The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection, featuring topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and/or highlighting authors’ work from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. Liz Milewicz, Ph.D., Head of Digital Scholarship & Publishing Services and co-Director of Scholar Works: A Center for Scholarly Publishing, has selected the five titles this month to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Please note: The content linked in this post is punk-typically offensive and may also challenge notions of conventional femininity.
Bikini Kill, “Rebel Girl”
With so many bands, songs, and scenes from the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s, it’s hard to choose just one that captures the audacity and exuberance of third-wave feminism expressed through music. So why not start with Bikini Kill, whose lead singer Kathleen Hanna embodied the band’s confrontational style, at times wearing pigtails and panties on stage while singing songs of female empowerment. “Rebel Girl” celebrates confident women, an anthem to walking with your head up and a sense of your own power: “That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood… She IS!” Bikini Kill pushed for women to connect and express themselves by starting bands and creating zines, and it influenced culture and politics as well as the music scene.
Get the backstory
- The Punk Singer (2014 documentary), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE006052348
- Pussy Whipped (1993? album), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE004323145
- Reject All American (1996 album), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE008700620
- Revolution Girl Style Now (2015 album), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE008700619
Pussy Riot, “Punk Prayer”
These Russian punks are not a band but a queer-feminist art collective that uses punk as a political protest. Unlike the Western punk scene formed around musicians and shows, Pussy Riot emerged in 2011 in response to political corruption by Vladimir Putin and complicit support by the Russian Orthodox Church. Their “punk prayer” asked Mother Mary to become a feminist, join their protest, and “banish Putin!” The band was imprisoned for hooliganism, but that didn’t quiet the group, which continues to release videos and songs online and whose support has only grown through the Russian government’s attempts to silence them.
Get the backstory
- Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2014 documentary), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE006030925
- Pussy Riot: Speaking Punk to Power (2021), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE009852716
- Émeutières. Pussy Riot Grrrls (2015), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE008047819
- Pussy Riot: chto eto bylo? (2012), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE005741705
- Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism (2018), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE008696566
If we’re going to talk about punk-rock women in the US today, then we have to talk about Fea. Based in San Antonio, this Chicana feminist punk band pushes hard (and humorously) against perceptions that the feminist movement is irrelevant. “Feminazi” pays playful homage to that torch song of punk, “Anarchy in the UK” (Sex Pistols), while bringing it home to the modern-day USA. This song in particular highlights the political activism of punk rock women as well as their inclusivity, as they speak for women’s rights throughout the world: “Yo soy, yo soy feminista!” – “私はフェミニストです!” – “I am, I am a feminist!”
- A Kiss Across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk and US Latinidad (2022 e-book), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE010553775
- The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band (2016), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE008288551
- Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story (2011), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE008611739
G.L.O.S.S., “G.L.O.S.S. (We’re From The Future)”
Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution: An Oral History (2021), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE010252416
Queer-Feminist Punk: An Anti-Social History (2015), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE009815084
Big Joanie, “In My Arms”
Hear and see more
- Decolonise Fest 2022 – Revolution Now (short documentary), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jLOncl2H2I
Why Solange Matters (2021), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE010018231
Punk Identities, Punk Utopias: Global Punk and Media (2021), https://find.library.duke.edu/catalog/DUKE010352768