Sunday, December 30, 2007

New York City: KATHLEEN

Kathleen Hanna (left, in her SoHo neighborhood): activist, teacher, musician, feminist; early Riot Grrrl upstarter, singer/songwriter in Viva Kneivel, Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin, Le Tigre.

On her falling out with Riot Grrrl:

“A lot of the cool people left, including myself…It's a problem on its own to look at anything as your savior, its this kind of Christian capitalist way of looking at things. But when the thing that’s totally saving your life is now choking you to death, the language that saved your life is being used to murder you, it's really incredibly painful…I haven’t moved away from feminism, and I haven’t become softer and "nicer feminist" style or something, I’ve just really gotten bored of myself and want to look towards other people...It’s the arrogance of youth that made anything happen. I am glad I opened my mouth even though I didn’t fully know what I was saying…I had all the knowledge [about feminism] I needed because I lived it, and that’s the part of it that stands the test of time, but there is another part which is arrogant and not feeding into a positive sense of continuum.”


Rebecca said...

This was a really interesting insight...Maybe that's the consequence of throwing yourself so wholeheartedly into a movement? Once it "defines" you and people start defining you by it, it can be stifling. Just a thought.

I've wondered what happened to Kathleen since I first discovered her persona and her music in the late 1990s. She was an inspiration to so many young women at the time, and luckily that spirit and enthusiasm has been captured through the art she created. Even now that she has moved away from Riot Grrrl, the essence of that excitement is accessible for those who need it even now.

Thanks, Kathleen, for being a part of something so completely important. (And thank you for taking care of yourself by leaving when you needed to--that in itself is feminist.)

xo Rebecca

GIRLdrive said...

YES...I think Emma and I have both discovered that many young women feel it's "stifling" to be defined by a movement. But is that a small price to pay in order to make a change? That's what I got out of Kathleen's statements...but yes, I do think that eventually doing your own thing takes self-awareness--a synonym, in my opinion, for feminism.