Kathleen Hanna has been in the music world–for better or for worse–long enough to know that not everyone has to love what you do…but it still feels good to stick your tongue out at the haters when you’re recognized for your contribution.
Hanna, the outspoken, porcelain-skinned beauty who led Bikini Kill and Le Tigre through the riot grrrl days of the ’90s, is the subject of Sini Anderson’s new documentary “The Punk Singer”, and some of the biggest names in the business had some very nice things to say about her. Not bad, when you consider what she went through to get here.
“I just feel really lucky that people give a shit and that they care about my work. I always said in my head when people were throwing chains at my head that I would be on the right side of history. And I was. I just feel like going, “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo,” in everybody’s face. I’m like, “Guess what, fuckers who said I sucked? I have a movie made about me!” Hanna told Gawker.
Hanna made her name in the world of feminist, take-no-shit music by getting up on stage in clubs dominated by men and all-male bands, sticking it out through rude reviews based on her appearance rather than her music and coming out on the other side a little tougher, a little more wise, and a lot more opinionated on what it means to be a feminist. These days, the word gets thrown around, and not many people really know what it means. But according to Hanna, it’s simple.
“What bothers me is when people refute it using a stereotype. Lady Gaga didn’t say, “Feminists hate men,” but that’s what she means. To me, feminism is also about liberating men from the stereotypes that they have to be the breadwinners, that they have to be a certain way, and they can’t explore their feminine sides,” she said. “That’s crippling men. That’s crippling how fully men can experience their emotional lives and everything. They have to bond with each other by putting women down? That’s sad. What about having real friendships? Wouldn’t that be great?”
Hanna also took on Miley Cyrus, who recently noted that she is feminist, and said she’s happy that there is a discussion about it these days, but that is just the beginning.
“It’s about challenging all the binaries, ending racism, ending classism. It’s not about hating men! That’s not even part of the conversation in my mind. But that’s kind of great to hear a little freak like Miley Cyrus say that she’s a feminist. She’s such a weirdo.”