When Love’s star was rising in the early '90s (and I mean, pre-Kurt) she was associated with the Riot Grrrl movement. Her songs had the right aesthetic and lyrics. Is she pretty on the inside? Is she pretty from the back. Riot Grrl was all about exploring the personal, the feminine and especially things like body image, which Love wrote about often.
But the Riot Grrls didn’t embrace Love. “They said my feminism came in a weird brand,” Love said. I guess, in a nut-shell, Courtney Love wanted mainstream fame and was willing to get plastic surgery to get there. My favorite yarn though is that Courtney Love once lied to a member of the band Faith No More, about sharing his birthday, in order to become their singer. It worked.
Like Bikini Kill frontman and Riot Grrrl-er Kathleen Hanna, Love was also a former stripper. Why can’t we be pro-women-wielding-their-sexuality to get ahead for the same reason we are pro-sex-work? Why not subvert the system and use it for your own gain, your own art? Why can’t that be a woman's choice?
I’m going to quote this awesome internet essay on Love, which nicely sums things up: “Love did not subscribe to the school of thought that paired commercial success with a notion of ‘selling out.’ Riot Grrrls conversely thought that if a band made ‘a song that had the potential to be a commercial success was to compromise [the band’s] artistic integrity’. This is rightfully considered to be absurd by Love … By Riot Grrrl logic, the band should pretend they can not play their instruments to preserve their authenticity ... to do such a thing would play into feminine stereotypes that suggest women are incapable.”