“I have late-stage Lyme disease and I have neurological Lyme disease, which affects my brain. While recording this record, I was undergoing this really intensive treatment and when you’re under treatment for Lyme, a lot of the worst parts of your symptoms come out. So when I was talking, I would say the wrong word for the wrong thing. I would say, like, “cotton ball” when I meant “close the curtains.” Totally fucking random stuff. When I was on the record, I would just sing random stuff. And then I realized how beautiful some of those slip-ups were, how interesting some of the wrong choices I made became. Like we wrote a song called “Girls Like Us” and I just singing all the wrong words—I was repeating lines in a random order and stuff wasn’t making sense. And then I wrote the chorus and realized it was about how there is no “girls like us.” There is no unifying force. There’s all these abstract random things and there’s all these concrete things about privilege. We’re all different. We can’t have this thing that’s like, “Every girl’s a riot grrrl”—do you know what I mean? We can’t have one kind of feminism. It became kind of a joke on that idea. I get asked about riot grrrl a lot as if it’s a universal thing that everyone agreed on and everyone called themselves a riot grrrl. And you know that’s bullshit. But it’s interesting that this nineties nostalgia stuff can flatten everything out to ignore critique and ignore variation. I wrote that song really in the height of my treatment and then realized all these weird words I’m putting together, I’m going to put “girls like us” before ‘em, and to admit that there’s no unifying force. But it could easily be read, if you’re just in the audience, as this kind of clique-y song and I really like that about it, that you misread it and then you have to go deeper.”—Kathleen Hanna interviewed by Bitch for Popaganda Episode: Riot Grrrl Revisited
“I think as women who consider ourselves feminists, there’s a legacy of responsibility, of feeling like there’s not enough of us and so we have to do things right. Just being women in male-dominated fields, we feel like ambassadors and we have to do a really good job. We have to not only make this great work, but we also have to instruct and educate. I’m trying to get away from that. In a way, I feel like it becomes more even more sexist, where I’m not just a musician making work; I’m everyone’s mom, cleaning up their fucking dirty dishes.”—Kathleen Hanna (via joycenancy)
The band resurfaces with ‘Magic Hour,’ their first album in over 14 years. The band debuted with the smoking “In Search of Manny” EP on the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal label in 1993, Schellenbach was the Beasties’ original drummer in the early ‘80s hardcore days. 1996’s “Fever In Fever Out” album went gold, but they broke up in 2000 when Capitol Records was disappointed with the performance of the followup, “Electric Honey.” Magic Hour, out November 5th, is a hip-shaking delight. Cunniff learned ProTools and acted as producer; she and Glaser worked together in Brooklyn, while drummer Kate Schellenbach recorded her drum parts in Los Angeles. While the band wrote most of the music themselves, “So Rock On” is based on a musical bed by Adam Horovitz.
First off let me say that I never read Sassy magazine all I know is that it’s like the alternative to Seventeen or something similar.
The first thing that caught my attention is CUTE BAND ALERT on it’s own I guess would be okay but then couple it with this “Bikini Kill’s neo-feminist philosophy allows them to wear bikinis and fishnets on stage, while simultaneously proclaiming themselves as the founders of Revolution Girl Style Now” It’s putting all the attention on how they look (also they never claimed to be founders of anything) it mentions they’re feminists but offers nothing of the feminist message in their music and it goes on
"Here’s how they justify it in their zine Bikini Kill ‘Being a sexy and powerful female is one of the most subversive projects of all’
Using words like allow and justify makes it seem like what they wear or the idea of being sexy goes against feminism and gets dangerously close to slut shaming in my opinion.
And of course how can any magazine in the 90’s mention Bikini Kill and not Nirvana
There wasn’t one sentence about what their music sounded like and most important of all nothing about the lyrics or their message other than generic girl power start a band girls rule type stuff. I honestly can’t see how Seventeen could do worse than this and it’s not hard to see how the Riot Grrrl movement was misinterpreted how Bikini Kill were misinterpreted and how Kathleen Hanna was wrongly perceived.
