Kathleen Hanna on revisiting pain, and Katy Perry
“Keep on Livin’.” I was writing it originally about coming out as a sexual abuse survivor, but it can really be about any kind of emotional trauma, and you’re like, “I’m totally over it” and then you get reactivated about it. You’re like, “Jeez, I worked so hard. How am I back in the same place?” But each time you revisit it, it’s a little better. So many women have experienced horrific forms of male violence throughout their lives, and why isn’t there a song about how you get depressed because of it? And you don’t know what to do, and you don’t know how to talk to your friends and how weird it is to be a feminist in that situation, where there’s sort of the expectation that you’re super-strong superwoman but you’re just, like, eating pizza in your house avoiding talking about it. I started writing it, and (Le Tigre bandmate JD Samson) was like, “I see a real link between what I felt like as a kid when I was trying to come out as a lesbian.” As we were writing it, we were like, how does this song not exist already? It sounds really specific, but if you think about how many people a song like that would actually cover …”
CNN: What do you make of singers like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ke$ha who are seemingly touching on themes of gay empowerment in their music, but for some reason it doesn't quite resonate?
Hanna: I mean, is it really that different when it's a skinny white woman in a bathing suit singing these things? None of these women ever wear pants, first of all. Second of all, just because you're wearing a goofy hat doesn't make it performance art. I mean, that's just my feeling about it. A lot of the music just sounds like bad Euro disco, though that first Ke$ha song "TiK ToK" was good. But (Katy Perry's) "I Kissed a Girl" was just straight-up offensive. The whole thing is like, I kissed a girl so my boyfriend could masturbate about it later. It's disgusting. It's exactly every male fantasy of fake lesbian porn. It's pathetic. And she's not a good singer. I don't want to trash other women. I mean, I think Jason Mraz is horrible. It's not just like I hate other women performers. Jason Mraz, and the new James Blunt song is the worst thing that has ever been created on the face of the Earth.