Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox, Tobi Vail and Billy Karren; four names that inspired me endlessly. The punk rock/ riot grrl band made me want to do a lot of things. Bikini Kill made me want to write songs. They made me want to stand up for what I believe in, and not hide my beliefs or my feminism from anyone else, just for the sake of popularity, or at least just fitting nice and neatly into my labelled place in society.
When I first heard Bikini Kill’s song “Rebel Girl,” while further researching bands of the riot grrl genre (I was already listening to bands such as Jack off Jill, Babes in Toyland and Hole) I was enchanted by it. This, for me, was like “Pretty on the Inside” by Hole, or “Vomit Heart” by Babes in Toyland. It was rough, loud, proud, and female. I was instantly addicted. I had to go on to listen to every Bikini Kill song that I could find. I head-banged to “I Like Fucking.” I let feelings of rebellious indifference course through me as “Don’t Need You” blasted through my earphones. I was captivated by “Carnival” and wondrously, almost magically emotionally engaged by “White Boys,” which shone a glaring light on rape culture within our society. The only thing I could compare this feeling to was the first time I listened to Nirvana, another favorite of mine.
Every day, I leave school, a socially-anxious, plain, “Weirdo,” and take my iPod out of my bag. Every day, I listen to Bikini Kill, and in my mind I am transformed, saved from mediocrity and boredom by this band that helped to shape my personality and make me feel alive.
Thank you, Bikini Kill, for changing my life.