When Riot Grrl band Sleater-Kinney dissolved in 2006, I was about to be a senior in high school, and I was devastated. All major (or minor) life events can seem traumatic when you’re 17, but Sleater-Kinney’s dissolution hit me hard. As a fairly rebellious teenager and wannabe punk, it sucked that so much of the rock ‘n roll music I loved was run by men, and Sleater-Kinney felt rebellious simply by daring to exist in a man’s scene. So when it was announced last year that a new album was due out in January, I was beyond thrilled. That album, No Cities to Love, did not disappoint.
Sleater-Kinney was feminist before feminism was cool. They have been unapologetically spouting truth about feminism since the mid-90s, and making damn good music while doing so. In 1996, they demanded a seat at the boys table, singing “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.” In 1997, they used catchy hooks to put overgrown man-children on blast in “Little Babies,” a song about how women are sometimes expected to play mother-by-proxy to men in adult relationships. Even after the band dissolved, member Carrie Brownstein (non-SK fans know her from the hit IFC show, Portlandia) composed the score for the feminist art documentary, !Women Art Revolution.
Not content to rest on their feminist laurels, Sleater-Kinney will once again be taking Planned Parenthood on tour this year (the band first joined forces with the organization in 2000, for their All Hands on the Bad One tour):
“For Planned Parenthood, Sleater-Kinney has always been about so much more than just the music. Sleater-Kinney has been one of the most empowering voices for women’s health and rights in music in recent years,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to connect with people across the country who want to join us in the movement to ensure all women — no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they have — can make the health care decisions that are right for their lives.”
The tour kicks off tomorrow in Spokane, WA and Planned Parenthood will be “handing out free condoms, urging supporters to get involved with local Planned Parenthood organizations, and asking concertgoers to take the My Health, My Life, No Matter What pledge, which calls on legislators to stop interfering in women’s health care decisions.” If you can’t make a show, consider buying one of the badass, limited edition Planned Parenthood + Sleater-Kinney t-shirts (designed by LA Artist Molly Schiot):
Sleater-Kinney is a fantastic reminder that activism takes many forms, and one of those is art. Do yourself a favor and check out one of their albums, go to a show, and support a great organization at the same time!
Featured Image by Comtesse DeSpair