“Well, I worked at McDonald’s and I spent the money I earned at McDonald’s to get my abortion. I was only 15 and the person who got me pregnant did not want to give me any money. I was $40 short, so I had my drug dealer call him and threaten him, so he gave me the last $40. I really credit [my abortion] as something that changed my life because I got a job, I took care of my business, and I moved on. And I’m not one of those people who’d have looked back and been like, ‘Oh, that kid would be 30 right now…‘ I don’t think, ‘Oh, I really regret it… ‘Maybe that’s a fucked-up thing to say but, I don’t regret it at all, number one, and number two, it was one of the best things that happened to me. Not actually being on the table and having it done, but feeling like I was responsible for my own life and realizing that when I made mistakes, there were consequences and that I could take care of those consequences. I could make mistakes and I could fix them. And live with them. It wasn’t a big deal.”
Kathleen Hanna from the bands Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and Julie Ruin spoke with The Rumpus on the upon the release of a new documentary about her career, “The Punk Singer.” Thank Goddess for women like Kathleen who offering something different to the dominant narrative that abortions make you sad and regretful and damaged forever. A lot of women — I would venture to say most women — do feel sad about having an abortion. But ultimately feel empowered and relieved not to have their lives turned upside down by an unplanned pregnancy.
After the jump, Kathleen expanded more about why her abortion at age 15 was one of the best things that ever happened to her: Keep reading »
This one’s an oldie but a goodie: Riot grrl hero and fellow Colonel Mustard fan Kathleen Hanna is the woman responsible (in small part, anyway) for the epic Nirvana song “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” In this clip from her 2010 performance at Joe’s Pub in NYC, Hanna tells the story of hanging out with Kurt, getting really wasted, and coming up with the now-classic line, which she happened to drunkenly spray paint on the walls of Kurt’s rented apartment. The 10-minute performance covers the beginnings of Nirvana, Bikini Kill, and just how hard Kathleen had to work to keep her band together. It’s worth it, if for no other reason than to see Hanna belt out “Teen Spirit” in her trademark girlish lilt. [Dangerous Minds]
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]
“Beyoncé isn’t Beyoncé because she reads comments on the Internet. Beyoncé is in Ibiza, wearing a stomach necklace, walking hand in hand with her hot boyfriend. She’s going on the yacht and having a mimosa. She’s not reading shitty comments about herself on the Internet, and we shouldn’t either. I just think, Would Beyoncé be reading this? No, she would just delete it or somebody would delete it for her. What I really need to do is close the computer and then talk back to that voice and say, Fuck you. I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m Beyoncé. I’m going to Ibiza with Jay-Z now, fuck off. Being criticized is part of the job, but seeking it out isn’t. That’s our piece to let go.”
God, I fucking love Kathleen Hanna. Can I just go on and on and on about how I love Kathleen Hanna? Here she is in conversation with Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart: A Memoir and a former dominatrix, whom I interviewed two years ago. This part is amazing and something anyone who works in a creative field should have tattooed on their brain (and ego): “Being criticized is part of the job, but seeking it out isn’t.” Let’s all get in touch with our inner Sasha Fierce! [Gala Darling via Bomblog] [Photos: Getty]
“I mean, is it really that different when it’s a skinny white woman in a bathing suit singing [about gay rights]? None of these women ever wear pants, first of all. Second of all, just because you’re wearing a goofy hat doesn’t make it performance art. I mean, that’s just my feeling about it. A lot of the music just sounds like bad Euro disco, though that first Ke$ha song ‘TiK ToK’ was good. But (Katy Perry‘s) ‘I Kissed a Girl‘ was just straight-up offensive. The whole thing is like, I kissed a girl so my boyfriend could masturbate about it later. It’s disgusting. It’s exactly every male fantasy of fake lesbian porn. It’s pathetic. And she’s not a good singer. I don’t want to trash other women. I mean, I think Jason Mraz is horrible. It’s not just like I hate other women performers. Jason Mraz, and the new James Blunt song is the worst thing that has ever been created on the face of the Earth.”
— This CNN interview with Kathleen Hanna about the new Le Tigre documentary, “Who Put The Bomp,” is amazeballs. I may not agree with every single thing she says (Lady Gaga does not sound like bad Euro disco!), but she’s always thought-provoking. And I love, love, love that she has the ovaries to speak her mind. [CNN] Keep reading »
“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 »
Is it OK if I live vicariously through Tavi for a while? The 14-year-old style blogger brunched with Kathleen Hanna of Le Tigre and Bikini Kill while in New York for Fashion Week and not only did Kathleen hush up Tavi’s inside-baseball fashion jibber jabber with “Who cares? People are dying!” but she gifted the style rookie with some old Riot Grrrl ‘zines and a kickass sweater. How psyched am I that Tavi wore a sweater with the “f word” to high school and lived to tell about it? [The Style Rookie] Keep reading »
Pitchfork says the kick-ass electro-punk group, Le Tigre, is working on music with Christina Aguilera of all people. Presumably they’re doing music for X-tina’s new album, since JD Samson recently told NickyDigital.com that Le Tigre won’t be touring again “anytime in the near future.” (Kathleen Hanna has been teaching at NYU, Johanna Fateman recently had a baby, and JD Samson has been DJing with a group called MEN.) Oh, poo. Well, at least we’ll hear Christina get their beats dirrty. But still…what’s next? Ani Di Franco and Miley? Cowboy Junkies and Taylor Swift? Ooh wait, that would be kind of awesome. [Pitchfork] Keep reading »