Pauline Black, The Selecter and Siouxsie Sioux, Siouxsie and the Banshees
Punk had swept away all that had gone before and it was a time of reinvention really for women. There’s a very, very famous photograph that has myself, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Viv Albertine, Siouxsie Sioux and Poly Styrene all collected together for the front cover of an NME and those were the women who did change the pop landscape.
Pauline Black, The Selecter
I think the first time I would have seen Siouxsie and the Banshees would have been Top of the Pops, 1980, when they were on there doing Happy House. It stayed with me and I could tell that, you know, there was a lot of depth to what Siouxsie was doing.
She, as an icon, was never a sex symbol. Her entire career was about refusing the male gaze, refusing to be sexualised in that way, refusing to be submissive to the male leer. In rock and roll terms that was a real first. She’s quite a kind of forbidding presence, really. There was a real toughness to Siouxsie, this refusal to compromise. And, I think fans, whether male or female, respected that. I got it completely.
I was really shy, cripplingly shy, at the time. I loved the idea that I could walk down the street looking quite alien and quite freakish and people would look at me, they’d stare, but they’d keep their distance. And I think Siouxsie inspired that in a way, because you cannot take your eyes off her. But you don’t want to get too close, because she is, frankly, terrifying.
ok so this list is waaaay far from complete but here’s a list of some of my favorite bands with women in them. it’s a pretty diverse list (like seriously - classic rock to metal to indie pop), so there should be something for everyone. most of them are female fronted, there are also a couple girl bands and bands with women playing instruments. each band is listed with their genre(s) and also a song that I feel exemplifies them pretty well (although that’s mostly personal opinion). a couple also have some cool facts added bc why not. feel free to add your own faves!
Paramore - pop punk/ alternative; “Brick by Boring Brick” - probably one of the better known female fronted bands, and by far the best known in the pop punk/ emo scene.
PVRIS - rock; “My House” - they’re a very new band but they’re becoming popular very quickly which is super rad because one, they’re amazing, and two, the lead singer Lynn Gunn also plays guitar (which is cool bc lots of bands have female singers but not very many have women who play instruments) and is openly gay.
We Are The In Crowd - pop punk; “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”
Crystalyne - pop rock; “Punks Don’t Dance” - they’re super underrated imho so do yourself a favor and go check them out
Tonight Alive - pop punk; “What Are You Afraid Of”
Hey Violet (formerly Cherri Bomb) - pop punk/ alternative; “I Can Feel It” - they’ve been associating with 5sos a lot lately but don’t let that tarnish your opinion of them bc they’re an amazing all girl band!! and as if that weren’t enough, they were super young when they got together - they were all fourteen year olds, I think.
Bikini Kill - riot grrrl punk; “Rebel Girl” - required listening if you wanna be a real punk (as opposed to a fob punk)
Be Your Own Pet - punk; “Black Hole”
Against Me - punk/ alternative; “Unconditional Love” - the lead singer is a trans woman (Laura Jane Grace) which is hella cool
CHVRCHES - pop rock/ electronic rock; “The Mother We Share”
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - riot grrrl punk; “Bad Reputation”
Halestorm - rock/ metal; “I Miss the Misery”
The Pretty Reckless - rock/ alternative; “Heaven Knows”
Save Ferris - ska punk; “Nobody But Me” - honestly they’re what got me into punk
Fleetwood Mac - soft rock/ British rock; “Go Your Own Way”
Bratmobile - riot grrrl punk; “Feels Blind” - also required listening for punk girls (haha jk it’s punk there’s no required listening but seriously do yourself a favor and check ‘em out)
The Cranberries - Irish rock; “Zombie” - THEIR LEAD SINGER’S VOICE IS SO PRETTY OH MY GOD
Flyleaf - alternative/ metal; “All Around Me”
Cobra Starship - pop punk; “The City’s at War” - the lead singer is a dude but their keytarist and backup vocalist Victoria Asher is a (rad) lady
Neon Trees - pop rock; “Love in the 21st Century” - again, the lead singer’s a dude (but he is openly gay which is great), but the drummer is a girl HOW COOL IS THAT seriously how often do you hear about female drummers
there’s a discouraging amount of attention given to bands w/ women in the “”pop punk/emo”” scene, and in music in general, so I thought I’d list some that I like. pls give these artists a listen and add more, I need more ladies to listen to!
the women of some hella talented bands : from top to bottom- jenna mcdougall from tonight alive, lynn gunn from PVRIS, hayley williams from paramore, and sydney sierota from echosmith (pics are not mine!)