RE: “Is Your Band Sexist, or are Womxn Just Annoying?” [Feature, Feb 1], Ciara Dolan and Kim Selling’s story about sexist band names.

As a woman who has loved music since I was a little girl, it took me until well into adulthood to realize my formative years were shaped by male musicians who demeaned my gender. From their lyrics to album covers, and from their magazine features to videos, much of my musical world was filled with images and messages that objectified, sexualized, and dehumanized women—and by extension, me. Because these messages were pervasive and glorified, their impact was insidious. Being drawn into the dominant, damaging patriarchal lens through love of words, melody, and beat allows us to accept such treatment as normal. And with normalcy comes justification: for sexism, oppression, violence, and hatred.

That Ms. Selling and Ms. Dolan challenged this privilege and inequity in an industry rife with it made me feel appreciative—until I got 32 pages further into your issue. There, a quarter-page ad for Club Rouge uses the same images of naked, sexualized women common in the music videos I grew up with and promotes “pink pussy shot specials” with associated “giveaways,” attaching all of it to Valentine’s Day, no less. Talk about a slap in the face. You don’t get to have it both ways. Are you for challenging privilege and countering oppression, or are you fine with the status quo that treats women as objects?

By allowing this demeaning and oppressive advertising, you have effectively undone any good your writers achieved. I accept that members of our community believe different things about women’s rights to employ themselves as they choose. I don’t share that view, because we live in a patriarchal society where women have less choice in employment and less access to a livable wage, but I respect that the argument exists. Still, the hypocrisy evident in the decision to allow such offensive messaging in the promotion of women as sexual objects immediately after an article about the ill-effects of misogyny is too much to stomach.

Enough is enough, Merc. Put your money where your writers’ mouths are. Raise the bar for your advertising standards.

Kristine Munholland


RE: “One Day at a Time” [One Day at a Time, Jan 25], in which Ann Romano criticized Louis CK for ignoring current events when he visited Portland—even as his performances coincided with the presidential inauguration and the city’s resultant protests. “If your work isn’t going to reflect, address, or at least acknowledge the real world in times of legitimate crisis—especially when your audiences might, oh, we don’t know, get tear-gassed on their way home—then maybe it’s time to make room for those who aren’t too chickenshit to speak up,” wrote Romano.

I was in the audience that first night with my boyfriend. We’re both huge fans, and I could hardly wait for Louis CK to unleash exacting, harsh reality wrapped up in a four-letter-word-riddled tirade.

But then—nothing. (If I remember right, he did make some small comment on the state of the fuckery going on at the very beginning of his encore, but dropped it as soon as it was uttered.) So I wasn’t surprised to see that the

Mercury also noticed something was “off” about the show. But I also realized my outlook had changed since that night. With every piece of terrible news, each new Facebook post, or each comment thread I end up falling into, I get angry. I’m so fucking pissed that I haven’t felt much since January 20 but rage. In fact, the last time I remember forgetting about all the horrible things for an extended period of time was the night of January 19.

I agree it’s important for artists to “reflect, address, or at least acknowledge the real world in times of legitimate crisis.” But I’m also sort of glad Louis CK didn’t go off that night on President Assface or the smelly dump this “administration” is taking on America. For a few hours, I forgot and just laughed, something that I now realize is in short supply in my life.

So yes, everyone, including comedians, should resist, fight back, stand up, speak out, be angry, and be aware. It’s important that we don’t become complacent. But it’s also important to not lose ourselves. I don’t want to get to a point when I can’t enjoy a show because I’m waiting for the performer to reaffirm or contradict my own thoughts and beliefs. I went to his show to enjoy myself and be entertained, and in retrospect, I’m so glad that’s what happened.

Leslie Kawakami

GOOD POINT, Leslie. We’re giving you the Mercury’s letter of the week, plus two passes to the Laurelhurst Theater—so you and your boyfriend can go see a comedy and experience, once again, that increasingly rare sensation of laughter.


RE: An early version of our feature “Is Your Band Sexist, or are Womxn Just Annoying?” [Feature, Feb 1] included Mothercountry Motherfuckers in a list of bands populated by cis men. This is not the case. The Mercury regrets the error.

Letters and comments may be edited for space. Email us at lovenotes@portlandmercury.com.