I met Kathleen Hanna (front woman of Bikini Kill and one of the pioneers of the early 90s feminist punk movement, Riot Grrrl,) last month after she gave a lecture at NYU and I made a complete idiot of myself in front of her. She’s been a huge personal hero of mine for the past 10 years, so naturally I geeked out pretty hard when I finally got the chance to meet her. I lost all control of my words and stood in front of her mumbling like an idiot, gushing about how much she had influenced me over the years. She laughed, so at least I provided some sort of entertainment. Bikini Kill was the earliest exposure I ever had to punk music catered to girls. As a young pre-teen girl, I had only been listening to punk music with male singers, and when I went to my first punk show, the crowd was mostly males. It didn’t bother me at all, but I wanted to find a band that I could relate to more. Enter the Bikini Kill album, “Pussy Whipped.” This was the first time I was listening to aggressive punk music made by girls. It completely transformed my world; girls who I could relate to were making punk music, and they weren’t trying to be men. This was music by girls for girls, and as a 13 year old middle schooler who wanted to be involved in the punk scene, learning about this record was truly groundbreaking. Granted, this was over 10 years after Bikini Kill formed, but it was special to me in a different way than it was to those directly involved in Riot Grrrl.
“Rebel Girl” is the perfect introduction to Riot Grrl, to Bikini Kill, and to Kathleen Hanna’s extensive musical career. It’s the daily punk jam because you’ll feel like a badass walking down the street to this song, regardless of your gender.
What do you think of Bikini Kill? Let us know in the comments!
photo credit: rockcreek