September 21, 2020
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The “Lette’s Respect” Project

First things first before this article pops off, ninjas. A little fan fiction:

I remember when he threw me in his trunk. He was tryna smash, get my cash, but thought my mouth was hella fast, so he threw my ass…in his trunk. He showed at least one “mercy” to me after days of darkness and captivity: He cut air holes in the lid, like you would for a small pet in a shoebox. And then he slipped cold hot dogs and ho-hos through the holes so I could eat. My hands were bound, so I needed to press the slimy piles of processed meat and cold, prepackaged spongy cakes and cream into my face in huge, indiscernible gobs.

And I survived.

I came home and my “love at first sight” became “just another argument that turned into a fist fight.” He said he’d pick up the pistol and let me have it and “blow out my fucking brains all over my kitchen cabinets.” He said his knife was like a dick and would love to fuck my womb.

Somehow, some way, I survived that too.

But before the domestic dispute was over, Officer Hatchet showed up, wild-eyed, crazy, and strung out–a haphazard vigilante hero, dark Don Quixote of sorts. And I recalled his immature days when he spit lyrics like “If you ain’t fuckin, take that ass to the kitchen.” Part of me wanted to hold that against him, but…he was older now. Far more mature. Grown. Seasoned. A protector. And in him, at that moment, I saw a lost friend with the best of intentions. I acknowledged and appreciated his efforts, which were absolutely insane, but valiant. I took him by the hand and looked into his wild eyes and smeared face paint: “There’s nothing to see here, officer. It’s already taken care of. I’m already gone.”

Because I survive. It’s what I do. A hatchetgirl just runs and cuts through every obstacle, and she keeps running. Never stopping. Never slowing. Eliminating weakness. Yes.

***

Juggalos and Juggalettes of the world…How you doin? “Wow a chick” is back in the mix and Mister Scottie D has once given me a platform to say what I wanna say in this here Faygoluvers Heaven of ours. Hypothetical scenarios and my penchant for the dramatic aside, I’m here today to present a modest proposal, all in good fun but with a conscience. So please hear me out and refrain from judgment. I want to address the juggalo community and call us to action in light of some relatively new found trends in this here party scene. This is for you especially, juggalettes. Please read closely.

It all started about a month ago. I was standing there at the end of Faygo Armageddon at the Mighty Death Pop! tour. You know the scene well, I’m sure: There’s about two dozen people wading through a six inch puddle of root beer, complete with feathers, bottles, clumps of cardboard, clothing, confetti, busted balloons, shoes, and what have you. Everybody’s just shuffling. Heads down. Maybe picking up and then discarding various items. Some look worried. Some look bewildered. Just zombified and tired. Sweaty. Soaked in soda pop. Comic and tragic, at the same time.

And in the midst of the shuffling and head scratching, there was this couple arguing. The girl was crying. Sobbing, even. “You had ONE job!” her boyfriend snapped. “Just ONE job! I asked you to hold on to my gauges!!!” Slap. Push. Grip. He started hitting her, right there in front of the stage, standing in a Faygo puddle, all because he was worried about his jewelry. I mean…wow. Some fucking jewelry. What a man.

Now, I likely shouldn’t have intervened, but fuck that. I stepped right up in the mix. Mighty Mouse. “I don’t know where you think you are, but an ICP show of all places is NOT the place to be punching on your girl. The juggalos WILL tear you apart, limb by limb, just mark my words. In fact, they’re…”

And I looked around. And I was the only one who’d really noticed. And I stood there. Oh. Shit. Where were the juggalos? Why was this going unnoticed? Was everyone too preoccupied with the Faygo on the floor and lost treasures therein to take notice of this treasure of a woman being brutalized at the hands of some fake fuck repping a hatchetman jersey, of all things? Now, I think at that point, he might have started calling me a bitch or threatening me, but I didn’t care. I was too busy looking into her eyes: “I want you to contact me on the Dark Carnival Tarot facebook,” I said. “Please, let me read your cards. I already know what they’re going to say: That you are better than this. You are stronger. And you don’t need him or his whack jewelry–which is what it is. Whack. Just the stalest.” I hugged her. She composed herself and went to find security while he huffed and puffed somewhere in the background. My work was done but…why was I alone in my intervention? Why had my family abandoned me?

