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Women in punk!

Molly Flood, Creative Team Member

March 15, 2021

The Punk Movement was largely male-dominated, as much of the music industry is, but the women of Punk embodied the movement wholly and didn’t receive adequate credit. The movement’s female artists highlighted the struggles of the female experience that didn’t fit into the mainstream narrative. In their focus on anger and style of dressing, the women of the Punk Movement pushed back against societal norms more effectively than the more popular male bands could.



The anger and passionate unhinged expression were central to the Punk Movement and many of its subgenres. Punk women dominated in honing their anger through violent performances and shouting in sets. Seeing a male artist yelling on stage didn’t bring the shock factor they thought it did. Angry men yelling about their problems has always been accepted by society and even encouraged. While the men yelled, Joan Jett and many other women in the Punk Movement yelled back, with iconic performances such as Jett’s “Bad Reputation”. Performances like this brought a sense of empowerment to the female experience and anger like never before and gave voice to the frustration marginalized groups had been and will continue to feel for decades to come.

What else did the women of the Punk Movement do exceptionally well? Style. Patti Smith embodied a hands-off effortless androgynous style rarely done at the time. With a short, shag-style haircut, oversized men’s clothes, and a bare face, Smith’s unique style pushed back on the patriarchy’s notions of how women in the spotlight had to dress to be accepted or well-liked. Smith’s style perpetuated the punk movement theme of dismantling gendered clothing but personalized to her own gender identity.



Women in Punk made a mark on the path of alternative rock that has forever shifted the trajectory of non-male artists in the genre. To honor women in March is to not look just at women in power today or the most famous figures in women’s history, but it is to take a step back and realize how much of your personal influence and inspiration wouldn’t be the same without the more niche contributions of women throughout history.

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