photographed & produced by MEGHAN FARNSWORTH

“I really don’t consider punk to be a sound. I consider it more to be an idea that you can make culture from wherever you’re at, and that corporations don’t get to tell us what culture is.” — Kathleen Hanna

How would you conceptualize Third Wave Feminism? It all began with crunchy guitar chords, biting vocals and fierce feminist lyrics in a movement known as Riot Grrrl. Riot Grrrl — featuring mostly all-girl bands from the Pacific Northwest and Washington, D.C. — helped define a generation of female musicians who used punk music to convey ideas and to empower other women. Key players within this scene were Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile.

In this episode of Ampersand, we talk with Kathleen Hanna about her current band, the Julie Ruin, and how music is empowering. Additionally, we speak with Allison Wolfe and her band at present, the Sex Stains, who believe that performance is a conversation and that personal experiences can propel political change.


A screening of the documentary, The Punk Singer, will be shown on November 2 at 6pm in USC’s Ray Stark Theatre. You can also hear a free live performance of the Julie Ruin and the Sex Stains on November 3 at 8pm in USC’s Bovard Auditorium. Both of these events are free to the public. RSVP to the screening here and the concert here.