Punk is one of the most written and talked about music and political movements of the twentieth century. What perhaps makes punk special is the way a generation incorporated the attitudes and practices of the music into an entire subculture. In her book Punks: A Guide to an American Subculture, author Sharon M .Hannon argues that "there is no universally accepted definition for punk ."To some, punk mean rebellions against conformity or against parents, school, work, and society at large"(2).Punk means different things to different people depending on whom you ask. One thing that everyone can agree on is that the punk subculture was not just about the music, it was a way of self-expression and undoubtedly a way of life. Punks used their bodies as a way of self-expression. They shaved and styled their hair in unnatural ways. Clothing was often ripped and many used patches of their favorite bands to adorn it. Most were also tattooed and had various facial piercings. Perhaps one of the most significant things in the punk subculture was punk rock, which mostly consisted of loud instruments, hard vocals, and political lyrics.
Feminism and music have long been combined throughout the 1900’s. However, in my essay I will be attempting to answer the question of has feminism influenced music, particularly in the last 30 years. The near infinite variation of feminism expressed in a range of different types of music genres has led to many interesting and empowering assortments of music being established. One such genre is punk music, which is the most popular genre to be combined with feminism, to create hard hitting and powerful bands, which were most commonly formed, in particular, in the 1970s and 1990s. I will be investigating in this essay, in particular, questions such as what has been the most significant impact of feminism and music, and how this began to get popular, to help me answer the ultimate question of ‘has feminism influenced music in the last 30 years?’, and I will be exploring both sides of the argument and explaining both arguments for and against in detail.
As is the Case with its metaphorical brother, heavy metal, punk is a genre of music that is thoroughly entwined with philosophies. From Johnnies Ramone to Rotten, Spanning across oceans and throughout various different nations, many disgruntled youth and those tired with an unfair system have flocked to the then burgeoning culture, allowing for it to grow exponentially into something far greater. Thus, due to it establishing a firmly anti-establishment view, creating an entirely new culture for an entire generation, and changing the face of music, punk has become one of, if not the most, prolific genres of music of all time.
Differences in beliefs and values from what the “norm” considers the right way makes you a subculture, but what makes them unique are the instruments they use to make their voice heard. While most people have taken for granted their language, beliefs and values there are some who within their subculture use their music to escape forms of oppression and lack of freedom. Hip Hop and Punk are two large subcultures that are well known through out the world. There are many differences between Hip Hop and Punk and several contributing factors that shape these subcultures but ultimately each one’s existence
There is something about the ideology of a subculture that sparks an interest in me. Maybe it is intriguing due to its members’ originality, courage to stand up for beliefs, or freely expressing their own self- identity. A subculture forms by individuals taking a risk, separating themselves from the mainstream, and forming their own distinctive norms, not caring what the “normal” members of the mainstream society think of them. Or do they care? Maybe that is the exact statement a subculture is making. Maybe these individuals are forming these groups so that people will care. Maybe their rebellious attitude is a final, somewhat desperate approach to getting that response. The images being portrayed in most subcultures are
In order to understand why punk came about the preceding periods will be considered. The baby boom after the war had resulted in a large amount of people being born at the same time. A knock on effect later down the line resulted in mass unemployment for young people. The punk era showed angry,
What is punk rock? How many people know the real definition? Punk rocks values, attitude, and ideologies? Punk rock isn’t just a style or a scene but a way of life. It all started in the late 1970s, originating from the working class angst and frustrations many youth were feeling about the economic inequality. One of punks’ main oppositions was rejection of mainstream, corporate mass culture and its values. It continued to evolve its ideology of anti-racist and anti-sexist belief systems as the movement spread from its origins in England and New York to Northern America.
Nevertheless, punk shouldn’t be held to such high standards of influence. It’s influential; it’s something that made misfits feel as though they had a place, but not something to be held to the unattainably high standards. All things considered, it did do something positive, it provided a home and inclusive environment for those who were frustrated and just plain angry.
