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.
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 is an American musician, feminist activist, and punk zine writer. In the early- to mid-1990s she was the lead singer of Bikini Kill, before fronting Le Tigre in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 1998, Hanna released a solo album under the name Julie Ruin and since 2010 has been working on a project called the Julie Ruin.
Hanna first became interested in feminism around the age of nine, after her mother took her to a rally in Washington D.C. where feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke.
"My mom was a housewife, and wasn’t somebody that people would think of as a feminist, and when Ms. magazine came out we were incredibly inspired by it. I used to cut pictures out of it and make posters that said ‘Girls can do anything,’ and stuff like that, and my mom was inspired to work at a basement of a church doing anti-domestic violence work. Then she took me to the Solidarity Day thing, and it was the first time I had ever been in a big crowd of women yelling, and it really made me want to do it forever."
If you love Adam Horovitz (Adrock of the Beastie Boys) but hate his wife Kathleen Hanna this is not the place for you. If you adore original Riot Grrrl and feminist artist Kathleen Hanna but can't get over the fact she married a Beastie Boy this is not the place for you. If you respect them as artists and individuals and for the choice they made to be together then welcome! On May 4th 2012 this blog changed. Now it is just as much devoted to Adam Yauch's memory as it is to Adam and Kathleen. This blog will also celebrate the music, art, commitment to social justice and positive change the Beastie Boys have given us over their 30 year career. Beastie Boys live on just press play.