Arn't I A Woman?: Cool Kids



Jan 11, 2012

Cool Kids

After you graduate high school and get a couple real world years under your belt, you start to realize that being "cool" is an elusive concept that probably has more to do with your personal demeanor than what bands you listen to, what books you read, and what you wear. I love Atlanta, but there is total Cool Kid syndrome here. This surely isn't specific to this city, or to punk rock culture, but this IS specifically what this blog will be about.

A few months ago, I was talking to one of my girlfriends about Lady Gaga at a bar in East Atlanta.  The dude she was dating at the time was pretty offended that this conversation was even taking place. You know, because Lady Gaga (insert any pop artist here) is contrived, not nuanced, requires no critical thinking, and perpetuates the aspects of "mainstream" society that many sub cultures reject. We were talking about women in music and the guy started telling me that if I wanted to support female artists, I should look to people like Kathleen Hanna. Instead of trying to be cool and agree with him I said I didn't know who that was. A freakout ensued that basically made me feel like I was sitting at the Middle School lunch table. 

"WHAT???? Are you kidding me?? Um Kathleen Hanna fronted BIKINI KILL duh are you kidding me Kathleen Hanna you don't know Kathleen Hanna KATHLEEN HANNA." 

Let me note this: I know Bikini Kill only because there is an episode of Roseanne where she and Jackie are blasting their music in a car ride. 

I didn't grow up reading second/third/whatever wave feminism, and I didn't grow up listening to Bikini Kill. I grew up listening to Mariah Carey and reading Lord of the Rings. The only exposure I had to punk rock music and culture growing up was through my brother. There were some major aspects of punk rock that I liked and was attracted to as I got older. I liked much of the music, but more importantly I liked that it seemed to foster different ideals and opinions than the culture I grew up with. To me, it seemed anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-classist, anti-establishment; it was for the equalization of all peoples and supported independent thinking, which was largely legitimized through various vehicles of art. 

I would probably really like Bikini Kill and Kathleen Hanna and it would have been awesome of the dude to be like, "Oh here, let me tell you about this band and this woman, and why they kick ass and how they are an awesome representation of women and here what's I think you should know about them." But this guy started telling me more or less that my opinion was invalid because I didn't know about Bikini Kill. Which is the most pretentious attitude to take and really just makes you look like an asshole. People talk a lot about this band and that person and everyone nods their head in agreement and feels validated that they all feel the same way. Isn't that the opposite of what punk rock stands for? I thought it was supposed to be a community that nurtures independent thinking, that is against homogeneity. Not placing value on arbitrary knowledge. I also am not even punk rock, not even a little.  I'm also probably better educated than this dude, more open to outside opinions and values, and more interested in making tangible changes to the structures in our society that perpetuate sexism. So the fact that I didn't know the lead singer of Bikini Kill's name was offensive to him not because he thought I was ignorant to the issues this band and person was related to, but just because I didn't know a name. Which was like, totally uncool. 


  1. rah rah ah ah ah. not liking pop music just because it is popular is the opposite of cool. get it gurl


Older Posts

Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention

Akron, Ohio