I’m sure a lot of people would connect with that idea that many people who are insecure use false confidence and performing as a shield. How has your relationship to confidence changed as you’ve gotten older? Do you feel more confident now?
I feel like I can walk on stage and be myself and be totally happy with that. Le Tigre is really interesting to me, where we had the artifice of a Las Vegas performance. We had matching costumes and dancing and video behind us and having that as a protective barrier—and having management, which I’d never had before—was this way to be like, “I need my own space.” I need to hide behind this Vegas-y, artificial show, but by having that barrier, I was able to be more vulnerable. And now I don’t even need that. I can just do what I’m going to do and, you know, it’s not all up to me. Audiences create shows just as much as performers do. I can’t always predict whether it’s going to be a good show or a bad show. I think being older made me really come into touch with the fact that I can’t control every situation the way I’d like to. That’s a really freeing feeling, to not be trying to control everything. Now who I am on stage and who I am at home is more similar. I hope that doesn’t come off as boring to people, because I can be pretty boring at home.
Like we wrote a song called “Girls Like Us” and I just singing all the wrong words—I was repeating lines in a random order and stuff wasn’t making sense. And then I wrote the chorus and realized it was about how there is no “girls like us.” There is no unifying force. There’s all these abstract random things and there’s all these concrete things about privilege. We’re all different. We can’t have this thing that’s like, “Every girl’s a riot grrrl”—do you know what I mean? We can’t have one kind of feminism. It became kind of a joke on that idea. I get asked about riot grrrl a lot as if it’s a universal thing that everyone agreed on and everyone called themselves a riot grrrl. And you know that’s bullshit. But it’s interesting that this nineties nostalgia stuff can flatten everything out to ignore critique and ignore variation. I wrote that song really in the height of my treatment and then realized all these weird words I’m putting together, I’m going to put “girls like us” before ‘em, and to admit that there’s no unifying force. But it could easily be read, if you’re just in the audience, as this kind of clique-y song and I really like that about it, that you misread it and then you have to go deeper.
Well, I bet it will come off as honest to people. I think one reason people like you so much as an artist is they feel like what you’re doing is really sincere, really real, and that the person you are on stage is the person you are in real life. So what’s changed? How have you gotten to this point where those two selves are more in sync?
I aged. I also got very, very sick. The learning curve was pretty quick. I had to really change the way I was living, change my stress level, and change how much I was willing to do for people. Once I started being, like, “I have to actually take care of my health or things could go remarkably wrong,” my health became my full-time job. It was hard for me to stay on top of that and not do favors for people. I was still, on email, acting like I was completely well: networking, helping people, making videos for Pussy Riot, and now I look back on that and say, “Oh my God, you can tell I was really sick.” I think my illness brought me to a place where I just had to become as honest in real life as I have sometimes been able to be in a song. I felt like I was more myself, this one core part of who I am was really only there when I was on stage. Now that part of myself that I really like is around a lot more.
“I just wanna be someone who makes mistakes publicly, and changes publicly, and that’s okay. You don’t have to decide who you are one day, and then be that same person the next day. That doesn’t make you a hypocrite. It makes you interesting.”—Kathleen Hanna (via jussjerr)
I wanted to explain why I chose “The Comedian” as one of Kathleen’s Birthday Week tags. To me feminists and activists in general get painted as being very serious and not having a sense of humor. Any fan of Kathleen Hanna knows she proves that stereotype completely false. Not only does she have a great sense of humor but has terrific timing too AND she’s written comedy (A TV pilot for Bridget Everett) what better tag to use? But there’s another reason I chose it. I think it was in an interview she did for Punk Planet that she mentioned the concept of being a three dimensional human being that has stuck with me ever since I read it in 2008. The great comedians have said for comedy to be funny it has to be real it has to come from a real place. Drama you can hide behind but when you do comedy there’s no mask. And that’s the kinda thing Kathleen speaks of in what I’m about to post not having a mask or an artifice and being a three dimensional living breathing human who makes mistakes and contradictions and isn’t just this one label.
