Punk, like any other movement at that time, has still been dominated by its male adherents, willingly or unwillingly, for the most part. Still the female side of punk had taken its own distinguished course, a course that’s usually not as much mirrored in terms of “geniality” such as is often attributed to guys.
Single individualized enactment of a self-proclaimed autonomy from societal values, were the message you could get from this or the other female punks.
Authentic punk could to our point of view be measured by it’s unpopularity with the broad public. The more the music fitted with the lowest common denominator type of taste, the lower the “real” punk aspect of the band was.
The popularity amongst punk bands was rather driven by their political value, in quasi-anarchist-and-beyond terms – and not by something being hyped.
Punk is a label that you stick to yourself or someone else who you think is rebellious to some extent. Far more interesting than the label “punk” though is the exact qualities of stuff that the label was or is stuck too, what exact content was or is involved, summed up under that label … ?!
A lot of the stuff that comes with the label “punk” has a core message that is as conservative in its basic values and ideas as any other idea society comes up with for supposed “change”.
The impactful bits and pieces within the punk movement where different from “established norms”, the outer shell and label though could be stuffed with any content – regressive, progressive, stagnant, … . The visibile signals were one idea, the exact contents varied extremely from band to band politically and artistically. The music, lyrics and sound aspects are an interesting thing, cos they are far more revealing of differences than the visibile iconography of that movement.
Generally speaking: do you know anybody who seeks to topple “the system”?
“Female autonomy” doesn’t mean that all women are bascially the downtrodden ones who should vehemently claim radical autonomy for differing perspectives. Many women don’t have drastically different perspectives thant their male peers. Your gender role leaves you a chance to gain a critical perspective on the settings society confronts us with. The negative stereotypes female identified humans have been confronted with have always been handled individually and differently by the individuals it seems.
Society sticks itself together with dominating consensual parts, who create a contractual co-inhabitance on the costs of individual freedom and noncontractualist coexistence.
Some people place themself inside and some outside of these forced norms.
Rubella Ballet is a cult band. When you visited London in the early eighties their vibes and creative spirit, however you can describe such a pehomenon, ruled the scene. Zillah Minx and Sid Truelove produced a movie about female punk musicians of the london punk scene, called: SHE’S A PUNK ROCKER.
A lot of people saw the Crass Record “Penis Envy” – the title hinting at Freuds theory of women envying the male penis – as the very feminist punk record. The lyrics of some songs on that record are definitely classics, but to gain a broader view it needs more stones to complete the puzzle: Female bands and any bands with critical ideas, and also critique of Crass, not on the grounds of the being “hippyish” but on other interesting grounds should be noticed. There was quite a hype around the band Crass, and hypes tend to generate social codices, trends and unquestioned dogma, etc. An open critic of Crass have been the Apostles and their singer Andy Martin whom I interviewed for our Animal Rights journal Tierautonomie. In this interview you get an idea of the sharp criticalness I think of here!
We are vegan, into animal rights and into feminist punk.
Farangis took this pic of me in 1982. We were relatively often in London, maybe I write a bit about my impressions of punk in London in the early 80ies a bit later, though I am not a great fan of autobiographic writing. Issues that might be interesting to write about though is the differences in political orientation of bands and fan-cultures, of racism amongst punks in Germany at that time, about Animal Rights lyrics and activism by some specific punk bands, about the difference you’d discoved in the behaviour of other female punks … and what have you. Let’s see!