Tom Taylor examines the duty of womales in punk. For Issue #18 ‘Rising’.

You are watching: Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard

On February 2first 2012, five women walked right into the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow wearing thick winter hair coats. They approached the altar, then all of a sudden jumped onto it, throwing their coats to the ground to disclose colourful outfits. Each womale wore a knitted fluorescent balaclava, in stark comparison to the babsence suits of the males that, within seconds, rushed to rerelocate them from the altar. Dodging the defense guards, they started to punch the air and also dance approximately, shouting lyrics to their latest song: ‘Mvarious other of God, Drive Putin Away’.

Thirty-5 years previously, Marianne Joan Elliot-Said saw watch the Sex Pistols on Hastings Pier for her 19th birthday. Inspired by the punk band’s raw, do-it-yourself mindset, she made a decision to create her own band: X-Ray Spex.

There is no indication that the womales protrial and error Putin’s misogynistic, authoritarian program in Moscow, who announced themselves to the world as Pussy Riot, were inspired straight by X-Ray Spex. Yet, it’s difficult not to make comparisons once listening to Marianne, who performed under the name ‘Poly Styrene’, scream, ‘Some people think little girls need to be watched and not heard / But I say… Oh Bondage! Up yours!’, at the opening of her 1977 single.

Born of Somali and also British heritage in 1957, Marianne was well-known for her uncompromising, energetic vocals and composed around topics from consumerism to feminism. She cut with the sexualised, male-overcame record market, when stating that ‘I shelp that I wasn’t a sex symbol and also that if anybody tried to make me one I’d shave my head tomorrow.’

In an intercheck out through the Guardian in April 2017, Marianne’s daughter explained: ‘Even Mum didn’t prefer a lot about punk, also. There was lots she uncovered amazing, of course, however she’d tell me plenty of the negative stuff: the aggressiveness of the crowds, the spitting on stage, how exceptionally few womales were existing at many kind of of these gigs – and just how that made her terribly anxious about performing.’

X Ray Spex only released one album, ‘Germcost-free Adolescents’, which acquired important acinsurance claim and is related to by many kind of punk fans and also music doubters as a classical of the genre. Whilst the band’s music can even more quickly be labelled anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist than feminist, the exceptionally reality that Marianne appeared as a solid frontwoman in a heavily male overcame market influenced feminist punks for years to come.

Six musicians have actually made up X Ray Spex because their formation: Poly Styrene (vocals), Lora Logic (saxophone), Jak Airport (guitar), Paul Dean (bass) and B.P Hurding (drums). Pussy Riot have actually a largely anonymous revolving membership of around elalso woguys. They were founded in August 2011, influenced by the 90’s Riot grrrl motion and groups such as Oi!, Bikini Kill and the Cockney Rejects.

Pussy Riot rejects what they view as methodical discrimination versus women in Russia and also the merging of Putin’s federal government through the Russian Orthodox Church. Journalist Elianna Kan emphasises that the band also has to be seen in the context of Russia, wbelow highly conservative opinions on sex and the function of woguys in society are the norm and often enshrined in policy.


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Weeks after their Cathedral performance, three members of the group were arrested and also shamed in what was fundamentally a present trial. Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and also Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were hosted without bail and inevitably sentenced to 2 years in priboy. The trials attracted international attention, motivating equivalent protests around the human being and prompting Amnesty International to criticise the Russian federal government. The check out in Russia, yet, was a lot even more crucial of what many saw as indefensible blasphemy versus the Church.

Pussy Riot continue to percreate and also protest, via a noticeably better manufacturing budgain, and also made headlines with ‘Make America Great Again’ in October 2016 which heavily criticised the U.S President’s sexist and misogynistic perspectives. Marianne sadly passed ameans in April 2011 at the age of 53 having released a last album ‘Generation Indigo’ which obtained wonderful reviews.

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X-Ray Spex and Pussy Riot, although various in many kind of respects, both influenced woguys approximately the people to climb up against oppressive regimes and patriarchal societies. Watching Nadezhda Tolokonnikova scream in defiance in Red Square and Marianne wail in her distinctive style on The Old Grey Whistle Test, is certainly inspiring to me.