topic; at the same time we want people to make up their own minds, so we don't only print things we agree with.  A lot of people get upset because we don't push things in a certain direction and people don't feel like we're giving any answers.  What I like is the fact that you read it and you think about it for yourself--and hopefully you go back into your community and talk about it.  That in itself is very DIY and a very grassroots way of changing our lives, which is what I think a lot of punk rock and hardcore are about.  It's so obvious to me that we all need to look at a whole bunch of different sides of an issue in order to really deal with it. Still, I don't think that happens all that easily.  With HeartattaCk, when we try and do these things, the goal is essentially to make an impact on the community on a personal level, we want people to be seen as people with real lives.  People who's contributions matter.  Some people are going to read columns from some random person and it is going to click with them.  That connection will also happen on a scenester level as well.  There are people out there who are only going to respect the ideas that come from "above" because they are so stuck in the mode of thinking that needs figureheads.  The magazine needs to have a balance of voices to effectively speak to the community.  We aren't homogenous, so we can really treat ourselves that way.  I like the fact that there is a symmetry of a whole bunch of different stuff in HeartattaCk.  That ties into the idea that everyone has something to offer.  Hopefully, HaC gives those who want to express themselves through writing a medium for that.

Vique: How does it make you feel,

especially when all of the stuff was going on with date rape, how does it make you feel that people expect HeartattaCk to take a stance and provide all the answers like it's something that tells the scene how to look at things.

Lisa: For me it was kind of disappointing because I feel like when a lot of that stuff came out, way too many people were reacting to and upset about not getting the answers from Kent's columns--they wanted him to fix everything with a column, and you know, he's just some person.  Just some guy like everyone else, and he doesn't have the answers.  It was disappointing for me because I wanted people to be able to understand that we're going to present this stuff, that their friends, their neighbors, the people they love, and the people they hate are all going to give their opinions, and you will have to draw what you want out of it.  My hope was that everyone was going to read the issue and think, "Hey, this is a shitty thing that happens, and we need to do things to change this."  But without really understanding all of the different emotions that get involved in the issue, then I don't think that we can really make a clear judgment as a community.  No one can really say they've dealt with the issue in their heads if they are going off one column.  I don't want to be blindsided.  I want to know the good and the bad in everything.  And I want to decided those things in my own terms. It is interesting to note that Dana, whose letter started the discussion, was really positive and very pleased with everything that came out in HeartattaCk, but we had to deal with all these other people "on her side" who weren't pleased.  They still wanted more.  Even though we donated so much time to the issue.  No other magazine even gave something like this the space and we donated three different issues to this whole discussion.  To me, it is obvious that we care about this, we want people to talk about it, we want people to deal with their shit, and we want people to resolve this kind of stuff.  So it was disappointing to me when they still wanted the headline to say, " HeartattaCk decides that date rape is bad."  I felt like...

Leslie: The biggest problem that I had was that people kept saying, "Well, let's look at this one situation and talk about how this is bad."  Yeah, but take that back into your own community and look at the guys around you and look at what they are doing to all your women friends, and look at these women who are in pain and look at these men who are in pain and look at the people around you.  Don't make this into an issue about this one person in a magazine, because it's an issue about every person's life.  I hope that the discussion in HeartattaCk and other forums does make people think, but the impact that we can all certainly make is to internalize this and look within ourselves and see when we do fucked up stuff and see when our friends do fucked up stuff and talk to them about it and try to bring it down to a human level where we can make a difference.

Lisa: That's a high expectation for a 'zine to make, but I think that deep down that it what we were all trying to do.  So it is disappointing when something that is so complex and so hard to deal with that we try in the best way by presenting this thing as, "Hey, this is crazy, and you have really got to deal with it," and then people take such a simple solution.  I think that it's almost degrading to the situation because for some man to just say, "Oh yeah, that's fucked up, that guy shouldn't have done that and he's an asshole," without then saying, "Let's look at my life and let's look at the things that have happened and let's see how I treat people."

Vique: I think that one of the biggest things that it should have illustrated was, "Okay, that man is fucked up.  He did it."  But the thing is that normal people do this.  Normal people rape, and normal people get raped, and it's not necessarily a thing about people are "bad" or people are "evil," but the main premise is miscommunication.