Flash forward a few days later to a club out in rural Pennsylvania that will remain nameless (for reasons I will specify in just a moment) for a Blaze and ABK event. This time, it was security who was terrorizing a juggalette patron. Four of them had her outside, handcuffed, with her head against the wall, when we found her. “Let her go,” I said, alongside my companion (a 6’4″, upwards of 300 lb juggalo, covered in tattoos). “We’re her designated drivers. We’ll take it from here.”

And they did just that after a while, knowing well that it is illegal for a bouncer to restrain someone like that. After diffusing the situation, my big homie left, and it was just me and my girl and the bouncers back inside the club, trying to reach a resolution. Things were peaceful. We were talking, calmly.

Now, here’s the crazy part.

(And if you’re unfamiliar with the Stanford Prison Experiment, then please take a moment to read the Wikipedia article and learn about the sociological phenomena that can occur when everyday people are placed in positions of authority.)

In an attempt to diffuse the incident, I calmly stood there and looked my friend’s attacker (a bouncer) dead in the eyes while we spoke. I stared at him for a long time. I spoke very softly. She had done no wrong. She had been brutalized. And she should be allowed to go dance and do her thing. It was the principle of it all.

And I looked deep into his eyes. I felt it necessary.

And I think it was this that set him off. I think it was the direct eye contact. Maybe. Because, soon enough, my reasoning proved futile. And next thing I knew, he and five other guards swarmed ME and forced me outside into the parking lot. All six men simultaneously gripped me up and flung me toward the exit, slamming me out the door, and gripping my wrists tightly. My arms and legs bruised up. And I screamed while they pawed at me, so much that the performers on the stage missed a word and turned their heads. I was being assaulted. I don’t care if your shirt says “Security.” If you and five of your buddies are gripping me up and forcing me into a dark parking lot, I’m panicking. I’m 4’11” and 90 lbs. Thus I assume the worst.

Outside, my assailants surrounded me and called me “crazy bitch,” gripped me up, and drooled. “Calm down, bitch. Calm down.” They had me in a circle, backed up on the wall. Then came the handcuffs, which cut into my wrists and made me bleed. (I still have a scar.) It felt like an eternity that I was up against that wall, having a panic attack. I just wanted to leave. I just wanted to go to the car. But they were having too much fun grabbing at me and shouting insults. Stanford Prison Experiment status.

After a while, the juggalos caught on and came and rescued me. And rightfully so. I was sobbing. They shuffled me off to the car while I cried.

Fuck.

The next day, I went public about the incident via social media and attempted to contact the owners of the club, asking them to revise their protocol concerning female patrons. Next thing I knew, I received a phone call from management, essentially blackmailing me into silence: “Sweetheart, if you continue to slander the name of our club, we’ll…we’ll…press charges on you! And they might not stick but it’s still headache you DON’T want! The police have your information and will do whatever they need to do to protect our business. We want ICP to come here soon, and you’re not going to ruin THAT for us.”

Oh ho. Touché.

So I contacted a lawyer to protect myself and possibly file suit against the establishment.

And do you know what that lawyer said? “Well, the good news is they can’t come after you. That’s ridiculous. BUT the bad news is that due to the conservative nature of the area and the fact that the county will want to protect the fledgling establishment, if you don’t have any broken bones or a neck brace, the injuries sustained just aren’t SEXY enough to file an assault charge. So just walk away. Don’t do anything.”

Not “sexy” enough…hmf.

So I thought it over. I though long and hard. I came to the conclusion that a “don’t do anything” attitude never gets shit done.

No justice. No peace.

