Indie Rock and Feminism

A Million Movies a Minute sent us a notice of its latest release, RADICAL ACT. We turned it over to an Indie Rock expert, Peter Jacobson, who sent us this:

Radical Act, a documentary about women in rock, is a reminder of some of the trailblazing musicians who broke ground in the 1990s for women in music and blew open doors for indie rock as we know it now. Filmed in 1995 by Portland filmmaker Tex Clark, Radical Act explores how gender and sexuality informed women in independent rock through interviews with Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill), Toshi Reagon, Gretchen Phillips, Melissa York (Team Dresch/The Butchies), Kim Coletta (Jawbox) and how they saw their experience in a broader context of finding voice and being heard. Erin Donovan, founder of Radical Act’s distribution company notes here that, “It’s incredible how much things have changed in 15 years. The film serves as a reminder of how much women’s access in independent music [sic] as well as pay tribute to the women who knocked down those barriers.”
Flickr stills:


On a related note, Sara Marcus’ book on Riot Grrl *** is just out and garnering raves from music corners. It is a documentation of what must count as Generation X’s most exciting contribution to feminism.

***Riot Grrl is a label for a genre, a movement and an era.

Bikini Kill: early home video:

5 thoughts on “Indie Rock and Feminism

  1. I love all the women and their band’s mentioned (special shout out to Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill). I would also mention Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth who was a big presence for those early women-in-punk pioneers.

  2. Don’t forget Kathleen Hanna’s current band Le Tigre, which is also radically feminist:

    Ten short years of progressive change
    Fifty fuckin’ years of calling us names
    Can we trade Title IX for an end to hate crime?
    RU-486 if we suck your fucking dick?
    One step forward, five steps back
    One cool record in the year of rock-rap
    Yeah, we got all the power, getting stabbed in the shower
    And we got equal rights on Ladies’ Night

  3. Monkey, thanks. It turns out that Peter J was active in the Portland music scene at the time they were hitting their stride.

    SeanH: I love that last line.

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