Sunday Sessions, soundtrack to my life: Le Tigre.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time. One of the first stops would be the the music I listened to and discovered. Terms like punk, feminist, and riot grrl are what I would be looking for the second time around.

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I wish I could say I got into Kathleen Hanna’s seminal riot grrrl band Bikini Kill way back in the beginning, but the truth is that I actually got into her second band, Le Tigre, first. Bikini Kill were, I’m embarrassed to say, way too abrasive for me the first few listens, but Le Tigre, with their catchy as all fuck synth-pop ditties and in your face feminist and queer positive lyrics, were hard to resist. The combination of three girls dressed in colourful clothes, shouting their hardcore lyrics set to danceable music, is pretty much pop perfection to me.

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I have never seen them live but I was lucky enough to see Kathleen play with The Julie Ruin in Melbourne a couple of years ago. And I couldn’t leave that night until I stuck my head behind the curtain after the show and, after talking some overexcited gibberish for a few minutes, got a hug from Kathleen. She was an absolute sweetheart.

So while I’ll never see Le Tigre live, there is always the music to listen to. Music that I need a fix of often. Le Tigre is one of those bands that have got right under my skin. We’re BFF’S for life.

So while I could share just one video I love their music so much that you’re getting two.

But please do me a favour and turn it up loud and have a sneaky little dance.

😉

P.S. I did eventually fall for Bikini Kill too, but LT remain my first KH-related music love.

  1. “Deceptacon” was on the radio in the car last night and I did turn it way way up.
    I had a really weird & messed up idea about what riot grrrl stood for when I was little. The image I had of feminism was based off depictions in movies and they were not positive. I honestly thought it was about being “man haters” and anti-makeup and all this stupid stuff. I was very young so don’t think I was stupid for misunderstanding (I mean like 8 years old!) but there were (and sometimes are) irresponsible and ridiculous portrayals of what a feminist is and what feminism means on TV. Plus, I didn’t realize riot grrrl was anything to do with feminism or equality. I don’t know what I thought it was. I don’t think I got more clued in until almost high school-age too:/ That’s not a conversation my mother and I ever had and I wished I’d had positive and accurate exposure to what the riot grrrl movement was. Then again, as you said, it was abrasive music and I don’t think my little ears were quite ready for that yet! I think I might’ve noted this before or asked you but do you remember when (if you watched Roseanne) when Roseanne and Jackie were listening to a Bikini Kill tape in the car during a road trip on an episode? Kind of funny now but cool. They have a whole conversation about feminism after listening to the tape which a hitchhiker gave to them as a thank you.

    Reply

    1. First off, Bikini Kill are probably way too much for young ears. Like I said, I have only truly started loving it relatively late.

      As for ideas of what feminism is you were pretty young, like you said. In my opinion it should be whatever empowers and strengthens a woman/girl. There seem to be a whole lot of rules and ideas saying it’s this or that, but every woman (person) is unique so there can ever be a one size approach. For me feminism is the idea of strong women not limited by society’s rules or expectations. The idea of a supportive and unified sisterhood is ice but sadly some women seem more interested inferring each other down.

      And I actually think I do remember that episode. I loved that show and didn’t know until recently that Roseanne is a fierce feminist. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, she broke a lot of barriers with that show. I actually really respect a lot of what she has achieved.

      Reply

      1. Mhmm…I’d say back then that the name Bikini Kill was even a tad scary to me! And it sounded like “noise” I just couldn’t have gotten it. I wasn’t intellectually mature enough at all. It was much more entertaining to watch MTV and My Little Pony and not think. I don’t think I could’ve possibly understood! Still, it’s weird to me to think back how I was raised in a way that taught me, at a very very young age, that there was nothing wrong with homosexuals but I don’t remember a thing about feminism. Hmmm.
        I’ve heard my mother, though very very few times, refer to somebody as a slut or borderline victim blame a woman for the way she was dressed. That makes me FURIOUS! I always want to school her.

        Yes!! Roseanne is an interesting one. I actually want to read some of her books. I don’t know if she goes into that or not but I’m curious to read them anyway. I love that she rocks her natural gray hair too because why not and it looks great on her too.

        For me feminism is just equality and just what you said…exactly! Men and Women are equal in a way that they should garner equal rights (equal pay etc). I hate that a women can be entirely defined by or reduced by her gender (and biology), boxed in by it or restricted. Many people totally misunderstand feminism. My friend Amy sometimes sends me things she sees on facebook or instagram with examples and I think it’s just because she needs to show someone and vent because she’s very pro-feminism and saddened to see it misconstrued (but I don’t think she has the energy to rant about it to a stranger online under the posted photo y’know?). It will be a photo of a teenage girl baking or something like that and the caption is something like “Sorry feminists! I can bake if I want to!” which, to me, clearly means this young lady doesn’t know what feminism is. Because of feminism she can bake if she wants to. She can not bake if she hates baking. But she doesn’t have to do either because her gender dictates she does (or rather a patriarchal society that makes decisions for her based on her gender) and it breaks my heart to see that wild misunderstanding, aggression and ignorance.

