There's a weird kind of stirring in the world of female pop musicians lately -- a certain restlessness, an inclination toward the Riot Grrrl ethos and the glory days of feminism that went kicking into the '90s dressed in big-ass boots and short skirts. So who's the latest denizen of the pop world to hark back to that time? That would be Charli XCX.
"I get tampons thrown onstage as well [as bras and panties]," Charli says in an upcoming interview with Nylon. "Not used. They're clean, but there's gonna be a used one at one point, and I'm ready for it."
Despite the fact that Charli kind of gets it wrong -- you're supposed to throw used tampons at the audience, Donita Sparks-style -- the singer/songwriter's embracing the Riot Grrrl trope (and some elements of punk in general) points to a kind of change in the music world. Top-charting musicians like Charli want to, for lack of a better phrase, "Break The Rules" -- and they're looking to the past for inspiration.
After all, Miley Cyrus had a moment there where she paid tribute to Kathleen Hanna, posting images of the Bikini Kill frontwoman to Instagram. And Lorde has been doing things her own way since she first burst onto the scene with "Royals," declining to censor herself or conform to some manufactured images.
And then there's musicians like FKA twigs and Azaelia Banks, genre-busting acts that refuse to be labeled and, in the latter's case, release their music via traditional channels. Yup, the world scene is stirring like a cauldron about to bubble over -- and women appear to be holding the spoon.
The question now becomes: Are these winks to the past primed to bear real fruit? Are these pop musicians ready to take their reverence for Riot Grrrl beyond references -- right to action? And, in 2014 (soon to be '15): What would that rebellion look like? Hurling tampons is a start, guys, but it's time to pinpoint what we're fighting for -- and to use the burgeoning power of women in the music world to win that battle.