***I apologize in advance for this picture. It’s necessary to include to make a point/rant.
So many things are wrong with this picture. First, the clown. Second, the word. Third, it’s not even clever.
I entered Search and Destroy (25 Saint Marks Place), a ‘vintage’ hardcore clothing shop in the East Village, expecting to be moderately uncomfortable. I don’t necessarily look like I belong in a punk store, as much as I may try/want to. And believe me, people will alert you of your out-of-place-ness. On a few occasions in middle school, I got pressured by employees at Hot Topic to leave. I guess I looked too happy?
But this store, in particular, had some tell-tale signs that I would be especially out of place. The storefront window features a pile of naked, plastic baby dolls, skeletons with mohawks and a just-visible naked woman hanging from the ceiling, her arms and legs tied. Not really my kind of store. However, I’m working on a story about the preservation of punk in the East Village, so I thought this store might be a possible addition to my search.
I have a fairly open mind. I can appreciate things I don’t necessarily understand. The bloody, fake pig carcasses hanging from the ceiling? Ok. Not my choice of decor, but I get it, you’re edgy. Whatever. The “dick-nose” glasses? Chuckle worthy, I guess. The freak-show theme, anti-establishment vibe? Punk, right, blah blah blah. But the naked women mannequins, hanging from the ceilings, tied in a similar fashion to their pig counterparts? Disgusting. I can’t and refuse to understand why that is ok. The store was just, SO misogynistic. Apparently objectifying women is funny. Hence the clown, who was standing behind a flip book of women naked from the waist down. I mean, really?
I’m all for irony (tee hee a childhood icon holding a crude sign), but this was just gross.
I’m no expert on anything punk, but it just seems to me that in many cases, such as this, the movement has evolved into a commercial circus. Sure there’s always been a certain “sideshow,” grotesque element to it, but this is just shock value for the sake of shock value. Search and Destroy is an attempt to capitalize on the area’s identity as the birthplace of punk by taking and concentrating the misogynistic elements of the movement, throwing in some doc martins and spikes and hoping it passes as authentic. Not cool, Search and Destroy, not cool.