I bought my first Bikini Kill Cd’s in 2003 when I was a 17 year old high school student. Prior to this I was listening to the pop-punk/ alternative music of the day. It seemed there were fun bands like Blink 182, or politically conscious bands like Anti-Flag… but as a gay youth I thought, “Where is the punk band with a gay message?” I listened to “CD version” and “The Singles”… They blew my mind! Finally, music with a message I could relate to and that reflected how I felt. Finding Bikini Kill meant validation in a fucked up environment. You guys helped me get through high school and sort of lead me to other great music. Thank you.
Right now, I am taking a break from writing a paper on youth at-risk for my counseling masters program. I think that all young females are “at-risk,” we are vaginally marginalized by society at birth, and when we hit adolescents we cease to be taken seriously as humans and many men only see us in terms of dick recepticles who should devote our lives to their ego and comfort. I think we as women buy into that – or are trained into falling for that. (Read Peggy Orensteins book School Girls, 1994. Gives good insight) I want it to be different for my daughter. I want her to be as feminine as she wants, to find value and power in that and to define what being a women means on her terms. I want that for all women. Bikini Kill has been a voice and a force for all women.
I remember at 18 when my best friend introduced me to Bikini Kill (he is one of those rare spectacularly attractive heterosexual men who truly likes women and appreciates them), he gave me the Bikini Kill- the first two albums cd and told me he knew I would love it. He was right. It was a revolution/revelation in a clear jewel case. I read the essay on the inside cover, over and over. It was a riot indeed. I think for the first time I felt how all of women were connected, and the way we seperated and bashed on each other was the problem. Housewife, stripper, school girl, feminist, whatever…we were all the same, living our lives out under the same rules we had no say in. ”Don’t you talk out of line. Don’t go speaking out of your turn. Gotta listen to what the Man says…” no more! It felt so good to be double dared, to scream it out loud – we don’t need you! To have a choice, to have a voice, to belong to a sisterhood. It still feels good. The freedom to embrace all your girl awesomeness however you define that and be unapologetic about it feels so damn good. Last year some of my female students and I were talking about bands we like, and I told them how Bikini Kill changed my whole perspective when I was their age. Some of those girls went out and bought Bikini Kill cd’s and then told me how it blew their minds. Yeah, it does that! I still get in my car, put in a Bikini Kill cd – sing right out loud, and feel all that raw awesomeness of being a female that I felt at 18.
Thank you for the voice, and the music to this soundtrack of change, strength, and power.
I love an oldold piece by Kathleen Hanna about Dork vs. Cool. Having been a natural born dork and an occasional cool wannabe, it really helped me embrace and love my dorkiness when my beautiful daughter introduced me to Kathleen’s words when she was in college. I have fantasized about starting a D.O.R.K.S. initiative for years: Do One Real Kindness Secretly as often as possible, at least once a day. This would be a great workplace morale builder. Maybe we could change our culture. I don’t knowwhat’s been stopping me. Maybe its time to get this party started. See I told you I was a Dork!!!
When I was in elementary school one of my first CD’s was Spice Girls. I used to play with the Spice Girl Barbies.
When I was in High School I had a couple of friends that introduced me to riot grrl, mainly Le Tigre. We’d drive in my friend’s new car and she say “it’s girl power time!”
I didn’t start listening to Bikini Kill seriously until last year, which is crazy to me because I resonate so much with it now. so many songs, including Kathleen Hanna’s spoken word, have given me chills. I bought All American Reject from a local record store in my hometown for less than 5 bucks. It was used. I’d listen to it regularly and it get me pumped and I’d workout and dance around in my room/living room.
On October 30th, 2010 I met the members of Broken Water and Morgan and the Organ Donors. I saw they play live at a house show. I bonded with James M., Sara Pete and Kanako. I mostly stayed in touch with Sara and visited OLY in January 2011.
I helped book a show for Hysterics this summer in San Luis Obispo, where I met those two OLY bands. I still live in SLO county but was traveling when they came to town and I was bummed that I missed it.
I’m mostly a writer, but I jammed with James a couple nights when I was in OLY. Mostly just screaming stuff. He wanted me to meet Tobi and Billy but Tobi was out of town and Billy, well didn’t answer when James decided to throw rocks at his window one night.
Kathleen Hanna’s zine, April Fool’s Day, has helped me stick to being sober. It’s going to be a year next month since I first quit drinking and it’s been a few weeks now since I quit smoking.
Bikini Kill has helped me realize how important it is to express your anger, that it is essential to freeing your creativity. I have a context now. Riot grrl is something that I truly believe in deep down. It helps me get through my daily struggles as a conditioned female.
Also by being activists about sexual abuse and speaking out about it it’s helped me heal tremendously. Reading stories about Kathleen Hanna talking about being date raped all the time, helped me realize “I’ve been date raped too.” That reality has been paramount in my healing process. To have a band, a group of activists, care so much about the world and other people to make such a big difference through their music is totally inspiring to me. I’m just really grateful for all the hard work you have all done.
I hope that I could do something to help contribute to the road you all have already paved.
I have been to a lot of shows. Many. Being olden, I don’t want to even admit my first. My first shows that have had an impact on me were the Cramps, GBH, Wasted youth, Ramones, Buzzcocks, Circle Jerks and so on.
These shows are still a part of me. I ended up in China Town/ Los Angeles, and was lucky enough to see Bikini Kill play at Madam Wongs Cafe. The music was so fucking good. I knew Bikini Kill was one of my favorite bands, but hearing you live just added to the cool factor. That was one of the best shows I have ever gone to. The creep factor was way high for me, being a guy , and old, but I didn’t care. It was like that. I just wanted the thrill.
So I was 13 going on 14 years old (now 28). I grew up with two older sisters who influenced/introduced to Punk Rock music. I got my hands on my first Bikini Kill album “Reject All American”. I will never forget the way I felt when I listened to this album.
I never discovered Riot grrrl music before.
It changed my life from then on. Well, how cliche ;) but I say “it changed my life” because it opened a HUGE door to my life. Something that had true meaning- for once in my life I could realte to. Finally, I felt “understood”. I can’t think of ANY other band that has done that for me; put such a strong impact on my life. So this time… I was introducing MY older sisters to Riot grrl music. I got to pass that gift along.
I can’t thank Bikini Kill enough for making me feel Special, for getting me through High school in such a male dominated Punk Rock scene. I felt relieved that I could be strong and listen to myself- My own voice-. That’s truly The most special gift to me.
Most importantly, The biggest thank you forever : Introducing/inspiring me to Feminism for the rest of my life. I Thank ALL of you tremendously.