Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The lead singer and songwriter for influential bands like Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, both praised and chastised into starting a band by Kathy Acker, and the sort of woman who screams back at misogyny whilst learning from her own past, exclusionary mistakes - Kathleen Hanna, I really wanna be your best friend.

— From Sarah C.


An electric, searing memoir by the original rebel girl and legendary front woman of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.

Hey girlfriend I got a proposition goes something like this: Dare ya to do what you want

Kathleen Hanna’s band Bikini Kill embodied the punk scene of the 90s, and today her personal yet feminist lyrics on anthems like “Rebel Girl” and “Double Dare Ya” are more powerful than ever. But where did this transformative voice come from?

In Rebel Girl, Hanna’s raw and insightful new memoir, she takes us from her tumul­tuous childhood to her formative college years and her first shows. As Hanna makes clear, being in a punk “girl band” in those years was not a simple or safe prospect. Male violence and antagonism threatened at every turn, and surviving as a singer who was a lightning rod for controversy took limitless amounts of determination.

But the relationships she developed during those years buoyed her, including with her bandmates Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, JD Samson, and Johanna Fateman. And her friendships with musicians like Kurt Cobain, Ian MacKaye, Kim Gordon, and Joan Jett reminded her that, despite the odds, the punk world could still nurture and care for its own. Hanna opens up about falling in love with Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys and her debilitating battle with Lyme disease, and she brings us behind the scenes of her musical growth in her bands Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin. She also writes candidly about the Riot Grrrl movement, documenting with love its grassroots origins but critiquing its exclusivity.

In an uncut voice all her own, Hanna reveals the hardest times along with the most joyful—and how they continue to fuel her revolutionary art and music.

About the Author

Kathleen Hanna is a punk singer, artist, and the front-woman of the influential bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Hanna is a staple in feminist publications, from college curriculums to bestselling books, and a leading voice in the punk feminist movement. She has been named one of the best live performers of our time, earning acclaim from Rolling Stone, the New York Times, NPR, Interview Magazine, V Magazine, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, BUST Magazine, NYLON, and Los Angeles Times, to name a few.

Praise For…

“Hanna’s book is raw, honest, poetic, insightful, and often funny. Her political evolution is particularly gratifying…An impressively perspicacious memoir from one of feminism’s most influential artists.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A fantastic journey into an unconventional life, pulsing with raw energy and vulnerability that I witnessed firsthand. It’s honest, funny, witty, and smart. And most of all, it's important to the herstory of Kathleen’s place in blazing new trails.” — Joan Jett 

“Until I started reading this book, the idea of Kathleen Hanna seemed more real to me than the person. But with every word, Kathleen exposes the fleshy humanness of being a cult icon on a mission. While Rebel Girl is as defiant as the song that inspired its title, there’s a counterweight of humility and openness that adds new perspective to the songs and stories of Kathleen’s life. This book is something special.” — Hayley Williams

“A no-holds-barred account…Hanna’s visceral prose captivates, and she’s refreshingly candid about the riot grrrl movement’s failures…It’s a raw and revealing portrait of a vital figure in the feminist punk scene.” — Publishers Weekly

“Hanna holds nothing back in a debut that traces her chaotic childhood through to founding the riot grrrl punk feminist movement and her time in such bands as Viva Knievel and Le Tigre. Visceral prose is undergirded by clear-eyed insight into the flaws of early punk feminist activism—including its overwhelming whiteness—making this a memoir with depth and edge to spare.” — One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 15 Summer Reads

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062825230
ISBN-10: 0062825232
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: May 14th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English