You cannot fix what is made to be broken

I saw Bikini Kill play in Missoula, Montana on October 8th, 1994, during their tour with Fitz of Depression. I was 15 years old and in the closet. Growing up in Montana in the 80’s and early 90’s was sometimes downright terrifying. To be queer, feminist, black, female, or engaged in radical politics, meant a life of threats and constant ridicule. Violent rape attacks and queer bashing was a daily event. Bigotry was predominate in every facet of life, including punk shows, which were always ruined by jocks and rednecks showing up and starting fights. This ocassion was no different. But, Bikini Kill brought with them a war that could not be fucked with. It was like someone had finally turned on a light in a room with no windows. They were the first people I had ever seen stand up on stage and tell those fuckers to their faces that they weren’t going to get away with this shit anymore. Totally fearless. Jocks were trying to fight them while they played and they didn’t even care. It was as if they knew that because they were strong enough to stand up to those pricks, so were we. They understood better than anyone that you cannot fix what is made to be broken, you must smash it and rebuild something better. And that one show had an undeniable impact on the social atmosphere of Missoula. Queer youth finally walked with their heads high. At the school I went to (Hellgate Highschool – a very fitting name), I saw more and more that the kids who were always getting fucked with, myself included, had reached this sort of realization that they could rise above and fight back. Women at the University of Montana formed a night watch organization and successfully stopped numerous rape attempts on campus. This amazing band was my inspiration to start playing in punk bands and I’ve been doing it ever since. I can’t even begin to imagine how different my life would be if it weren’t for Bikini Kill and I can’t thank them enough.
-Matt Svendsen.

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