Q&A: Country Singer Meghan Patrick Discusses the Bigger Picture of Calling Out "Dipshit" Catcaller
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Meghan Patrick was headlining Hagersville Rocks Music Festival last month when a man screamed out, “Show me your tits.” Yes, it’s 2019 and some men clearly think that’s okay.
The recent global phenom of yelling “fuck her right in the pussy” (known as FHRITP) to a female TV reporter as the camera is rolling has prompted criminal charges for some: including breach of the peace, harassment, sexual harassment or mischief. And why would “show me your tits” be any different?
While accolades and circumstances should not have a bearing, the Bowmanville, Ontario-born singer is a respected and rising star in the country music world, recently named female artist of the year by the Canadian Country Music Association Awards for the second consecutive time, nominated for two 2019 Juno Awards, and owner of 13 trophies from the Ontario Country Music Awards.
Her debut album, 2016’s Grace and Grit, spawned four top 20 hits and the top 10 hit “Still Loving You,” and the follow-up album, 2018’s Country Music Made Me Do It generated a top 5 hit with the title track, the No. 1 “Wall Come Down” and top 15 “The Bad Guy.” She has just released the new single, “Wild As Me.” She is on Warner Music in Canada and just signed with Riser House Records in America.
So when this jerk interrupted her show with “Show me your tits,” the 32-year-old stopped what she was doing and tore into him. Her F-laden approach is beside the point. She said what many women would like to say in similar — and all too common — circumstances:
“I do not fucking work my whole entire life, and be broke, and it’s sad to have some dipshit drunk in the audience tell me to show him my tits. This isn’t a fucking strip club. Get the fuck out,” she demanded. “If you’re here to see country music, and honesty, and stories, and have some beers and have a good time, you are welcome here. But that shit is not fucking welcome here, I work too damn hard motherfucker. Fuck you…,” punctuated with the finger.
Still steaming, Patrick later took to her social media to voice what took place, beginning her post with, "Ok, I'm about to get real here for a second." It received 3500 likes, 660 comments and 590 shares. No two ways about it, this kind of idiocy, rudeness and disrespect has to be stopped and there's a reason it gained traction.
Samaritanmag spoke with Patrick, who now lives in Nashville, about what happened, how she feels about it getting so much attention, and what other men told her.
I just wanted to talk to you about what happened at Hagersville. How many times has that type of thing happened and you've ignored it?
It's happened a few times when I've ignored it, probably more so when I was a lot younger and just getting started and taken aback by the fact that someone would even do that in the first place [laughs].
I grew up in a really small town and I wasn't raised that way, and neither were any of those guys that I grew up with. When you get exposed to a larger audience, you're shocked by how other people can act sometimes. It's definitely happened a number of times and, usually, if I was going to say anything back, I’d try and make a joke out of it and say something sarcastic. That has a similar effect, but in this particular situation he was being so obnoxious about it. I was just in a headspace, where in the last couple of years, I've been through a lot and I've dealt with some really crappy people in the industry, people who were really damaging to my mental wellbeing and my career, and I grew a lot of confidence. I got to a place where I was like, ‘I'm not going to let these types of things go by anymore. I'm going to speak my mind,’ and I have gained the confidence to do so.
And so on this particular night, it wasn't even a thing I thought about or had planned for. I just saw red and said exactly what I was thinking, the way I was thinking it [laughs].
I saw red too when I read your post. And clearly a lot of other people did too. Woman are just fed up with this stuff, whether they are in the public eye or not. I’m not sure men realize, for example, that many of us take a deep breath when we walk by a construction site, anticipating comments and catcalls from a bunch of guys, and get this sense of relief that we made it past. lt's kind of a weird way to go through daily life.
It absolutely is. I'll say this, I would agree that there are still a lot of men who don't necessarily understand that. And, to a certain extent, how could they? They're not women. They don't live it and they don't see it, unless they are close with other women in their life who are going to be open about those kinds of experiences. There isn't a way for them to really understand how prevalent it is in our life. But that being said, I do think that there are a lot of men who do understand it. And, in fact, the feedback that I've been getting from the post I made — and there was an article written by Whisky Riff that got posted, which is a really well followed social media outlet, especially here in Nashville and in the country community — I had a lot of males reach out to me.
They were thanking me in the same way a lot of women were, coming from a point of view, whether it was males who were in the industry and who have worked with female artists and seeing it firsthand, being on the road with them, whether they're in their band or guys who would email me or message me and say, ‘I have daughters or my wife has gone through it or my sister.' There were a lot of guys too that reached out and said, ‘Thank you so much for standing up for yourself and you will be a role model to my daughters or my sister.’ That was a very pleasantly surprising part of this whole thing, how much support I got from some men, as well as women. I don't know that that would've been the case a few years ago. So that was a really positive thing to me.
Do you think the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement have opened people's eyes and made it possible to speak up and get support?
Yes. I'm going to preface what I'm about to stay with this one little thing: I never really wanted to or intended to use my platform to speak out and make a thing about women's rights or anything like that. Not because I don't care about them, just because I wanted to play music to play music. I didn't want to use it necessarily for politics or my own social beliefs or anything like that. This situation happened and I'm realizing that it's forced me out of that platform in a sense, just because of the way I reacted and the way people have reacted to what I did.
