I’m not sure I buy the whole I’m criticizing the rhetoric not the women thing. Why rationalize it? Aren’t we allowed to make jokes about each other’s shadows? We can learn from sarcasm? Mirrors inside of mirrors?
1.Do you believe modern “feminists” promote women higher than men?
I hesitate to generalize about modern feminism. None of the feminists I know believe that men are inferior to women or that women should somehow be favored by law or custom. The fight is for equality, not superiority. However, there probably are radical feminists, as there always have been, who believe that after male domination throughout history, women should get a chance to run things. GIving back what you’ve gotten is hostility, not feminism or becoming what we fear most? I’ve always called myself an equalist.
2.Do you believe Beyoncé is really a true feminist?
According to the strict definitions of old school riot grrrl Beyonce would not be considered a feminist because we thought anybody who works within the corporate entertainment system, especially marketing their sexuality, is feeding the inequality beast. But personally I don’t hold to strict definitions of feminism. Anyone who stands up for her own rights and the rights of other women is a feminist to me.
3.What do think about the sexual topic surrounding women?
As we embrace our freedom and express our sexuality we can overcompensate, and men and women can easily become confused about what a woman’s natural sexuality might be. The use of women’s bodies to sell things also has a strong influence on the expectations of both genders.
4. Don’t you think by saying I can be over sexual cause men do it,isn’t that giving power to men instead of saying we should both not showcase hypersexuality in any form especially those who claim to be role models?
Ah, back to Beyonce, huh? I always wanted to do a zine about how the supposed sexual revolution of the hippie generation still left women in the kitchens and men driving the bus. It gave men a green light for screwing everything in sight. The alleged freedom that the pill gave women became an excuse to convince women that free love was their value and their liberation. I think there’s a balance that needs to be found. Sexuality inspires so much envy, violence, competition, and hatred, all of which should have nothing to do with it. I think it’s good for women to explore their sexuality, but when we imitate men and try to tally our conquests, compete with each other and men, and build our self esteem through sexual activity, we’re missing the point.
5. What is the concept of Riot Grrrl in your words and what is its mission?
The concept of riot grrrl to me is girls finding creative ways to tell the truth about their lives, however disturbing that truth may be. The mission is to help girls realize that we’re not alone, that the discrimination and violence we suffer is not our fault, and that we have the right to express ourselves, and fight for our rights. That self expression is key to changing our institutions so that they are truly equalist.
6. Dont you think it’s possible to have male feminists?
I know some very dedicated male feminists, men who in their work and personal lives do everything possible to help women achieve their goals, and who value equality over male privilege. Many men suffer in patriarchal culture because of their own feminine qualities.
7. Are these so called “feminists” in the modern world today missing the true concept of feminism?
I don’t like generalizing about feminists because there are so many different ways to be a feminist but I do think that feminists who embrace extreme ideas, such as all men are evil, or women should run the world without men, are missing the point. Gender to me is like electricity. It only works when the polarities are balanced.
8. Anything happening with the Riot Grrrl movement lately?
The first wave of bands is popping up in documentaries and museum shows. I have work in Alien She, the first comprehensive riot grrrl exhibit, born at Carnegie Mellon and touring America for the next three years. I was also just filmed for a doc about riot grrrl by the French/German Arte channel. New chapters are always popping up, a bunch of them are active right now in Europe and South America. There’s a new generation of riot grrrl bands like Grim Dylan, Big Joanie, Hearts Under Fire, Maid of Ace, Black Nazarene and Drunken Butterfly in the UK, The Potential Lunatics and Girl Fry in L.A., PetalWar in Brooklyn, the Anarchicks in Lisbon, Trash No Star in Rio, Pussy RIot, and artists like Anna Grrrl. Some of these bands may not be explicitly riot grrrl but they have the same mission. Some original riot girls are back with new bands like Kathleen Hanna’s The Julie Ruin and Alison Wolfe’s Sex Stains. Of course, some first wave riot grrrl bands are still going strong like Mecca Normal, and my own band Lucid Nation.
9.What is your take on the “anti-feminists ” movement on social media?
Anti-feminist men have always been among us. I have some questions about anti-feminist women. I’d like to know how many of the women who participate in it have known rape or abuse. I’d like to know how many are Christian or otherwise involved with a patriarchal belief system. I’d like to know how many are collaborating with men when they do this. But I also defend their right to do it. That they can is the direct result of the hard work of feminists of earlier generations. But I do think anti-feminist women represent the victory of a long campaign by anti-feminists to demonize the word feminism. As someone who was nearly murdered when I was abducted and assaulted in tenth grade the idea that somehow feminism makes me a victim is ludicrous. RIot grrrl gave me back my voice, and gave me the will to learn how to effectively defend myself. For me feminism is the opposite of victim culture. However words like feminism are activated by experience, not flame wars or memes. When you find your paycheck is less and your opportunities fewer you realize what feminism means. When you’ve experienced rape culture the term doesn’t seem so outrageous anymore.
10. What can one do to involve itself in the Riot Grrrl movement?
Make a drawing and share it. Write a blog. Start a band, or just make truthful songs in your room. Put on an art show where anybody can hang art and there will be no competition or criticism. Put on a show with bands with female musicians. You don’t have to be technically impressive to be a riot grrrl, you just have to be honest. Trade your work with other girls you find online. Join riot grrrl groups on FB to make friends with like minded people all over the world. Support riot grrrl culture wherever you can.
11. Do you think the Riot Grrll movement watered down, and if so why?
Two things happened that really messed it up for everybody. First the all ages scene in America closed down. Clubs like Jabberjaw in L.A., Small Intestine in Baltimore and many others were where we all got started. That’s where the zine parties were held and local RG bands could open for touring RG bands. Without that scene we had nowhere to go. Then the money dried up as the economy slowly faded and digital music replaced CDs. Gas became too expensive for touring at the same time that people stopped buying your music since they could get online for free. It’s hard to go out there and bust your butt for years facing hostile anti-feminists and hearing the horror stories of your fans when you get home and don’t have enough money left for rent or to feed your cat.
More dates for Alien She the first comprehensive riot grrrl museum exhibit, which includes music, posters and zines from Lucid Nation and GRRRL the short doc we helped produce.
Sept. 21, 2013 – Feb. 16, 2014
Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
March 7 – April 27, 2014
Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 24, 2014 – Jan. 25, 2015
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Feb. 15 - May 17, 2015
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
Sept. 3 – Nov. 27, 2015
Pacific Northwest College of Art: Feldman Gallery & Project Space, Portland, OR
“…the only hope for rock’n’roll, aside from everybody playing nothing but shrieking atonal noise through arbitor distorters, is women. Balls are what ruined both rock and politics in the first place, and I demand the world be turned over to the female sex immediately.” Lester Bangs 1981
“When the eternal slavery of women is destroyed, when she lives for herself and through herself, when man, up till now abominable, will have set her free, she will be a poet as well! Woman will discover the unknown! Will her world of ideas differ from ours? She will discover strange things, unfathomable, repulsive, delightful; we will accept and understand them.” Rimbaud 1871
Happy 4th of July!
Female Heroines of Tibetan Buddhism