Special Edition: Feminist Punk Primer

Riot fest
Waiting for Patti Smith to take the stage. Riot Fest Chicago 2019

Last month, Far Out magazine published an article about feminist punk music, riffing off an article Vivien Goldman wrote for Pitchfork in 2018. The article, Patti Smith, Bikini Kill and more: 33 songs that define feminist punk caught my eye because just days before I had the honor of seeing Patti Smith and Bikini Kill headline at Riot Fest Chicago. This line-up is special as Bikini Kill only reunited earlier this year after more than a 20 year hiatus. When Patti Smith isn’t performing at the Nobel Prize ceremony, she’s tours internationally with band or for book tours, but by no means is it a frequent occurrence to see her perform. Their sets at Riot Fest were absolute pleasure to behold and quite likely will be the top show of the year for me.

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Bikini Kill Records Instagram

When I skimmed through the accompanying playlist, I was dismayed to find that almost two-thirds of the songs listed were unknown to me. How could I, a proud feminist and punk rock fan, be this uninformed?

Because I’m busy, folks. With every day, there is more great music to experience. I would also argue that the music industry does a good job of discounting and silencing voices of women and people of color. But if I’ve learned anything from my punk-rock heroes, it’s that we are all imperfect beings, and we don’t have to apologize for being so. So I’m not sorry for not knowing these songs before now, I’m just gonna work on getting acquainted with them now.

Who are those artists I mentioned?

  • Bikini Kill were the most prominent figureheads of the 1990s riot grrrl movement, inspiring a generation of women to pick up guitars, form bands, publish zines, and get involved in politics. (https://pitchfork.com/news/bikini-kill-announce-reunion-tour/)
  • Patti Smith is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and poet who became an influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses. (wikipedia)
Patti Smith
This is Patti Smith Instagram

Read the original article: The Story of feminist punk in 33 songs by Vivien Goldman

I’ll be spending the next week with this playlist and you are welcome to join me. Give the whole thing a listen and let me know what you think by posting a comment below.

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