There have been a lot of movements that were very important in their natural state and there's been a lot of people who have misused them and misrepresented them. And, unfortunately, it's come from other women and the way that other women have tried to represent this cause and this issue has been detrimental because when you feel that you've been wronged. There are a couple of ways that you can go about getting the person you feel has wronged you to understand. You can go at it saying and asking the way you think that you are entitled to ask, and saying the things that you are entitled to — and you are entitled to be mad and to say those things and to handle it a certain way — but the reality is if you want to get the result that you want, which is to be heard and understood, you have to find a way to appeal to that person, or that group of people, in a way that they are going to understand it and in a way that they are going to be accepting to listening to you.
I think that there are women who go about this in a way that don't understand the way a lot of men think and the way that they see the world. I have a very good understanding in a lot of ways of that just because I've spent so much time around men in this industry, whether they're guys in my band or just being a tomboy and really into sports and hunting and fishing. I've spent a lot of time around guys, where they don't treat me like a girl. They treat me like one of the guys. And so I get a lot of insight into how they think and how they interact with each other. Sorry, I got way off there [laughs].
That’s okay. I think why it's getting attention, and why it got my attention, is because it’s fairly common, even that line — show us your tits. It’s not like we’re shocked, ‘What the hell, this guy said that?’ So enough is enough. I don't know if you're aware of this, but the 'fuck her right in the pussy’ phenomenon — where guys yell that at female reporters when they're on the air — that is now illegal in some places. Someone got charged last year in BC and in Newfoundland. One stuck, the other didn’t because it wasn’t “in public,” apparently. People are now trying to make “emotional disturbance” a crime.
What happened to you could be a crime. You are at work and it's in public.
And that's exactly it. I understand there are different situations. I'm all for comedy and a lot of the comedy that I enjoy, it's usually pretty offside. When it's being used for the sake of comedy and you're in the right setting [it’s okay], but there was nothing funny about it. He was drunk and obnoxious and he was screaming it so loud that it was distracting me from doing my job. And that's the whole thing is that I was doing my job. Not that there should ever be a scenario for a guy to scream that at a person they don't know in public. There isn't, but especially in that scenario. It just felt so disrespectful. I knew that it was not only taking away from the positive experience that I was having on stage, but it was taking away from the people around him. I mean, if I was in the audience and some guy was screaming that, it would piss me off too. That's not what we're here for — ‘What are you 12? Stop. Grow up.’
You're performing. It takes concentration. It takes comfort level. You're vulnerable because here you are on stage, entertaining, hoping people like you and then you have some idiot yelling that.
And it's like, ‘Who did you think was going to find that funny?’ It's not even funny. It's not even creative. It was just completely pointless. And when I said that on stage, it wasn't this big thought-out speech, which I think is evident probably by my language. And even when I posted on my Instagram, I wasn't really trying to make it a thing either. It was just me sharing my thoughts. And if you look through my posts on my Instagram, I've done that a lot. I'm very open and honest with my followers about what this life is like.
It's a weird thing. It seems like once you get to a certain point in your career where you're in the public eye, people kind of dehumanize you. It's like you're not a real human anymore. I’ve dealt with people bullying me online for lots of reasons. One of the biggest ones being my hunting lifestyle. And I've always stood up for those people too. That's just the way that I am. And when I get messages from other female artists, or just other women in general, saying that wasn't just a fleeting moment that everybody thought that was badass, it really impacted people and these women saying, ‘I never would’ve stood up for myself in that situation in the past. And I haven't. And I saw you do it and it made me feel that that I could and that I should next time it happens.’ And, again, mothers and fathers alike saying, ‘I will be teaching my daughters to stand up for themselves the way that you did. Good for you.’
I mean, look, could I have gotten my point across with less explicit language? Yeah, of course I could have, if I'd had the time to sit there and really think through what I was going to say and edit it and make it perfect, but I didn't have that opportunity. It wasn't a social media post. It wasn't an interview that I knew I was going into. It was very in the moment and very raw and, and I was emotional. I was very angry. And that's how I speak when I'm angry. I know there were a few people who said things about the language and I just kind of said, ‘You know what, if that's what you took away from this, you're part of the problem.’
Also, it was close to midnight when it happened. There weren't a lot of children present. I'm not The Wiggles or whatever. I don't make music for kids. Most of my shows, in fact, are 21 or 19-plus and they're happening in bars. Again, yes, I could have said it without the swearing. Of course, I could have, had I time to think it through. So I think it was unfortunate that some people couldn't get past that.
I don't think it would have had the same impact if you had said [sweetly], ‘Excuse me can you please not yell things like that out.’
That’s the other thing too, I’ve dealt with those people before and people saying, ‘Oh, she didn't have to stoop to his level,’ and I kinda thought to myself, ‘No, actually, you know what, I did need to stoop down his level for a second, look him straight in the eyes and let him know that I was by no means going to let him do what he was doing.’ So yeah, like I said, I said exactly what I was thinking, exactly how I was thinking it and I think it was impactful and it got my point across.
How did he react? Did he apologize or was he quickly tossed out?
No. He did not. He tried to yell something back and I told him to get the F out again, and then security came out to the crowd and removed him. I didn't get any apology, which I didn't expect to.
Do you mind if people keep asking you about this or would you like this incident to disappear?
I'm fine with people that continued talking about it and asking me about it. I stand by what I said and what I did 100 percent. I don't regret any of it. And, as far as I can tell, it's had an incredibly positive impact on a lot of people, and that is why I do what I do. I mean, mostly my goal was to do it through my music, but I'm also sort of a public figure now too. And the things that I say outside of my music are also widely publicized. So again, if something I did had a positive impact on people then, then I'm proud of that and I will continue to do that for as long as I can. I try to represent strength and independence and courage, not just for women, but for anybody, through my music. And if I did that through that little speech, then great. It’s good thing.
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