Dana Dentata: "I challenge men to learn from all the bad experiences you’re reading about in the news right now"

On International Women's Day, Dana Dentata challenges men to do better, to treat women with respect, and to break free from the shackles of toxic masculinity.

Dana Dentata: "I challenge men to learn from all the bad experiences you’re reading about in the news right now"
Dana Dentata

I could talk about all of the male artists, managers, executives, directors, creative directors, producers and photographers that have taken advantage of me and manipulated me, or at least tried to. It’s probably why I sat for days not knowing what to say or where to start with this essay. I have experienced so much abuse in this industry that I could write an entire book, but I don’t want to do that today because it's not about penalties, it's about a desired outcome.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is Choose To Challenge. Women are already challenged with having to do the gruelling work of experiencing abuse, living with abusive experiences, fighting for justice, recovering and healing. Every potential job opportunity that turns into a creepy pervert is a challenge. Survival is a challenge. Feeling safe after being abused for so many years is a challenge. But we are also expected to lead the way and be the voice in this movement of refusing to be silent about abuse. We speak up more often, we fight more often and we come together more often to empower each other. I challenge women to do absolutely nothing but continue this path, and I congratulate you all for being exactly as you are right now.

I’d like to talk to men in general about tours and concerts, and challenge them to do better. I’m talking about the artist, the merch guy, the tour manager, the DJ, the lighting director, guitar tech and even the concert attendee. I think it’s a good time to reflect on this since we’ve had so much time away from it. I’ve seen men on tour act like their regular lives are completely separate, so they can act and treat people – specifically women – differently on the road. Stop cheating on your girlfriend because you are on tour, you’re not fucking special. Stop encouraging your friends to cheat on their wives or girlfriends because you’re in your hedonistic bubble getting your ego fed every night. Stop taking advantage of young women that are genuine fans of music and are excited to be there. There are no special conditions for you because you’re in a touring crew or even if you’re a popular artist. Be a good human. All the people on tour that back away into the bushes or look the other way when the headlining artist and company treat women like shit: do better. Men need to be having these conversations with other men. I’ve not only seen it myself, but I’ve experienced it both as a concert attendee and a working artist.

As far as attending a concert and being in the pit, there is a lot of work we have to do to keep women safe, because it is normalised for women to be assaulted in the pit. I’ve been sexually assaulted in the pit at my own goddamn concert while I was performing. We need to speak up about this more and I have plans for some solutions once shows are back on. Knowing how much it has happened in the pit at my own concerts fills me with rage. I will have more info on that once spaces open up again, but until then, I challenge men to learn from all the bad experiences you’re reading about in the news right now. You have the power and ability to set an example that abuse is not tolerable. You can make a lot of money, you can have a lot of attention and success, but if you’re treating people like disposable objects, you are poison. It’s really cool and hot to be a respectful man, I promise. It's up to you to break this culture and set an example for other men – it could potentially prevent so many painful stories and traumatised people.

Look inside yourselves at what you experienced as children, learn about your trauma and your behaviours and understand why you are the way you are. Break through the toxic masculinity that has been projected at you your entire lives. Go to therapy, speak your truth and heal. Have more meaningful, emotional conversations with your male friends. Hold your friends accountable for their actions. Do something. I love men. I love masculinity. I just want it to come in a non-toxic format.

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