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 »