A pep talk from some imaginary awesome older sister

I grew up in a small town in Nebraska, and the thrill of my life was when my mom would drive my sister and I to downtown Omaha on a Saturday. The biggest treat about that field trip was the record store, Drastic Plastic, where they sold our zines. That’s where I bought the Kill Rock Stars compilation LP when it came out. When I got it home and played in on my cheapo turntable, the bottom fell out of my stomach at the first chords of “Feels Blind.” I can still remember getting goosebumps when I heard that song. I would lie on my floor playing it over and over. I had a vivid dream where I was at a punk show being held in a church hall and I got on stage and sang “Feels Blind” with that same amazing force. Later I got my hands on a copy of the Bikini Kill/Huggy Bear split LP. To this day that’s one of my favorite records. When I was finally old enough to drive I recorded some of the songs onto a tape so I could blast “Suck My Left One” in my car.

Being a young woman in the early 90s might seem great in retrospect, because of all the good music we had then. But we NEEDED Bikini Kill and Bratmobile and riot grrrl zines and all the rest just to stay sane. To remember that we were right to demand respect for our bodies and our ideas, even if it seemed like so much of the world disagreed. I remember the way it felt to hear authority figures defending Clarence Thomas and feeling how that reinforced the sexual harassment that was totally normal at school. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Omaha World-Herald about the Anita Hill coverage, giving my opinion. And do you know that although they didn’t print it, some guy at the paper took the trouble to write me an angry letter back and tell me how wrong I was?? I was 14.

Anyway, thank you to everyone in Bikini Kill. Listening to “Jigsaw Youth” felt like getting a pep talk from some imaginary awesome older sister. You were giving me some of my nerve, backing me up that anger was an appropriate response to lots of teenage girl life.
-Jaime Danehey

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