Working Through Post-Election Grief with This Riot Grrrl Playlist

by Michael Anthony Farley on November 18, 2016 Lists + Off Our Chest


For many of us feminists, the election of Donald Trump might just be the single worst event we’ve collectively experienced. This statement needs no litany of examples to back it up. 

Of course, many people—myself included—have been glued to social media, religiously reading political commentary, the news, and critical theory to help process how royally fucked the world is. But honestly, the only thing that I have found to be remotely comforting is feminist punk.

Here’s my suggested playlist, paired with a stage of grieving correlated to each song.

Furious Disbelief: Babes in Toyland, “Ripe”

From the 1990 EP To Mother

This is the soundtrack to the moments I find myself thinking “This can’t be happening,” alternately crying, laughing, and screaming.

“I now own all these wrong ways I’ve been shown
I know, I know, I know, shut up!
All the rapists keep asking me for cigarettes.
I just try to grab hold of a solid piece of pavement and pray that….

This song captures the feeling of getting the rug grabbed out from under your feet, and the urge to tell everyone to fuck off when they attempt to impose some sense of logical reality upon the situation. Nothing makes sense right now.

Vindicative Rage: Le Tigre, “FYR”

From the 2001 album Feminist Sweepstakes
You’re pissed-off, at a corrupt political system and all the gas-lighters who’ve ever told you the world isn’t a misogynistic, racist, homophobic capitalist fuckscape. Released after George Bush’s similar electoral college victory, this song is particularly appropriate today. I want to start a petition to make this the national anthem:

“Ten short years of progressive change
Fifty fucking years of calling us names.
Can we trade Title Nine for an end to hate crime?
RU-486 if we suck your fucking dick?
One step forward, five steps back.”

And the most fitting lyrics:

“On-the-job stalker for equal pay.
Toss us a few new AIDS drugs, as national healthcare bites the dust.
While you were on vacation, black people didn’t get reparations.
‘You know these days no one’s exploited…’
Sorry dude can’t hear you with my head in the toilet.
Feminists we’re calling you!
Please report to the front desk!
Let’s name this phenomenon!
It’s too dumb to bring us down!
Fifty years of ridicule!
take another picture…
You’ve really come a long way baby,
It’s you, not the world, that’s totally crazy.
Cuz we really rocked the fuckin’ vote,
with election fraud in poor zip codes.
Celebrate gay marriage in Vermont,
by enforcing those old sodomy laws.
One step forward, five steps back.
We tell the truth they turn up the laugh track.”

Angry Crying: Bikini Kill, “R.I.P (Rest In Pissoff-ed ness)”

From the 1996 album Reject All American 

This song, also with vocals by Kathleen Hanna, was written for a friend who died of AIDS-related complications. This is the song you listen to when it sinks in that two of your friends have been the victims of hate crimes in the past week, and it’s likely only going to get worse from here, and you literally can’t stop crying about how unfair this all is.

“But no one said life was easy
Yeah, but no one said, no one said
Nothing’s supposed to happen right?
No, no one told me anything
To prepare me for fucking this

There’s another boy genius who’s fucking gone
Don’t tell me it don’t matter
Don’t tell me I’ve had three days to get over it
It won’t go away
It just won’t go away.”

Vicarious Catharsis: Pussy Riot, “Kropotkin Vodka”

Posted online in 2011

When people tell you “you need to practice radical self-care right now” and what you want to say is “the truest form of self-care I could be practicing right now is setting fire to a dumpster in the middle of 5th Avenue,” this is the video for you. Pussy Riot shot this, guerrilla-style,  at various luxury businesses owned or patronized by Putinists. The Russian lyrics are a veritable “Semiotics of the Kitchen” in which various implements of domestic labor ar taken to the streets for a revolution. We probably can’t actually light a Trump-owned beauty pageant or luxury boutique on fire and then spray the attendees with foam, but how good does it feel to fantasize?

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