Because a few days later, there I was again at a Tech show, this time at a reputable club in Philly. “Titties! Fuck yeah. Titties! Titties! Titties!” They screamed from the stage, over and over, in between sips of Monster Energy drinks. Seated in the bar area, some boys behind me in polo shirts kept bumping into me left and right, spilling their alcohol. When I said “Excuse me,” they said, “What bitch? Shut the fuck up. Show your tits.” And I flashed the hatchetman charm hard. I said, “Do you know what this means?” I motioned to a few random juggalos, who immediately knew the drill. “OK, the lady said enough. Hands off.” Respect. Whew. Thank goodness. But something’s gotta give. It shouldn’t come down to this. It should be understood.

It was a crazy couple of days for me. In almost 15 years of going to ICP and juggalo shows, I’d never experienced such ignorance and brutality–and three times in a row! Alright. So. Sob stories aside. Save the war stories for Private Ryan and the confessionals for Oprah Winfrey. Now.

How many of you reading have had similar experiences? Were you assaulted? Or…were you an assailant or just a heckler? And what about bystanders? Were you wading through the Faygo with your head down, or were you there for your sister in her time of need? It’s no secret that these kinds of things have been going on for some time at shows. As things move forward and, dare I say, certain artists in the scene seemingly spew violence without the underlying moral compass always strictly adhered to by the godfathers ICP, it is only getting worse. Coincidence? Maybe. But, lately, every night, some chick gets manhandled, one way or another, whether at the hands of their spouses, security guards, or patrons. It happens at every show. And how many more women (scratch that, juggalettes) will be treated like rag dolls at these clubs before we say “Enough”?

Well, I’m saying it now. Enough. I’ve had it. Officially.

And, no, I’m not calling in Officer Hatchet or making a call to arms. Violence only begets violence. That is not my intention at all.

What I am presenting is a call to action. A call for increased respect and sensitivity to the needs and safety of female juggalos and women everywhere.

Let’s end the silence. Let’s end the violence. Let’s end the misogyny.

“Lette’s Respect.”

See something. Say something.

Because I don’t ever want to go to a club and see some punk domestic violence going down. Especially not at an ICP show. Especially from someone bearing the hatchet. Please. Have we learned nothing over the years?

And I don’t ever want to go to a club where security manhandles female patrons and gets away with it. If you see it, put your drinks down and stand. Nonviolent resistance. Say something. Stand up. Contact management. Be there.

And I don’t ever want to see strange men talking trash or harassing juggalettes in the club or at a show. Did you hear that family chant? Did you? What does that word mean to you? You treat everyone–especially the lettes–in the club like your brothers and sisters. Hell yes. Nothing less.

And I’m challenging the artists, right here and right now. Lead in the right way. With your words. With your rhymes. I’m asking: Lette’s Respect. Respect our lettes. Respect each other. And let’s foster an environment where lettes feel safe and are protected. Enough is enough. We ain’t gotta be puritanical. I ain’t no Juggalo Tipper Gore. Hey–I like titties dripping with Faygo just as much as every OG juggalo. It’s just that I know my experiences over the past few months aren’t isolated incidents. So now it’s time for the pendulum to swing back the other way, completely. Balance must be restored.

I hope you’ll join me, fam. Spread the word. It’s official: The Lette’s Respect Project is here, in full effect. Are you down?

Go to facebook.com/LettesRespect and sound off. Tell your story. You want to anonymously post something about the security or management at a club without fear of harassment? It can be done. You want to share your experience or just give a Whoop Whoop to your sisters runnin’ with the hatchet, standing tall and proud like some hatchet warrior women? Then Whoop it up, homie. Whoop it up. Send us pictures, send us stories, send us sexy photos, even! Because yes, ladies, we can still be sexy in all this. Sure. We’re beautiful. And together we can make sure that the lettes get their respect. We are taking it back.

Consider this article the first installment–the first chapter in a long book.