Punk has always been about more than just the sound of the music people were making during that era, although the sound was a huge factor and played an interwoven part of the entire ordeal. Punk split itself from the traditional rock of its time, sonically, by deciding that clean guitar riffs, processed vocals, and any sound product that didn’t come straight out of the instrument/artist wasn’t “real enough”. Hanner stated in “Unpopular Culture…”: “Musically, punk and hardcore are characterized by short, strident, up-tempo songs performed with consistent, straightforward instrumentation, meaning a lack of synthesizers, guitar effects, or post-production audio modification.“ As a result Punk became the gritty, noisy, dirty and unique sound that everyone can instantly recognize. Punk was also an ideology. It was something people lived by and something that had a very blatant and in your face message of being anti-government, anti-establishment, and basically anti-authority all together. This exact sentiment is described in the same article by Nathan Hanner in “Unpopular Culture…”:
Anti-conformity has always been a prominent thread running through punk. The unofficial creed has always been that to truly define yourself you can’t be like your parents or your friends. You have to be yourself and to cut yourself out of stone. Each punk band you ever encounter will be slightly different from all the others. Some bands are lyrically different for their song lyrics, some for their guitar chords, and some for the theme of their music. But whatever the music is about, you can always be assured that it will be high energy, raw, and honest. The
Music, in the past, has often spelled bad news to society at large. It can challenge norms and invoke a sense of hype in places that modern culture may be uncomfortable with, such as sex, sexuality, and drugs. Personally, when I think of punk music, I see a genre that stands to be individualistic, aggressive, and rebellious. Phrases such as ‘anti-establishment’ also come up. This notion comes from many aspects of punk subculture, including dress, music, performance, and my interpretations.
Music has been a long standing form of expression for hundreds of years. More recently however, it has become a way for artists to make social commentaries on the society they live in. During the 1970s, Punk bands and Ska bands emerged in England and rose to become a major source of social commentary through their upbeat music. Specifically looking at music from The Stranglers, The Specials, and The Clash, it is clear that lyrics clouded with anger and passion can be best communicated through upbeat sounds and melodies. Each of these groups communicates a need for radical change in society; but each one goes about this in a different way. Through the songs, “I feel like a Wog,” by The Stranglers, “A Message to you Rudy,” by The Specials, and “White Riot,” by The Clash, these bands point out that there is a common enemy in Society. They are forcing the mainstream to realize unpleasant truths about the culture that they inhabit. The future of England was unknown, and these songs were written during a time where people were worried about their place in the world. Faith in the system was dying and these bands gave way to a future generation to improve upon society that will present a more positive and equal multicultural Britain. Through the music it is clear that multicultural Britain was complicated; there were tumultuous times that these bands were commenting on, which pitted races against each other but also brought them together in fighting back against suppressive societal
Both disco and punk “encouraged energetic public action”. Disco entertained people, and punk led youth aggressive. These built the rise of punk and disco in the late
The genre of rock and roll has been and will continue to be a genre fueled by rebellion. Even the King, as hometown sweet and charming as he was, had a flare for the raucous. Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips and drug addiction had set the standard; the old saying is, in fact, sex, drugs and rock and roll. From then on, this genre was all about pushing the boundaries of what could be done. For some, it meant being shirtless on stage; for others, it meant they had to eat a bat on stage. Regardless of the stunts pulled, rock and roll was their drive. What began as a mesmerizing combination of R&B and country, became a catalyst for change and the heart and soul of generations.
Punk rock music has been used for decades to express dissatisfaction with society, government, or any idea common in mainstream media. Yet punk rock is not simply a tangent of the mainstream, it is a dynamic and fluid genre with many distinct songs. Don Letts, a mainstay in the London punk scene during the 70’s and 80’s, went as far to say that hip-hop was essentially “black” punk. While punk and hip-hop music are stylistically different, the fundamental tone of the two genres is the same. Even throughout the decades, hip-hop has sang the same issues as punk, including the plight of the lower class, police brutality, and gang violence.