Here are a few choice cutlets from a beautiful article at AnotherMag.com on punks, feminism and sexuality:

“…Punk was a time of Poly Styrene, The Slits, Palmolive, Siouxsie Sioux. It was a time during which women were reclaiming their identity and sexuality from that of the swinging sixties and, as Ari Up explains in Typical Girls?, “Punk really started with equality of girls. There’s a whole culture – the first looks of so-called punk, so many girls contributed to that. And of course Vivienne Westwood, there was a window for female expression in punk when it started.” Aggressively dismantling stereotypes around feminine docility, women in punk wore fishnets, bared their breasts and wrapped themselves in leather not to appeal to a patriarchal notion of sexuality but to reclaim it…

As Patti Smith once said, “As far as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag” – and deconstructing binary gender roles and liberating sartorial decisionmaking from them was a key part of punk’s aesthetic. Women were free to adopt traditionally masculine roles on stage, in their lives and within their wardrobes; men were free to apply as much lipstick as they pleased and everyone looked far cooler for it. Putting into practice the tenets that later became the foundations of third wave feminism, punk promoted anarchy within the gender spectrum – both sartorially and politically – and lay the groundwork for the revolutionary feminism to follow…

“Oh Bondage Up Yours!” screamed Poly Styrene – and, while punk promoted freedom from the bondage of capitalism, it embraced it within its wardrobe. Worn for a combination of shock value and as a parodic commentary on the masochism of consumer culture, it confronted both prudishness and political apathy and has remained an emblem reappropriated by anyone from Rihanna to Beyonce looking to assert an aesthetic cool…”

Full article and more pictures by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon here.


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