16. Bikini Kill
Years active: 1990 - 1997 Influenced: Riot Grrrl Hometown: Olympia, Washington Jam: "Rebel Girl." What sounds like a rock song is actually about two riot grrls becoming best friends—which really is the perfect form of revolution.
Feminists everywhere still breathe the words Bikini Kill with bated and adoring breath—and with good reason. Not only did these female rockers bring their distinctive identity politics into their music with fierceness and style, but they made some excellent music regardless of agenda or affiliation. Kathleen Hanna almost single-handedly originated the riot grrrl movement associated with third wave feminism and addressing major issues like rape, domestic abuse, patriarchy and female empowerment. The band formed in Olympia, WA in 1990 and were known for their abrasive, hardcore sound and encouragement of a female-centric environment. They originally began working together on a 'zine called Bikini Kill, but a band of the same name quickly developed. The band's debut album Pussy Whipped is regarded as a sort of treatise on the riot grrrl movement. Although the group disbanded in 1997 after only three full-length records, their feminist, rock ideals are still pervasive in current critical culture.