“Rebel Girl Rebel Girl, you are the queen of my world” — Bikini Kill
As Women’s History Month comes to an end, I believe it is important for each of us to pay homage to a woman who has had a unique place in our development as woman-identified-women. These women are generally the unseen or under-recognized heroines in our personal lives, most likely a woman who has made us into the type of woman currently reading this blog.
I am writing today to pay homage to mine, Kathleen Hanna–in particular her role as the lead singer and songwriter of Bikini Kill. Bikini Kill changed the trajectory of my life with its jarring lyrics, DIY-attitude, and uniquely female voice that openly screamed of the injustices that often accompany being a woman. I was sixteen, angry and scarred by patriarchal violence. I believed no one felt as I did, but their lyrics screamed to me that I was not alone.
Bikini Kill was formed in Olympia, Washington in 1990 and consisted of Kathleen Hanna, Billy Karren, Kathi Wilcox, and Tobi Vail. The band is considered to be a staple and trailblazer of the riot grrrl movement—part of the third wave of feminism that emphasized the importance of young women sharing their experiences through writing and distributing punk zines, poetry, art, and music. The movement was and continues to be a controversial facet of feminism for its crude, abrasive, and often “man-hating” appearance. Despite your personal feelings of riot grrrl and Bikini Kill, they have sparked feminist leanings in countless women.
After Bikini Kill disbanded in 1998, Hanna went on to front the electro-punk band Le Tigre in the late 1990s and early 2000’s. Currently Hanna is working with the band Julie Ruin. She inspires women to action through her art and gives them a voice to which they may relate. Read more about her as the original riot grrl.
About Erin Kane:
I grew up in Wellesley, MA. In 2007, I moved to Colorado to attend CU-Boulder from which I graduated with a degree in Women and Gender Studies/Philosophy in 2011. Currently I am receiving notifications from law schools *fingers crossed* while living and working in Boulder, CO. I consider myself to be a post-structuralist, post-colonial feminist theorist who will make advances in the field of feminist jurisprudence. Erin is an intern in the Colorado office.