Lisa: That's something that we really tried to make clear, but that's so hard.  It's so hard for a magazine to achieve something like that.  I understand that people were disappointed that we didn't achieve it, and I'm not saying, "Hey, just cut us some slack."  What I'm saying is that I wanted to hear was people to say it was good to see people who cared, who wanted to try, who participated in the discussion, and who gave it the space... who made it this thing that everyone talked about.  I mean, I really do think that because Leslie and Kent and I sat down and hashed out all of this shit when we got this letter from this woman and decided to print it, it created a lot of other things that happened in the scene--a lot of other high profile arguments, and it made people realize again that this is something we have to deal with.  Which is sort of what we do with any other kind of theme issue.  We say, here's something, let's not forget about it, let's keep it in our heads, let's have people from our community tell us about their lives and see what's up.  You've got to keep it in your mind, because if you dull your senses to things, you're just going to let whatever crappy thing that can happen, happen.  But it's really hard to do the perfect job.  It's impossible.

Vique: What motivates you to keep going with it and to keep putting in the hours every issue?  Do you have to force yourself to do it, or is the motivation still very strong?

Leslie: Sometimes I'm not that excited about it, but the times that I get excited are when I talk to people about stuff that has been discussed in HeartattaCk, and when I feel like I make a connection with people on a human level, and when I hear about other people making those connections.  That's what keeps me excited about the magazine.  The concept of DIY is motivating to me as well.  I take it for granted sometimes, but it really is an awesome concept.  Sometimes I sit and think, "Shit, we get rid of 11,000 of these magazines."  That's a lot of fucking magazines!

Lisa: I really like the idea of the magazine.  I do agree with just about everything that Leslie just said, but on top of that I also like doing things, I like doing projects, I like doing work.  I even like doing a ridiculous amount of work, so it's worth it for me to put in all the effort and see what happens and see everything that goes on.  Even doing the most tedious shit is rewarding.  I like the fact that I'm involved, and I'm a part of something that I believe is awesome.  That's part of the reason I like my job as well and I feel like I have a drive to get stuff done--because I feel like I'm a part of something that I like and that I control in my own way, and that's good for me.

Vique: Do you find it fulfilling?

Lisa: I do.  When I was younger I lived in a town where nothing happened and I was so hungry to be a part of something.  Here, now, it's still a really small town but it is an efficient town.  It's not like living in San Francisco or living in any other major city where there is a big punk community and not everyone has to do everything because shit will just happen anyway.  We all have to work to make our local scene stay strong.  I just remember what it was like being on my own, driving by myself for hours to get to a show to be a part of this thing and make connections with people that were real--that made me feel like the world made sense to me.  I do not forget about the fact that I want these things to exist for other people, and I want to be a part of something.  I want to feel like I am putting my energy into something that I believe in.  I don't really feel like I could whole-heartedly work at a job or be involved in a project or do something that didn't really have a meaning for me and felt like it had a meaning for someone else.  It's a cheesy thing to think about, but I was sort of passionate about it in a certain way even when I just did the mailorder, because when I was younger that was all I had.  There weren't any record stores or anything that were close to me.

Vique: Getting a package in the mail is just like getting a present.

Lisa: Yeah, especially if you're a kid who lives in the middle of fucking nowhere in Montana, it means so much to get a package and a letter and something to make you feel like you're a part of this thing.  It's funny, because now I do all this other stuff, and I'm involved in doing bigger store orders now, but I really feel like the mailorder is my thing. So I like my job, and obviously I like music.  It's my hobby or whatever and I think it's cool; I like having a cool job.  When I was younger, I fucking dreamed about working at a punk rock record distribution.  I mean, it sounds so neat.  With the magazine too, I feel like it's this cool thing and it encompasses all this other really awesome personal, meaningful shit that I just don't think that you can ignore. That's partially what keeps me so interested and keeps me wanting to do this work, even when the work is reviewing a really crappy 'zine--or 50 incredibly crappy 'zines--or listen to 100 horrible records, I am still willing to do it.  I wonder sometimes if I'll ever burn out on it, but what Leslie is talking about is so right on, and I feel like so long as the kind of communication she's describing still exists because of HeartattaCk, I don't think that I would quit; I don't think that I would burn out on it.  Or even if it was just Leslie and Kent, it would just be wonderful!  (laughter)  Oh, I know, I'm just so sweet!

Leslie: One thing that I appreciate about HeartattaCk is that I like punk music and I like hardcore music, but I don't want there to just be music just for the sake of music and rocking out and having a show.  I want there to be more to it, and there are so many people that are doing something that is so much more than music. 

