Carolin Hirsch: The Gendered Rebel

Carolin Hirsch’s analysis focuses on resisting structural discrimination and violence, based on sexism, and concealed as gendered norms and expectations, in everyday life within the Yangon-based punk collective Rebel Community.

In this article, I argue that the punk community Rebel Community mirrors, to a certain extent, Bamar-Buddhist-justified gendered inequalities. Although the punks identify structural inequalities and the discrimination of women and minorities, they are themselves not free from the heteronormative and structural discriminations they criticize and oppose. Basic rules within the community include that fascist, racist, and sexist behavior is not tolerated. These punks regard humans as equal, no matter their gender, ethnicity, or religion. Therefore, they counter the institutionalized separation of the population of Myanmar but also turn a blind eye to intersectional discrimination. Through a dogmatic approach to egalitarianism, women have a hard time sharing their experiences of sexism and being acknowledged instead of silenced. Since harassment, for example, is an experience the male members share, they have a hard time acknowledging that the harassment the women must endure is not about them being punks but that they are punished—through being objectified and sexualized—for betraying nation and culture.