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Women's History Month: 10 Reasons We Salute Kathleen Hanna

Teri Bildstein Published On: 19-03-2015
Women's History Month: 10 Reasons We Salute Kathleen Hanna

Women’s History Month... Doesn’t that sound so dignified? Like we should celebrate with a tea party in the garden or mint juleps by the pool.

Funny tea party















There is certainly a need to celebrate the ladies who set the wheels of equality in motion. Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Amelia Earhart are household names for a reason. They each fought battles for equality with determination and grace.

But for some women, the idea of injustice inspires a reaction that would not be considered dignified. Their first thought is to get loud.  They want to scream until they are heard. They want to fill a room with energy and demand the status quo change.

Chances are, these same women came of age in the 90s; when a petite brunette was charging the stage, wearing short dresses with combat boots, demanding Girls To The Front, and vocalizing her thoughts on Girl Power for the whole world to hear.    

Kathleen Hanna taught a generation of women that they have strength in numbers and can accomplish anything together. You didn’t have to know her personally to feel you had a friend on your side and she would not back down.

So this year, we are adding Kathleen Hanna to the list of ladies we celebrate for Women’s History Month. For those unfamiliar with Hanna and those looking to walk down memory lane, we have compiled a list of 10 things you should know about the original Riot Grrrl.

Kathleen Hanna

1 - Riot Grrls-

Much like modern bloggers, Kathleen and her friends knew the power of written word shared among like minded individuals.  They used fanzines to share thoughts and news and in 1991; they published the Riot Grrrl Manifesto in the Bikini Kill zine.

2 - Feminism-

Before the Riot Grrrl movement; most feminist battles were fought for political and career equality. Hanna helped lead a revolution for equality in social settings.  She spoke openly about her experiences with sexual harassment and abuse and encouraged others to do the same.  

3 - She is a fan of her fans-   

She made time to communicate with fans via zines and letters. The Girls To The Front rule allowed women a safe viewing area for her shows without feeling pressure to participate in the physical demands of the mosh pits that were popular in the 90s.

Young Kathleen Hanna

4 - Music-  

Hanna has been involved with three major music projects; Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and and The Julie Ruin. She has also been a major influence for many other groups; most notably her contribution to the title of Nirvana’s breakout song Smells Like Teen Spirit.

5 - No hate for the haters-

Like any celebrity; Hanna had her share of public adversaries. Despite her friendship with Kurt Cobain, Hanna and Courtney Love were never able to see eye to eye. Their feud was never more apparent than when Love attacked Hanna during the 1995 Lollapalooza tour. Hanna responded by pressing charges and moving on with her life.  

Kathleen Hanna

6 - She shows public support for the women she admires-

No matter what the Spice Girls would have you think; Riot Grrrls actually coined the phrase “girl power”. Hanna has never lost this public expression of sisterhood and in recent years she has vocalized her respect for artists ranging from Beyonce to Miley Cyrus.

7 - Love reveals interesting allies -

With a song like Girls, The Beastie Boys would appear to be the complete opposite of the members that comprised Bikini Kill.  With that in mind, it is easy to see where many would be shocked when the news broke of Hanna’s love affair with Adam Horovitz. People may have become more enlightened to her attraction after his speech at the MTV Music Awards. The two have been together since 1997 and married since 2006.

Kathleen and Adam

8 - Style -

The Riot Grrrl movement had a key impact on the grunge fashion movement of the 90s, modern soft grunge fashion, and the retro look that was seen on runways during Fashion Week 2015. She helped dispel the notion that women must shed their femininity to be a feminist. Young women were taught there is no weakness to wearing a flirty skirt, makeup does not detract from the message, and our words should remain strong even if we are wearing a floral dress.

9 - Priorities -

Hanna has been fighting an ongoing battle with long term effects of Lyme Disease. She took a break from performing to focus on her health and family instead of pushing herself before she was ready.

10 - She doesn’t quit -  

Hanna has returned to the national spotlight with the release of a new documentary and album. She continues to perform with her current band and for solo speaking engagements. 

Women's History Month Kathleen Hanna

Who are the modern women you have found inspiring? Add your suggestions below!