It's not necessarily politics in terms of the government, but it's politics in terms of your life--taking control of your life, and bridging that gap between the personal and the political.  There are people into the politics and there are people into the music, and I want to see the politics and the music coming together and being one thing, because they are both things that I feel really passionately about, and that I want to be a part of my life, and that will be a part of my life forever.  Those two things come together very naturally, and I want HeartattaCk to be another place where they can come together in one space.

Vique: Is there anything about doing HeartattaCk that drives you crazy?
Leslie: Yeah, of course.  All the everyday stuff.  Just dealing with deadlines, and even dealing with each other, because just amongst Lisa and Kent and I we certainly don't agree on everything--on who should advertise or who shouldn't advertise or if we should print this letter or deal with that person.  Also, we're three people who have been friends for a long time, so there are certainly personality quirks that can get a bit trying.  This magazine isn't a business.  If it was a business, we could come up with all sorts of job descriptions and we could establish working relationships with each other... but, while there is a workplace aspect of it, HeartattaCk is first and foremost a fun thing to do.  While the "fun" content of it is debatable at times, I wouldn't trade that in for a dull, mechanic working atmosphere.  If dealing with each other wasn't enough to drive us all over the edge, there's getting people to turn reviews in on time, and getting them to review the stuff that they forgot to do, just so much crap that goes along with each issue coming out.  But that's all forgotten when the finished issue comes out and all the stuff is in there and it's done and it has come together.

Lisa: Seeing the finished product is very cathartic because, when it is done, you have spent hundreds of hours making sure that everything is in there and that there aren't mistakes--and that is just this incredible amount of draining work.  I mean, it's nothing short of a heart attack to get all of the shit done on time, done well, no mistakes, making sense.  I'm glad that we are able to push so much stuff into one issue.  It's a lot of work and, really, the couple of weeks right before HeartattaCk comes out are probably the worst fucking weeks in the world because there is so much work to do.  But that work is essential to keep up the quality of the magazine.  I think that when you do a quality project your love for that shines through.

Leslie: In so many ways the things that I hate about it remind me of the things that I love, because I see the things that anger me and the things that I don't like I know that I am able to change them.  This is a project that I can put myself into and that I can change if I want it changed.  That's part of what makes me continue doing it--the knowledge that what I put into it will be visible on the other end, and I want other people to see that what they put into it will be visible on the other end as well.

Vique: That whatever is wrong with it, it can be a constantly changing and developing process.

Leslie: And everything in the world is constantly growing and changing, and people's lives constantly evolve, and HeartattaCk can evolve with the hardcore community and influence the evolution of it.

Lisa: And in the end the 'zine comes out and we're pleased and things work well, and we get response and it's good or it's bad and it's hilarious or it's depressing, and it's all part of the whole experience.  I think it's pretty great.
Vique: Does the fact that people are, for the most part, idiots, and complain no matter how hard you work and send in stupid fucking letters and miss the point completely, drive you crazy?

Lisa: It does, but luckily it drives all of us crazy enough that we get the letter, we all laugh at it, and it sort of lessens the blow.  I feel like there is enough positive stuff happening for me to not let that shit drag me down.

Leslie: But criticism is important.  One of the things that I think of when people send in letters where they disagree is that it's cool that they are writing about it.  I'm glad that people are thinking and communicating.  I try to tell them all that if they have more stuff to say, they should go ahead and write more letters, or write their own 'zine.

