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Wearing Next to Nothing at the Rave: Is it a Feminist Issue or a Generational One?

Women’s bodies are the subject of discussion following EDC but not for the right reasons.
June 24, 2015, 7:40pm
Anthony Djuren for Insomniac

In the days following 2015's Electric Daisy Carnival, it seems women's bodies are a hot topic. Several viewpoints have surfaced regarding pasties and women who wear them at dance music festivals. At first glance, Medium user teri 6ie6er's essay "A Letter to My Daughters and The Female EDM Community" is the impassioned plea of a mother for young women to respect themselves. However, about a paragraph in, a very different, totally cringeworthy narrative emerges as 6ie6er tips her hand and reveals that she didn't come to the table to discuss feminism, sexism in EDM, or the objectification of young women. Rather, she is more committed to sharing her disappointment with the way dance music culture has evolved from—as she puts it—"freaks and geeks" to "bros and hos" and her apparent lack of interest in letting go of her own 90s rave glory days.

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The essay discusses the author's experience attending Electric Daisy Carnival with her "jaded old school raver crew" and the dismay she experienced upon observing that rave fashion has changed dramatically in the twenty years since she rocked Jnco's and baby tees. While she focuses primarily on attacking the scantily clad girls at the festival, although making sure to point out that she's "no prude", it seems apparent that the fact that the scene has changed at all in 20 years is what the self-described OG can't get down with.

Honestly, did she really expect it to be the same?

I was a raver in the 90s too, back in my hometown of Detroit. No matter how much I cherish those sepia-tinged drug-hazy memories, I have no desire to attempt to recreate them in 2015. It's not possible and more importantly, I'm different now too.

After EDC, the real party is just getting started on Craigslist.

For example, I was at Von's the other day picking up some groceries; the usual stuff I eat like kale and avocados and whatnot when I spotted some Bagel Bites in the freezer section. Man, I loved Bagel Bites when I was a kid, I'd crush an entire package in one sitting, easy. "Fuck it" I thought and tossed them in my cart. So geeked to indulge in the sentimental deliciousness, I ran home, nuked em up real quick and got down to business. 15 minutes later, I was bloated, slightly nauseous and bummed the fuck out. They didn't even taste good, not at all like I remembered. My palate and circumstances have changed; I'm not 12 years old sitting on the couch watching Full House anymore, ya feel me? 6ie6er's reaction to the girls at EDC has more to do with her different, more experienced, older point of view than the young raver ladies' outfits themselves.

Kandi ravers, making kandi. Photo by Rebecca Britt for Insomniac.

6ie6er recounts her own party attire—crop tops and lacy bras—from back in the day, a look that surely provided more coverage than the pasties and thongs that today's festival chicks rock. Still, they sound to me like they were chosen with the same intent: to look cute and sexy. Sexuality has been a part of dance culture since it began and how can it not be? Throngs of sweaty kids dancing to heady, bass-driven music in dark clubs and warehouses where the drugs and booze flow like rivers. While safety for women in particular is an issue that needs to constantly be monitored and addressed, 6ie6er's explicit implication that wearing sexy clothing demonstrates a lack of self-respect and sends a bad message to the "the tens and tens of thousands [of] slightly intoxicated young men herding around" is not just hypocritical but also deeply fucking offensive. She even goes as far as to claim that these outfits are also somehow to blame for the lack of female artists on the festival roster.

How did they build that? Go deep inside the Daisy with THUMP.

Self-respect isn't about covering your body so as not to tempt men. Self-respect is about taking control of your sexuality and expressing it however you see fit. Self-respect is about feeling good in your skin and wearing whatever the fuck you want, regardless of what people may think.

So, why do girls choose to wear these skimpy outfits if it's not to be slutbag rape magnets as 6ie6er seems to think? LA Weekly columnist Jessie Shiewe addressed that question with her article "I Wore Pasties at EDC and it Wasn't That Bad" and to give you the tl/dr version: It's actually pretty fun and liberating. Fancy that.

As for teri 6ie6er, I'm really sorry that her attempt at getting turnt like it's 1995 didn't work out so well. Maybe it's time to hang up the OG status and stick to wine and cheese parties. I'll bring the Bagel Bites.

Malina Bickford respects herself in Los Angeles and on Twitter.