Kathleen Hanna has always garnered attention from the media because of her image, attitude, political views and bands. Though Hanna is a common topic, especially in punk and feminist literature, Hillary Frey’s “Kathleen Hanna’s Fire” provides a fresh understanding and interview on the musician’s influences. A section of the article discusses how working as a rape counselor impacted and inspired Hanna’s life. This profession allowed Hanna to gain skills in talking and relating to other women. Topics of rape and incest were themes in various Bikini Kill songs and based off the stories girls would tell Hanna. This makes Hanna’s music much more raw and impacting. The lyrics of these songs are the real life stories of abused women/girls. Having this knowledge allows listeners to feel a sense of empathy and makes it more relatable to others, abused or not. In the article, Frey interviews Hanna and quotes the musician saying “Stories I heard from girls at the show—about incest, rape, domestic violence—were a little too much emotionally,” says Hanna. “But I was able to write songs about them” (Frey 27). Hanna recognizes that the powerful stories took a toll on her but they also allowed her to write and spread the survivors’ messages to the public. One reason Kathleen Hanna is approachable and strong to people is because of her ability to sing about violations that are seen as taboo in society. Hanna gives her voice to those girls who feel “vastly outnumbered by boys and men in the crowd” (Frey, 27). In this article Hanna presents herself as a voice to the silent and allows readers to see her and other people’s vulnerability, whether purposeful or not. Although it can be seen as traitorous that Hanna is divulging private stories, it allows for other abused girls to realized that they are not alone. It also brings more awareness to the public that abuse whether sexual, emotional, physical, or mental is not concentrated to just one type of person. Abuse can happen to anyone and everyone. Hillary Frey produced an emotional piece that provided an insight to Hanna’s interaction with survivors of abuse, how her previous occupation help her comfort them and how these encounters affected her life and music.
Frey, Hillary. “Kathleen Hanna’s Fire.” The Nation. 13 Jan 2003: 27-28. Print.
“I know when I first started, I said things like, ‘It’s really great to be beautiful and powerful and sexy,’ and I take a little bit of that back now. What I was saying was that you don’t have to look a certain way or have a certain hairstyle to be a feminist; that just because a girl wears lipstick that doesn’t mean she’s not a feminist. But now I realize that I wasn’t really challenging the standard of beauty. A friend said to me, ‘Why is it so subversive to be beautiful in the traditional sense? I think it’s much more subversive to create your own form of beauty and to set your own standards.’ She’s right.”—Kathleen Hanna interviewed by Punk Planet (via en-gallop)
In terms of men being feminist allies, it’s just important to speak from your own place. I’d love to hear men singing about masculinity and the damage it does to them. I think men having conversations with each other and through songs about the way traditional gender roles cut them off from having the full range of emotions, that it puts them in a place where they’re supposed to be the breadwinner when maybe that’s not what they want or can do, and that it teaches them that the only way to bond with each other is through sexism or racism or homophobia.
Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I feel so happy when people try. I’ve talked about ‘Suggestion’ by Fugazi in terms of this issue a lot, and how I had mixed feelings about that song shortly after I first heard it. One day I would be pissed like, “Why is he singing in the first person, like he’s a woman himself?”. And then another day I would be in love with it. In the end, it was the first time I heard men in the punk scene say, “I give a shit about sexism.” And it meant a lot to me and made me feel very supported. It made me feel like I was wanted in their audience.
