In May 2012, The Julie Ruin, Le Tigre and Bikini Kill founder Kathleen Hanna — an artistic and feminist role model as well as a writer, singer-songwriter and one of the pioneers of the Riot grrrl movement (please watch the excellent documentary The Punk Singer about her) — sat down with writer Melissa Febos for an artist-on-artist conversation about the process of creating art, social responsibility, feminism and the relationships between women at BOMB Magazine.
Sure, the conversation is two years old, which is a million years old in Internet years, and I know no one wants to read long-anything anymore because we’re all too busy refreshing and scrolling through Instagram until our eyes start to cross (I… am… guilty, too…), but the piece has seen a resurgence online this week, and I highly encourage you to read the entire piece. (Also, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is 45 years old, but you should still read that, too.) Print it out if you have to. I can wait.
OK, if you’re too busy and need to get to the Beyonce of it, know that Kathleen Hanna packaged up criticism of women and their art, bodies and basic existence and then told haters to throw all that hate in a box to the left.
Here’s the brilliant quote:
“Beyoncé isn’t Beyoncé because she reads comments on the Internet. Beyoncé is in Ibiza, wearing a stomach necklace, walking hand in hand with her hot boyfriend. She’s going on the yacht and having a mimosa. She’s not reading sh—y comments about herself on the Internet, and we shouldn’t either. I just think, Would Beyoncé be reading this? No, she would just delete it or somebody would delete it for her. What I really need to do is close the computer and then talk back to that voice and say, F–k you. I don’t give a sh– what you think. I’m Beyoncé. I’m going to Ibiza with Jay-Z now, f–k off. Being criticized is part of the job, but seeking it out isn’t. That’s our piece to let go.”
But really, read the entire conversation between Melissa Febos and Kathleen Hanna, and check out some other must-read articles on feminism:
+ “Why You Should Be Paying Attention To ’Yes All Women'” by Shannon Knight on Altdaily.
+ Sex educator Laci Green’s new video on misogyny, entitlement and violence.
+ Sheryl Sandberg on “The Colbert Report” — it’s from April, but it’s just as crucial as ever.
+ Writer Taylor Leech, on the all-too-familiar epidemic of street harassment at Inlander.com.
+ The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti on what #YesAllWomen says about misogyny.
+ New York magazine’s Jesse Singal on mental health versus misogyny.
+ The New Yorker’s Sasha Weiss on the importance and power of #YesAllWomen.
+ And watch my interview on feminism and female artists with Kathleen Hanna and Grimes at the 2013 VMA Livestream.