Where would we be without Kathleen Hanna? Once you start a conversation about the riot grrrl movement, third-wave feminism, the 1990s music scene in the Northwest (and beyond), or just badass women in general, you can’t say enough about the effects Kathleen Hanna and her outspoken sisters had (and continue to have) on generations of those uninterested in aligning themselves with bullshit societal norms.
Hanna helped bring attention to issues like rape, abuse, racism, and sex/gender issues through DIY subculture and her bands: the patriarchy-smashing punk of Bikini Kill, her solo project under the name Julie Ruin, and the catchy feminist electro-pop group Le Tigre, who announced their indefinite hiatus in 2007.
Hanna returned to the public eye via a recent documentary called The Punk Singer, which explained that she was forced into musical dormancy for the last several years due to her struggles with Lyme disease.
Hanna’s brand-new band, the Julie Ruin—which includes Carmine Covelli, Sara Landeau, Kathi Wilcox (Bikini Kill, the Frumpies), and Kenny Mellman (Kiki and Herb)—marks her triumphant return to her career as an artist and as a talented pop-driven songwriter. She never stopped being a feminist hero and a punk pioneer. Two decades have passed since Hanna brought girls to the front, and while a lot of the same stuff still plagues us today, from queer issues to walking home alone at night, we are still fighting back. For many of us, riot grrrls showed us how in the first place.
Welcome back, Kathleen Hanna—we missed you.