When men sing about sexism I’m typically pretty thrilled, but I think it’s important for them to not take over the conversation. My band Le Tigre had a song called ‘Bang Bang’ that was about a racist incident in NYC where a man named Amadou Diallo was murdered by cops. He was shot 41 times and all he had was a wallet in his hand. We were really upset about it, and so we wrote about it, and I’m glad we did. I wrote the lyrics from the position of an angry New York bystander, which is what I was.
But I also totally get that some people didn’t like that song because maybe it seemed racist for me to sing about something I would never experience first hand. Or like I was trying to set myself off as “Hey look everybody I’m not racist!” Of course I thought long and hard about how different lyrics played out in that song, and how people of color might feel listening to it . But also? I don’t know how people of color might feel, since everyone is different — it’s not just this unified experience where everyone is the same. That’s just another stereotype. In the end someone might say, “Oh, I was so psyched that you did that,” and someone else might say, “Oh, that was completely fucked up.” But if the conversation never gets started, nothing’s going to change.
It’s definitely on me to get the education behind the scenes to have some sort of framework to discuss racism though. I don’t need to be asking people of colour to explain the history of racism to me. That doesn’t constitute “trying” in my book. And while everyone’s experience of oppression is different and complicated and often overlapping, I really believe that if you have privilege, you need to learn as much as you can about the world beyond yourself.
The thing that really bugs me isn’t men writing songs about sexism — it’s when they come up to me after shows or lectures and say, “What is feminism?” And I’m like “Why don’t you go on fuckin’ Google and type ‘feminism’ into the search engine?” Or when dudes send me email interviews for their college newspapers with 500 questions like “What are the different waves of feminism called and why?” and I’m supposed to give them an online Feminism 101 class. GO TAKE A CLASS AT YOUR OWN FUCKING COLLEGE. It’s not my job. Read books! That’s why they’re there! I especially don’t want men coming up to me and asking IF SEXISM STILL EXISTS. It’s like, I’m seriously gonna barf a McDonald’s salad on the next person to do that.
”—Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre) ‘Why I’m Glad Default Genders Wrote a Song About Sexism and Rape Culture’, nme.com (via sha-shabbaranks)
Definition of Feminism by Gloria Steinem and Kathleen Hanna
GLORIA:Well, I think the dictionary is not bad, you know: the belief in the full social, economic, and political equality of women and men. I would just add "and doing something about it." And when you look at the effects of that simple statement, it's quite a transformation.
KATHLEEN:I agree with what she said, and I would add that I also see It as a broad-based political movement that's bent on challenging hierarchies of all kinds in our society, including racism and classism and able-body-ism, etc etc.
GLORIA:Yeah, I agree. That's the transformation - because once you take away the basic first step in a hierarchy, which is the passive/dominant of female/male, it challenges everything.
"I was just writing all this crazy shit and I thought I was totally insane," Kathleen said. "And I got Blood and Guts in High School from one of my photo teachers, and I totally felt like Oh I’m not crazy! It was such a confidence builder for me. I wasn’t even sure what kind of artist I was going to be, like if I was a writer or a photographer or what. But it made me feel like these other women had done this amazing shit and I could too.”
….Kathleen had begun declaiming some of her writings at the spoken-word nights her friend Slim Moon organized at the Capitol Theater in Olympia. After discovering Acker she stapled some of these pieces into a xeroxed zine, Fuck Me Blind, which she published under the pseudonym Maggie Fingers. In late May, when Acker came to Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art for two days to teach a workshop and give public readings, Kathleen enrolled in the workshop, and she brought Fuck Me Blind to show the writer. At first it looked like Kathleen might realize her dream of being taken under Acker’s wing and nurtured as a protegee: The writer had to choose one student from the workshop to be her opening act at the reading the following evening, and she chose Kathleen.
Kathleen Hanna’s beginnings as a writer as told by Girls to the Front
be a dork, tell your friends you love them. resist the temptation to view those around you as objects & use them. recognize empathy and vulnerability as positive forms of strength. resist the internalization of capitalism, the reducing of people & oneself to commodities, meant to be consumed.