In 2014, I was fortunate to have discovered Bikini Kill. The four piece punk rock band led the Riot Grrrl movement in the early nineties and encouraged woman across the country to fight for gender equality. As a result, a variety of girl bands were formed, feminist art began to thrive, and various rallies were held to discuss crimes against women.
For a while, I didn’t understand feminism. Honestly, I thought it was a group of women who wanted female dominance over men, but I have since learned it is far from that.
Someone recommended that I watch The Punk Singer, a documentary on Bikini Kill’s front woman, Kathleen Hanna, on Netflix, so I did. In the film, Hanna talks about the ideas of feminism and how she as a woman knew that other women had experiences where they felt tied down because of their gender. I instantly related to this.
I felt this connection on a more personal level because she talked a lot about music scenes. At a certain point, she pointed out how men have a tendency to act like they own the scene and how women are seen as followers whose only intention is to get with the band because surely women can’t be that into music. The whole idea that fan girls are “fake” fans is just an example where girls are looked down upon for their interests and it’s still prevalent today. As a firm believer that music can change lives, I do not think in any way that music is gender specific, so I decided to take a listen to some bands who held the same ideology (one being of course Bikini Kill).
After getting a better understanding of feminism, I was given a copy of Bikini Kill’s singles. From there I found the lyric, “that girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood/I got news for you, she is!” from the song, “Rebel Girl”. That lyric alone made me feel empowered as a woman. It made me feel confident in myself because there is nothing wrong with being a girl. It made me feel like I could conquer the world and chase my dreams. It taught me that I can like what I like and not worry about what others think. Gender does not define our worth.