Vique: I feel like one of the main objectives of interviewing you two is to provide younger girls especially, but women in general, with role models and ideas of what they can achieve if they set their mind to it. That you can do anything that you want, and that there may not be any women in your town organizing shows or doing bands or even doing 'zines, but that you can be the first.  Or that there are women in your state doing it, at least, and if you went to a major city there would be a lot of girls doing stuff and that you may not have a network of friends into the same stuff as you, but the network of our community is so geographically vast that you can develop a great network of friends through the mail.  And then you can travel, and you can move.  You're not rooted to the place where you went to high school, and you can go to college, or not, but you can move.
Lisa: An important point, that is sometimes overlooked, is the fact that we can't give up.  I know a lot of women feel that as they are first getting into this scene they are discouraged by their community. Even though they feel an attraction to this thing, the people closest to them geographically don't give them what they need.  So they just give up on being involved in the scene.  It is understandable and it is easy.  Even though I had close to no one locally and had to go out into other areas of Southern California to find people and make these connections, I was able to find a small community that made it possible for me to feel comfortable.  It is important for me to remember this when I meet new people.  I want to tell people that I will be there for them; in the hope that they have the comfort to start taking advantage of the benefits of being involved.  If someone out there (especially a woman struggling with finding her place in the scene) is looking for a connection I would love to be able to say, "Hey, I'm here, and I'll help you out.  You can stay at my house, we can hang out, and it'll be cool because I want you to be able to experience a lot of the things that hardcore and punk do that are positive." I think that over and over again we hear guys talking about how "thanks to hardcore" they're a vegetarian, or a free thinker, or stronger, or this or that.  Going into the scene I already had a lot of the regular hardcore beliefs, but having a community that dealt with so much of that stuff allowed me to develop my ideas more, to hash things out, and find out how I really felt about "issues."  It gave me a space to question everything within my life and outside of my life.  It came at a crucial point in my teenage years and really has made me a stronger person.  I mean, I'm sort of a strong person anyway, but the way the scene emphasizes doing things has really has given me a lot. There are a lot of women out there who can gain so much from this kind of environment, even with all of its downsides.  Obviously communities that are linked to the hardcore and punk community, such as riot grrl, are great as well; the scenes are all great resources.  A lot of women don't have this release.  We have close relationships, and we have people that we can talk to in a lot of situations, but we don't have hobbies that allow us to get in touch with ourselves in terms of getting in touch with things that we think or how we might deal with a lot of issues.  I think it's important for teenage women to be involved in a scene that tells them that they have a voice; that they can do it.  Being involved in a community that does things effects you in a positive way.  Obviously teenage boys have always just done things because our society is set up so men are told, "You can do it."  That doesn't necessarily happen with teenage girls.  For me, being around people who are getting things done inspires me to want to do things as well.  Having older women in the scene (or even people my same age) who are doing really cool shit is totally inspiring.  There have always been just enough really fucking awesome women out there for me to be like, "Fuck, this is so great, it's just so great.  The fact that she's doing that makes me think about this, and makes me talk about this with others and do my own shit."  It is a rather productive cycle for everyone involved, and I don't want people to give up on it.

Vique: What women do you feel are doing great stuff?

Lisa: It's mostly women who do 'zines.  I wish that I knew more people out there because I think that I would also be really interested in the women who organize things in their small communities...  I really do believe that in each community there is always a group of women that are totally integral to the role of the social aspect of the community.  While they are also sometimes pushed to the outside, I think that they are important.  I know that when I meet the women that do that sort of stuff I always think that they are just fucking amazing.  But also, there are tons of 'zines, there are tons of bands, and there are just tons of people out there.  Every month I see some new thing, and I think, "That's fucking cool."  I remember when I was younger, seeing an all women band and thinking that was awesome, and showing me that I can do that.  Especially when they are speaking to what you feel; having someone in a band saying the things that I felt was so powerful for me, and so powerful for the other women around me (the men included).  It made me feel validated.  And I feel like there are certain women out there who I want to be able to show the positive things that I have experienced, and I just want to say, "Don't give up.  Stay a part of it."  There are always women out there who will fulfill the role model role, who will be doing something.  Sometimes you've got to look for them, because they are going to be more hidden, but they are there and they are almost always willing to reciprocate.  When I see younger women around here I want to talk to them, but I feel so awkward, because what am I going to say, "Hi, young woman, I like you and this is good."  Then I just look like an idiot, you know?  So I try and do that, but it's hard.  It's hard because I want to treat people like they are not just this tokenized, "Oh, a young woman!  Good, we need more young women, yea!" Honestly, it's an inspiration for me even with the women that I hang out with.  I mean, that's enough, but periodically reading something, seeing something, or hearing something outside of my bubble--just knowing that people are out there.. pleases me.

Leslie: Always keep in mind that there are a lot of women doing stuff.  I constantly hear about the lack of women in punk, and the lack of active women, but there really are a ton of active women doing so much stuff.  There may not be a ton of women in bands (though there certainly are several), but since when is punk supposed to be all about the bands?  There are many women currently kicking ass doing so many things, and there have been many women in the past to look to for inspiration.  Another thing to remember is that punk is supposed to be a space where all people should be comfortable expressing things.  I know that it isn't the case in all cities that a supportive community exists, but I want people to remember that you can talk even when someone hasn't created a space for you.  You can create the space for yourself.  Someone has to be first.

Lisa Oglesby and Leslie Kahan, PO Box 622, Goleta, CA 93116. USA