Today’s random musings
If you see me randomly walking down the street you might think I was just some middle aged woman in nondescript clothing with a generic haircut and a canvas tote bag. Inside of my head is probably a song by Void or Dirt or Red Cross or X. Looking back at when I first joined the scene, why was it such a boy’s club… such a sausage fest? All the photos of bands I see from the past are full of sweaty young men as far as the eye can see with maybe one or two females on the edges of the crowd or way in back. Was it the aggressiveness and ugliness of punk rock that young women shied away from? Was it years of conditioning from the fashion and cosmetics industries telling women to look a certain way that made teen females take pause with shaving their heads, donning black eyeliner, wearing black combat boots? Was it cultural conditioning for women to not speak about their discontent? For me, one who never felt at home with any of the favored styles most girls wore, it was an easy switch to lopping off all of my long blonde hair. It was the perfect excuse to kick the exhaustion I felt trying to find my place socially to the curb. I became a pariah which was a pure, liberating freedom that never gave me reason to look back. But why were so many bands all guys? Did girls not have the same feelings of rage and isolation inside that boys did? I know I did. In the early 80s and into the 90s I don’t remember one all girls hardcore or punk band. Yes I know there were not NO girls in punk bands but pickins were slim. Ok Maybe the Ruggedy Annes from Manitoba, Canada (If you see Jagged Thoughts in the record bin, pick it up) L-7, Babes in Toyland. I am probably missing many acts. But none of the shows I saw back in the day had all girl bands. Why? I will always wonder about this. I am thankful for the riot girls and the grunge sound of the 2000s for flipping that on its head. That changed everything for bands and for the crowds at shows. I feel like there are a million more bands composed of chicks these days than in the late 70s and 80s. Thank you to all the ladies out there that I looked at and listened to when I was a young lassie… Bobbi Brat (Swoon! Girl crush!), Siouxsie Sioux, Lorna Doom, Belinda, Jane, Kathy, Margot, Gina, Charlotte, Tracy Lea, Janet Housden, Alice Bag, Poly Styrene, Kira, Exene, Penelope Houston… just to name a few that popped into my hollow head just now.
Thank you for writing this. It is fun to hear these stories. It is great to hear your own. The experience of young women and girls in punk is and always has been fascinating. The contradictions and exposure (personal, sexual, stereo-type busting) has always been more for women. That was a big part of what attracted me to punk girls. The individuality, the gutsiness, the I hate you and I hate me but I’m going to show it to you all, vibe. It is a beauty built of contraction. I like sensitivity and I like boldness. It is a mixture that is very human. It stays important. Again, thank you for writing this post.
Thanks for reading this an for your comment.