The Riot Grrrl of the 1990’s is still considered to be one of the most prominent movements in music. No group pioneered this underground feminist music scene like Bikini Kill, who inspired bands with raucous and rebellious tendencies. These bands would go on to be remembered as outspoken and openly sexual, changing society for the women of today.
Upon announcing their reunion, Bikini Kill reinspired a whole generation of rebel girls. They were a band who addressed sensitive themes such as rape, sexual exploitation and abuse, which helped to shape how women were perceived within society.
The establishment of Bikini Kill was completely revolutionary for women in all genres of music. They were a group of women who fearlessly addressed the dangers of society to women; the constant gender-based challenges which lead to them speaking out against the dominating, patriarchal forces that held them back for so long. Although they are only reuniting for three shows across New York and Los Angeles, that doesn’t make the reformation any less revolutionary now as it was back then.
In 1991, Bikini Kill self-released their demo album Revolution Girl Style Now! This timelessly radical title immediately conveyed the message they wanted to send out to the world. Asserting that the revolution would be female-fronted drew criticism for its almost ‘threatening’ approach. But the public loved how they were not afraid to revolutionise this new genre of feminist punk and, if anything, the backlash they received only drove them to further push the boundaries. However, times have changed and the meaning of feminism has evolved with it, so it will be interesting to see how Bikini Kill adapt to the modern day.
It’s no secret that female musicians are continuously sexualised by the media for their appearance and personal life, and being constantly criticised for self-expressing yourself through your art is unspeakably difficult. I personally feel the genre of punk has been labelled as ‘rebellious’, and to some extent this is correct. But really, any genre can be radicalised, and that is exactly the message Bikini Kill give out. Being yourself and taking a stand is encouraged by whatever genre of music you adhere to and, in our modern age with feminism meaning equality for everyone, whatever gender you identify with.
By Erin Allwood