Punk in Europe and women


This video series is called Women at Their Best: Female-fronted Punk, Post-punk, etc.

After the earlier presentations on 18 December 2020, the day about Europe of the international Punk Scholars Network conference on the internet, came a panel about punk and women in Europe.

First came a keynote speech by Laura Way – Punk, Gender and Ageing: Just Typical Girls? She has published here on that subject. She concludes that punk women, when growing older like everyone else, usually don’t ‘grow out of’ being punk.

Then came Louise Barrière on The German Ladyfest Scene and Its Venues: A Feminist Understanding of Self-Managed Leisure Collective Activities, and Inter-Generational Activist Solidarities. Ms Barrière writes a PhD thesis including histories of venues in Germany. Like SO36 in Berlin, where in 1980 British band Zounds and Dutch Cheap ‘n’ Nasty played along with German bands. In 2003, Ladyfests started in Germany, inspired by the 1990s Riotgrrl movement among United States hardcore punk women. Ladyfests promote concerts with bands with significant female participation. Usually, Ladyfest audiences are bigger in Germany than in France.

Finally, Katharina Alexi – Music and Activism: The New Feminist Movement of Punk (2010-2020), Right-Wing Populism and Punkriarchy. She noted that there are too many festivals where all bands are all-male. According to her, ever since 2010 there is a new movement of punk women, which does not have a name yet. Many of these newly emerging musicians consider themselves to be feminists. I might mention the Black British punk women of Big Joanie.

I should add that using or not using the label feminist does not always say everything. Eg, in 1970s-1980s Britain, women like Siouxsie Sioux, the Mo-dettes and the Slits supported women’s reproductive and other rights, but did not call themselves feminists, being opponents of labels. While United States Republican politician Sarah Palin, a Donald Trump supporter who favours banning abortion, does label herself a feminist.

Thanks, all organisers and presenters! The 2020 Punk Scholars Network conference was interesting and instructive. I certainly do not intend it to be my last PSN activity.

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