I do a lot of interviews and stuff where they ask me about it and I feel like the nostalgia is this happy thing where it’s like, “oh, I wish I lived in the ’90s, it would be so awesome! There was this community and it would be so great. My experience of it was that it was not that great, and a lot of people don’t know about the violence at shows and how much shit bands with women in them — especially explicitly feminist bands — took. And so when people are nostalgic about it, I’m like, oh, you want to go back to a time when if you were onstage and you said, “there’s a pro-choice rally happening,” there could be a guy who’s yelling “shut up!” while you were talking, and possibly had a knife in his jacket. And nobody would do anything about it. You know, and a lot of times girls just weren’t safe at shows. And I don’t know if they are now, I definitely know that at some shows they’re not. The nostalgia erases a lot of the negative things that happened and when I talk about that in lectures people are very shocked.
––Fun fact: In the ’90s, girls at hardcore shows were often jokingly referred to as coat hangers, because they were often on the edge of the crowd, “holding their boyfriend’s coats.” Hahaha get it? Ugh. Kathleen Hanna, whose writing and time in Bikini Kill is heavily featured in the new Riot Grrrl Collection (released via the Feminist Press), touches upon the false dichotomy of the ’90s as some magical glitter pony time when women were really powerfully asserting themselves and men were supportive and responsive to the desires and demands of Riot Grrls for safe shows and safe dialogues. Not necessarily true. Keep reading »
Guys, it was a rough weekend, what with the coverage of the Steubenville rape verdict, and all the rape apologists and all. Very disheartening. But then I caught this little gem of a video — Bikini Kill legends Kathleen Hanna and Kathi Wilcox playing “The Friendship Game” — and I felt a little bit better. It’s hard to believe that Bikini Kill is more than 20 years old now; the band’s music is still as vibrant and prescient as ever. [Huffington Post]
I’m totally into Taylor Swift. I think she has super-clever lyrics, and I love that she writes her own music. Some of the themes she writes about are stuff I wish was there for me when I was in high school, and I’m so happy she really cares about her female fans. She’s not catering to a male audience and is writing music for other girls. I don’t care if she calls herself a feminist or not. There is something that she’s doing that feels feminist to me in that she really seems to have a lot of control over what her career is doing. She’s 23. People say she’s dating all these guys. Well, yeah, she’s a young person and is dating all these people ’cause that’s what you do when you’re young. John Mayer can fuck 84 people in one day and nobody calls him a slut. I think that’s the subtext of some of the things she’s said recently.
– Kathleen Hanna, patron saint of all things feminist and formerly of the bands Le Tigre and Bikini Kill, dips her toe in the most pressing social issue of our time: Is Taylor Swift a feminist? In an interview with The Daily Beast, Hanna makes a point that I hadn’t considered before: Taylor Swift definitely isn’t catering to a male audience — posing nearly naked in lad mags, performing sexually provocative dance numbers, tweeting scantily glad pictures of herself — in the same way that Katy Perry, Rihanna or Britney Spears do. That alone does not make Swift a feminist, of course. The content of the messages she’s sending to her female audiences are important. But I suspect part of the reason that Swift gets so much shit for being a girly-girl making music for girls is because she doesn’t necessarily have a legion of straight male fans wanking off to/supporting her. (And FWIW, Kathleen Hanna is also a fan of Beyoncé, so I think we can agree she’s more of a lover than a hater.) [The Daily Beast] [Photo: Getty]
“I feel like there’s this weird thing that as a feminist band you get put in this role as ambassadors. Certain people are like ‘Oh, here come the Feminazis!’ You end up acting 10 times nicer than you even need to be, to be the opposite of the stereotype like ‘You’re the man haters!’ We’re always bending over backwards being extra nice. And I don’t know if being nice is my legacy. Johanna [Fateman, my Le Tigre bandmate] and I talked about it a lot. Both of us wish that we would have broken out of the mold sometimes and just be jerks more often.”
—Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre on giving interviews as a feminist musician. While I’m not sure I’d ever condone being a “jerk” — the world has enough jerks! — I can also relate to feeling responsible for ‘making feminism look good,’ so to speak. The “feminazi” stereotype is so pervasive that lots of people don’t understand what feminism actually is. Thanks a pantsful, Rush Limbaugh. But proving that we don’t hate men — which is completely untrue, obviously — is a waste of our valuable time and energy. [Spinner] Keep reading »