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 Everett True

Do I think Pussy Riot will provoke a new coming of Riot Grrrl? (my answer to a question from The Guardian)

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Pussy Riot trial in Moscow

Laura Snapes emailed me the above question a couple of days ago for an article she was writing for The Guardian.

Here’s my response in full:

Do I think Pussy Riot will provoke a new coming of Riot Grrrl? I don’t think Riot Grrrl ever went away: its influence and scope to provoke have been apparent in counter-culture (and sometimes the mainstream) since its origins in the late 80s – the phrase was only ever a way of articulating an attitude that already existed, after all – and if you look to relatively recent Riot Grrrl-inspired movements such as the Rock Camp For Girls that have been springing up across the States and in the U.K., and the female musician-centric Ladyfest, then it’s obvious it’s been Riot Grrrl as a force for change is still very potent since it first exploded into the public consciousness in 1992 (or thereabouts).

Will Pussy Riot provoke a new coming of Riot Grrrl? A few weeks ago, Kathleen Hanna purposefully stated something like “we are all Pussy Riot”, indicating an awareness that ‘Pussy Riot’ could well replace ‘Riot Grrrl’ as the phrase in the popular consciousness to describe a certain attitude when it comes to music, revolution and society (wonderfully, this attitude is also often called ‘feminist punk’) and certainly showing an awareness that this whole witch hunt (I choose my words carefully) is almost certainly going to galvanise and politicise an entire generation of females (and men) in a way not seen – certainly within music – since Riot Grrrl itself.

Young girls write me all the time asking “How do we revive Riot Grrrl” and finally I have an answer…What if people all over the world started their own performance groups, bands, art collectives, etc… and called them things like Pussy Riot Olympia. Pussy Riot, Athens Greece, Pussy Riot Paris, etc….And maybe if this trial turns out as the prosecutors want it to, with the women getting at least 3 years, we all play benefits and go to Russia en masse under the banner that we are all Pussy Riot, Yoko Ono could be in Pussy Riot, Patti Smith could be wearing a mask next to a troupe of girls from Tennesee storming the Cathedral of Christ the Savior screaming “We are all Pussy Riot!!!”

Who knows this could be the start of a whole new thing, a whole new motivating source for a globally connected unapologetic punk feminist art and music scene. A catalyst, no matter what it gets called. Anything is possible, if anything, this band has reminded us of that.

(excerpted from SERIOUSLY THEY ARE IN A FUCKING CAGE!!! by Kathleen Hanna)

So yes. I guess the answer is yes, inasmuch as this is one of those generation-changing events that only come along every few years. Interesting it should follow the Occupy movement. Interesting it should happen in Eastern Europe, where rock’n’roll (call it punk rock if you want) has long been a more vital political force than in the West. Interesting that Pussy Riot themselves are equal parts shock performance art and rock’n’roll. (You need to choose your battlefields carefully, as the ladies have proven.) Interesting the amount of hypocrites across the world supporting Pussy Riot’ “freedom of expression” when they wouldn’t for one second countenance such behaviour in their own back yard. (Hello, Occupy again.)

And it’s no coincidence that it’s taken women to effect any major change within the poisoned citadel that is rock’n’roll in 2012. Men are such a devalued currency… as Putin and his humourless, protectionist cronies and apologisists, and their hypocritical counterparts condemning them from the other side of the world, prove.

weareallpussyriot

Related posts:
Song of the day – 493: Pussy Riot (+ a mini-rant)
Song of the day – 492: the collected Pussy Riot Brisbane mixes
Pussy Riot and Four Other Bands That Lost the Battle with Authority But Won the War

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