What’s coming up ahead for Lette’s Respect? I’m glad you asked.

First, we need you to Like us on facebook and spread the word.

Next up…We take back The Miss Juggalette Pageant at the 14th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos. Oh yes. The Lette’s Respect Project is joining forces with Faygoluvers Heaven, The Dark Carnival Tarot, and Psychopathic Records and calling all real juggalettes and/or female juggalos (for you OGs or girls sick of the stigma): Let’s take the word “lette” back and make it a matter of pride. No longer will “lette” be associated with “insert pork product here” (oh yes, I said it). It’s an all-out campaign to take back the name that rightfully belongs to us and make things right. Details forthcoming, but the bottom line is this: We are taking it back to the days of the early Gatherings where the reigning Miss Juggalette was more than just a sex object. We can still be sexy, sure, but we ain’t smutty. Does sodomy with an inanimate object for thousands of gawkers define “juggalette”? No.

Now, don’t get it twisted: This is NOT a diss against the reigning Miss Juggalettes past. Girls, we love you. I love you. Your open attitude towards sexuality is perfect. Let your freak flags fly and be empowered! Because the gathering is all about the removal of boundaries and pushing against the grain of society. A little exhibitionism never hurt anyone, so get your freak on. HOWEVER, this time around, we politely ask you to do your thang in the wet t-shirt contest and/or the lingerie competition ONLY. This year, we’re encouraging juggalettes to enter the Miss Juggalette contest and go for the title adhering to the “Lette’s Respect” motto, so that balance can be restored and the word “juggalette” can become a new matter of pride and respect. Be proud to be a juggalette. Stand up. Know your worth.

And to my sisters…my sisters…out there on the “drug bridge” working in a trash pile for dollars, drugs, and sometimes for free. Are you reckless? Then expect this: Do you. No judgments. (The real clowns are the boys who line up and pay you.) But we’re here to say you’re better than that. And we’re here to show you that. No judgments. None. But “juggalette” should mean “respect.” And the Opaque Sisterhood has risen. Say something.

We are born to shine and be beautiful, running with a hatchet. So Lette’s Respect.

After all…It’s in the Cards…

***

Rachel Paul (aka “wow a chick”) is the author and illustrator of the Dark Carnival Tarot Cards and the unofficial Faygoluvers graphics grrrl. She bounces back and forth between Philly and Detroit and loves long walks on the beach, Shaggy 2 Dope, and Candy Apple Faygo. Visit her at facebook.com/darkcarnivaltarot or etsy.com/shop/darkcarnivaltarot.

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    Faygoluvers Comments

  1. Violentdope

    Violentdope

    Comment posted on Friday, June 28th, 2013 03:15 pm GMT -5 at 3:15 pm

    cool shit..i personally have never seen anything like this at shows here in cali…always love maybe a drunk fuck doing something stupid but never toward a woman…i hope this works out for her something does need to be done if this is going on..

  2. Violentdope

    Violentdope

    Comment posted on Friday, June 28th, 2013 05:35 pm GMT -5 at 5:35 pm

    only thing i hate more is pussies that hate for no reason like this tomass witt fucker….fuck off dick

  3. Ratchetman

    Ratchetman

    Comment posted on Friday, June 28th, 2013 11:06 pm GMT -5 at 11:06 pm

    This is great, thank you so much for doing this! I have been avoiding all of the “pageants” at the Gathering for years. My wife came with me a few years ago and we never attended one. I think the girls of Wolfpac show just the right amount of sexuality, similar to strippers I think. Some of the stuff the “lettes” have done in years past is just too much though.

  4. yaboiron

    yaboiron

    Comment posted on Monday, July 1st, 2013 08:35 pm GMT -5 at 8:35 pm

    this isnt gunna change anything….

  5. RydaFoLife

    RydaFoLife

    Comment posted on Monday, July 1st, 2013 08:37 pm GMT -5 at 8:37 pm

    lol Reverb.

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