You may know Shawna as the singer of her hardcore punk band War On Women. You may NOT know that she teaches workshops about the effects of harassment, advice on dealing with being harassed & crisis response, discrimination & more. Shawna is also the author of, in my opinion, an essential book called "Making Spaces Safer". I'm definitely not as eloquent as Shawna and i do not want to do the book an injustice by lack of accuracy on my part, so due to me being somewhat inarticulate on many of the subjects contained, here's a blurb from the internet: "Shawna has turned decades of experience into a clear and concise guide for public spaces of all sorts - from art galleries to bagel shops to concert halls - that want to shut down harassers wherever they show up. With the addition of personal stories, case studies, sample policies, and no-nonsense advice like "How to Flirt Without Being a Creep," she shows why safer spaces are important while making it easier to achieve them".
This is Shawna's Five For Five, so read on!
1. If you were locked in a room for the rest of your life with endless food, water & a turntable, but were only allowed FIVE records, what are they?
I hate these questions. They feel like a "cool" test and sometimes you just want to listen to stuff you like, which you can't necessarily control. Ask me tomorrow and I would have different answers, but this is what I'm feeling right now:
Prince - Purple Rain
Jimmy Eat World - Clarity
Hole - Live Through This
Refused - the Shape of Punk to Come
Metallica - ...And Justice for All or Gustav Holst- The Planets
2. Is there a band, song or album that changed your life? What / who is it and why?
Seeing a Hole music video on MTV is what let me know that I could play guitar, too. That it wasn't just for boys. I've been writing music and playing in bands ever since.
3. Are there any bands, past or present you wish more people knew about?
I'm inclined to say the Slits - but I don't really know how many people listen to them or like them. I just think they're an amazing band.
4. Your book " Making Spaces Safer" is one of the most important things to come out of the punk rock/hardcore/music scene in general. Are you noticing a change in people's behaviour at shows since it came out?
It can only be a good thing for the scene, and humanity in general if more people (men) are educated on what constitutes harassment,
Overall, yes. I think safer space ideas and tactics are becoming more normal, which is the goal. These are not practices that should be limited to more radical circles (because we need more people to benefit from them). I hope my book helps people accomplish the goals they are ready to meet, that it shows them how to get there.
5. What has the rest of 2019 got in store for Shawna Potter/ War On Women?
We tour in the states with Baroness in August, and then a few more runs later this year. Hopefully we start working on new music over the winter. For me, I'm trying to facilitate as many trainings and workshops as possible and looking forward to seeing how far-reaching my book becomes.
If you are interested in Shawna's book you can buy in our online record store: