Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 02:17 am est

Kathleen Hanna brings girl power to NYU

Posted on March 10, 2014 | by Sam Del Rowe

via facebook

Musician and feminist activist Kathleen Hanna held a lecture at the Kimmel Center for University Life on March 6, attracting a large group of students that filled the room to capacity. Hanna is best known for being a member of the punk band Bikini Kill and an important figure in the riot grrrl movement. Recently, her ventures include being a part of the multimedia electronic group Le Tigre and her current band, the Julie Ruin.

In her lecture, Hanna spoke about the importance of language in feminism and its role in female empowerment. She said by the end of the riot grrrl movement in 1996, the language of feminism had undergone a change.

“I felt the language we had made to empower ourselves, for lack of a better phrase or word, was just stolen and cheapened and didn’t mean anything,” Hanna said. “I felt like I had kind of lost language.”

Hanna discussed how girl power has been appropriated by teen magazines that feature nearly naked female pop stars. Hanna said this loss of language is almost irrelevant because artists such as herself are constantly creating new language to voice their ideas, which she does with her musical projects.

Hanna also spoke about her work at the Willie Mae Rock Camp for girls, where she mentors young aspiring female musicians. She explained that this work fulfills the riot grrrl goal of involving younger women in bands and the music world. Although the original riot grrrl movement ended, Hanna continues to voice her strength through her work in musical projects and the mentoring of young female artists.

During the question-and-answer session, students asked Hanna about applying feminism in everyday situations, especially when faced with the sexism and misogyny prevalent in today’s society. As a response, Hanna discussed how people can find ways to incorporate feminism into what they love to do, as she did with music. She half-jokingly said if someone really loved gardening, they could find a way to combine feminism with gardening. Hanna’s point was that feminism can exist in many ways, not being constricted to a movement, medium or time period.

Gallatin senior and Program Board co-chair Sara Intrator introduced Hanna, describing the activist as one of her personal heroes.

“I’ve seen her speak before, and every one of her projects can be a savior for these people,” Intrator said.

Intrator was evidently not alone in her opinion, with many people lining up after the lecture to talk and take photos with Hanna.

Tisch junior Kevin Patterson said Hanna’s lecture was impressive.

“A lot of the topics [Hanna discussed] are still ignored in mainstream examinations of gender roles,” Patterson said. “It was [also] great to see the subjects and background on a lot of the art she makes.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 10 print edition. Sam Del Rowe is a staff writer. Email him at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.