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origins in the 1950s and 60s to today, from the national scene to the local, you find men outnumbering woman in a landslide. Even in alternative, indie, or punk scenes, this largely holds true. And while it’s easy to cherry pick names from throughout musical history that proved exceptions to the rule, that doesn’t really provide a rebuttal to the problem. Fortunately, in the late 80s and early 90s, a musical-political-cultural movement labeled “Riot Grrrl” emerged in the punk and indie scenes of DC and the Pacific Northwest. The movement was centered around punk rock and performance, but was also explicitly concerned with zine culture, DIY feminism, politics, organizing, and, above all, empowering women in any and every way possible. Bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Sleater-Kinney were outspoken and brash, with an in-your-face desire to create a safe space for women in a punk rock—and rock and roll—culture which far too often victimized or cast them aside. What does this have to do with Columbia’s music scene circa 2013? Well, that’s what we here at Jasper are curious about. So we sat down with what are arguably the inheritors—or at least beneficiaries—of the riot grrrl movement in town to figure it out: Jessica Oliver (Can’t Kids, people person, falling off a building, Hauswerk), Ony Ratsimbaharison (Chemical Peel, Potty Mouth, Hauswerk), and Zoe Lollis (Burnt Books). The three women all know each other— Lollis and Ratsimbaharison went to Dreher High School together, and Oliver and Ratsimbaharison both play in Hauswerk—and share somewhat typical stories about how they got into music. Lollis got into the punk scene in high school along with Ratsimbaharison and later picked up the banjo while briefly inspired by the folk train-hopper tradition (“I ended up sounding nothing like that,” she says. “But I like what I do more than that stuff though—it’s more original, I think.”) Ratsimbaharison started playing guitar through her high school’s classical guitar program, although she quickly veered towards the punk scene and the elec-

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Profile for Muddy Ford Press. LLC

Jasper Magazine  

Vol. 002 No. 004

Jasper Magazine  

Vol. 002 No. 004