        As far as the “one size fits all” I can’t stand when some supposed feminists (and I shudder at myself saying “supposed feminist” because I realize that we’re all at different places and understanding with it and it takes time to learn and it’s always evolving so I don’t want to say somebody is a bad or fake feminist but this is a whole other topic!) think all women must have careers and eschew being stay-at-home moms or that letting a man hold the car door open for them is somehow degrading to women and antifeminist no matter what. There’s so much judgement!! And what gets me even more is the idea that to be a true feminist and not work against what women are trying to achieve women must be modestly dressed and remained clothed at all times as if there’s something inherently wrong with our bodies ugh oh my gosh I must stop. Anyway I’m with ya…sisterhood is a positive and progressive way to approach it but some women are still intent on competing and ripping each other apart (which we’ve been taught to do and is super hard to stop unfortunately) which doesn’t help the cause at all. blah!
        Great post though & look how you got me going! You’re an awesome feminist!=)

        Reply

        1. I totally grew up hearing victim blaming as the norm. It was a moment I’ll never forget when I was older to gear that a woman should be free to dress however the heck she wants and is not “asking for it”.

          It dies frustrate me when young women think that feminism is about strict rules and expectations, and like you said, a lot of the freedoms they enjoy are because if feminism. The one topic that modern feminists don’t like to touch is motherhood. I remember wanting g to read about being a feminist AND a stay at home mum, but it’s like there is still that notion of a woman bring chained to the kitchen with kids that makes it look like servitude. I consider myself fortunate that I was able to be at home while mine were small. And now I fortunate again to have the opportunity to run my own business. A lot if privileged white feminism is more about luck and place of birth than activism.

          Now you’ve got me going too, still so much I want to say but I’m at work!

          Reply

          1. You’re so right–that’s still major stigma and a gap dealing with motherhood and feminism. An old friend of mine (and we’ve lost touch at this point) decided one day that she no longer identified as a feminist since having her son. She felt this renewal of purpose with him and nurturing him and I was just confused as hell as to why that meant she couldn’t be a feminist…still am. She always seemed like a super thoughtful and articulate person too. It was actually shocking. I don’t know what she thinks about feminism now. I have an ex-friend (that one I’m pleased as punch about, so long!) who seemed to constantly berate women who were mothers AND dared to show cleavage in public or in photos on social media. Again, I don’t get the connection.
            You’re so right that many women are born into privilege too…I don’t think they have the foundation to truly understand where some women sit in the hierarchy and how they may struggle because of their gender. Like, those famous actresses that like to say feminism is no longer an issue because women have achieved equality in the world. Uhhhh right!
            Back to motherhood–that does get me going too. I always feel foolish trying to relate and then give an opinion on a topic I have no experience with (marriage and motherhood) but if I try to imagine it the best I can accompanied by my beliefs, my sense of self and how I am in relationships, I’d say that it gives me great joy and pleasure (despite how corny that sounds) to feel like I’m helping to take care of somebody that I care about. Not as a servant. Not to fill a gender role. And on the topic of relationships I’ll just throw it out there that I like when men do certain things that make me feel valued or protected in a way. Or another way to put it is that certain behavior doesn’t give me my self worth but let’s me see one way they show me my value to them…if that makes sense. That could mean doing something for me that would be more physically difficult and uncomfortable for me to do or just always getting the door for me and letting me go through first. For some women this is a big no-no in feminism. Not for me.
            It’s more complicated than that but I don’t want to force you to read through an even bigger comment from me. I always wished my Mom, growing up, was a stay-at-home mom and she even admitted she’d regretted working through certain years of my upbringing.
            Have a great workday!

            Reply

            1. I’m doing a post on feminism, is it ok if I use some of these comments from this thread? You can be anon if you prefer. X.

            2. Thank you! I might just use the comments without naming every one. Working on it, and our conversation really got me thinking, so thank you!

            3. Sounds good.

            4. Where is this thing, I wanna read it!!

            5. Working on it. It’s such a big topic. I think I’ll take my time. But I like how it’s shaping up.

            6. It is kind of overwhelming huge! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on it though.
              Also, I’m unsure if I told you or not that I did finish watching We Need to Talk About Kevin and you were right-it was worth watching. Creepy as hell but engrossing and artful. Good movie!

            7. Yeah it was exactly that: creepy and engrossing.

              And I’m still researching some bits and pieces for the post. Might share it over on Medium too when it’s done.

  2. Another band I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t heard of – blame this on me being stuck permanently somewhere in 1988 LOL! I’ll have to add these to the playlist xo

    Reply

    1. I feel you! I have to work so hard to drag my arse to listen to anything new. These women are awesome, just click on either video, very party time!

      Reply

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