Graphic by Brandt Imhoff
Kathleen Hanna: feminist icon, musical innovator, and hero to many. I can perfectly remember the first time I heard “Rebel Girl” and stumbled upon the Riot Grrrl Manifesto clearer than I can remember the traditionally important life events. Young, frustrated, and sheltered, following around Hanna’s music triggered my mind to work in a new way, the way I know it has for many other young women around the world. For those unfamiliar or just looking to revel, here is, in no real specific order, a little tribute to Kathleen Hanna’s work.
10. The Julie Ruin – Oh Come On
When Hanna launched a louder, full band version of her solo project, Julie Ruin, people got really excited, and The Julie Ruin delivered. The lead single proved that Hanna’s music & message was still more than relevant.
9. Julie Ruin – Apt. #5
Hanna’s solo project is some of the most intimate work she has produced over her career. “Apt. #5” is a definite highlight of the album; as she sings over a bedroom produced track it extremely touching, yet she still isn’t backing down.
8. Le Tigre – After Dark
Hanna’s music has always been extremely sex positive, without ever putting sex appeal at the forefront of the operation. “After Dark” lifts the shame of engaging in a one-nighter and just getting what you need, when you need it.
7. Bikini Kill – Alien She
Femininity is complicated, feminism is complicated and a lot of self doubt goes into defining how you feel about either F-word.
6. Le Tigre – Deceptacon
Possibly the most well known banger in Hanna’s catalog, “Deceptacon” glazes over the riot grrrl aesthetic with some hardcore party vibes.
5. Bikini Kill – White Boy
No one is ever asking for it.
4. Le Tigre – FYR
This song goes deep. I almost got suspended from my lame suburban high school for presenting this for a poetry assignment in a literature class. This feminist call to arms is not subtle in any way and should be spread high and low, even if, no – especially if, it means getting sent to the principal’s office.
3. Bikini Kill – I Like Fucking
This one shirks aways any poetic language that might mask the point Hannah is trying make. “I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure babe” ain’t there nothing wrong with that.
2. Le Tigre – Hot Topic
An ode to every amazing artist who has made equality and gender rights part of their work, “Hot Topic” is praising the cycle of artistic inspiration and the history of feminism in the arts. If you have never taken the time to do a bit of research into each name in the song, it’s a highly recommended use of an afternoon.
1. Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl
A bit of an obvious number one, but was it ever going to be anything else? As a young woman, in a small suburban hellpit of a town, Kathleen Hanna was my rebel girl and she is still that for loads of people everywhere.