Kathleen Hanna was in art school in the early 90’s experimenting with photography, fashion and spoken word performances when she realized that if she really wanted to the heard she would have to start a band. Kathleen and her friends noticed there were barely any girls in the punk rock scene, and while they loved the music, being at a show could be intimidating and dangerous for girls due to the macho mentality in the mosh pit. They wanted a space where girls could rock as hard as the guys and decided they were going to create it. They joined forces with other girls with similar ideas and created the Riot Grrrl movement. They made music and manifestos, traded mixtapes and zines with their ideas, thoughts and aesthetics.
The Punk Singer documents this journey and movement through the eyes of Kathleen Hanna and her Bikini Kill bandmates, with interviews with rock icons like Joan Jett, Sonic Youth and Adam Horowitz from the Beasty Boys. The film is a great history lesson not only on a wave of feminism that manifested through music and a punk do-it-yourself attitude but on the little known side of the punk rock and grunge scenes. While some of their male counterparts blew up into the mainstream, the riot grrrls (and guys) stayed true to their independent roots and their original message.
Below: some stills from the film depicting the style and aesthetics of the Riot Grrrl movement