MAKERS Profile

Kathleen Hanna

Musician & Feminist Activist

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Musician and feminist Kathleen Hanna channeled her early feminist leaning into her music career with bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, which gave her a platform to help spark and perpetuate the underground feminist punk rock movement, Riot Grrrl.
Kathleen Hanna is a New York City-based artist, best known for her groundbreaking performances as a member of the feminist 90′s punk band, Bikini Kill, and her more recent multimedia group, Le Tigre. In 1991, Hanna collaborated with other feminist punk rockers on the fanzine Riot Grrrl, which called for increased feminist activity in the punk rock scene and led to the Riot grrrl underground feminist punk rock movement. Hanna is currently making art, giving lectures and writing a new album with her band ‘The Julie Ruin’.

More From Kathleen

Redefining Punk
Hanna talks about what the punk rock scene was like in Olympia and how it began to redefine itself.

"You're the Reason My Girlfriend Broke Up with Me!"
Hanna talks about the reality of what it was like being a member of a feminist punk rock band playing for mostly male audiences.

Ian MacKaye Discovers Bikini Kill
After a Bikini Kill show in Washington D.C., Hanna recounts meeting music producer Ian MacKaye who would go on to produce the band's "Bikini Kill" EP which began to truly establish the band's audience.  

Keen to Change the Room
Hanna shares how a particularly inspiring story that came out of the teenage sexual assault support group she started, informed her career as a musician.

Unanticipated Crisis Counselor
After speaking at a high school about her own experience as a rape victim, Hanna unintentionally initiated more discussion and questions from high school girls long after her speaking obligation ended.

When Hanna started out in Bikini Kill, she tried to overcome feminist stereotyping and being called a "feminazi" by acting overly nice. Eventually, she realized she could drop the act and be herself.

Embarrassment and Failure
Hanna shares that she's had her due of embarrassing moments and artistic failures, but that no matter whether you pass with flying colors or fail tremendously, there's still tomorrow. 

Proud to Be a Female Musician
Hanna understands why some women resent being described with a gender descriptor, and she explains why she personally embraces it as a feminist artist.