As recently as yesterday.

I told this story on this comment thread on the article about the singer from Chvrches, but I thought I'd tell it here to give it a little more context.

It's not just a couple of trolls on anonymous websites that harass female performers. It happens live, during shows, after shows, and sometimes even backstage to pretty much any woman who puts herself in front of an audience—especially women who take a leading role, like the lead singer of a band or a stand-up comedian.

I do a solo show. I perform outside, for general/family audiences. My character is cute and playful, not sexy. My costume is not revealing or sexy in any way. I've worked very hard to make sure that my show is based on talent and not sex appeal—but even with all of that, I still have guys yell, "take off your shirt," during my show.

Advertisement

And worse.

When I was younger and less secure in my abilities as a performer, I would just take it. I would ignore the shitty things people said and try to move on. I was afraid I'd lose my audience if I spoke up. Over the years, without setting out to be, I've become a role model for young girls. Their parents will bring them up afterward to talk to me and I even get cute little fan mail from time to time (one mom emailed me that her four-year-old runs around the house saying lines from my show). Now that I'm more confident in my show, I'm realizing that not only do I not need to put up with this shit anymore, those girls don't need to see me put up with it.

So yesterday, when a dude shouted, "take it off," I completely stopped what I was doing. I looked at him, I looked at the audience, with a what the hell was that? look, then, I looked back at him and in character, all cute and sweet, said, "where do you think you are?"

Advertisement

I just let the moment hang there until it was really funny. He turned beet red and his girlfriend punched him in the arm for being dumb.

What he said might not seem like a huge deal and the shut down might not seem like a huge victory, but think about it: when I stopped the show, everything stopped, everybody looked at him and with a few soft words, I was able to make him realize exactly how inappropriate his comment was. I got to address the issue without having to go on a scree or tear him down, everyone got a laugh and I completely won my audience over.

(also instructive: the article I stole this stock photo from)