Gang of Three le Tigre's Feminism Hits the Dance Floor

By Guarino, Mark | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 15, 2002 | Go to article overview

Gang of Three le Tigre's Feminism Hits the Dance Floor


Guarino, Mark, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Mark Guarino Daily Herald Music Critic

How is feminism faring in 2002? According to the electropop band Le Tigre, predictably not well: "one step forward, five steps back/one cool record in the year of rock-rap."

The band's new song "F.Y.R." (Fifty Years of Ridicule) doesn't just call modern-day feminists to action, it sums up the pattern of frontwoman Kathleen Hanna's career: "We tell the truth/they turn up the laugh track."

"As feminists, we're constantly being asked, 'Is feminism still important?' That's such an insulting question in a country where domestic violence is at an all-time high along with rape and torture and hate crimes," she said recently. "It's really frustrating to be constantly told we're redundant. What we find redundant is violence and racism and the fact that we are in a totally advanced technological state where you can get a DVD player the size of your hand, but they can't get voting booths that work."

Starting in the early '90s, when Hanna fronted the feminist noise band Bikini Kill, she has been rock's most consistent subversive, a role dogging her with unwelcome controversy. Bikini Kill was dragged into Nirvana lore after it was reported Kurt Cobain became inspired to write the megahit "Smells Like Teen Spirit" after Hanna, in the days when both bands lived in Olympia, Wa., spray painted the phrase on his apartment wall.

But in underground circles, Hanna is best known for being at the forefront of "riot grrrl," a phrase Bikini Kill drummer Toby Vail - and a brief Cobain girlfriend - first coined in a rock fanzine describing the new face of punk-rock feminism. Riot girl included bands like Bratmobile, L7, the Slits and Heavens to Betsy that articulated a new generation's denial of corporate culture by spitting in its face. Bands refused interviews, taunted the status quo in their music and backed it with a fury of volume.

But there was a price paid. Hanna ended up a target of the mainstream press and - in the ultimate irony - riot girl's message of empowerment became co-opted in the late '90s by big corporate- rock phenomenons, from Lilith Fair to the Spice Girls.

"It was just really hard," Hanna said. "I was really young and idealistic. I would get burned so often and I would see how bad the media lies. There was a flurry of activity around the band and people would try to get us to put other women down a lot and misconstrue things we said. I was 23 and would start crying and get really upset."

So how does a riot girl rebound? In 1998, Hanna released an album under the alter ego Julie Ruin and followed it up with Le Tigre, a more dance-oriented band that backed its feminist screeds with fast-flung techno breakbeats. But on its 1999 debut - and its recently released second album, "Feminist Sweepstakes" (Mr. Lady Records) -Hanna and company also adopted the humor and infectious pop teamwork of early girl groups from the Shirelles to the Go-Go's with its singalong lyrics and hip-shaking beats. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gang of Three le Tigre's Feminism Hits the Dance Floor
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.