Joan Jett Was a Feminist Rock and Roll Pioneer

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by Grainne McCormick

Joan Jett—the rebellious woman of rock and roll.

Joan Jett took feminism to another level. Not only was she empowering women, but she was letting everyone know that women could do anything that a man could, that rock and roll wasn’t just a man’s world.

Her song “Bad Reputation” shows that she doesn’t care what people think of her, and that “a girl can do what she wants to do, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Joan Jett’s impact on the feminist movement had to do with all girl power. She and her band, The Runaways influenced women in the punk era of the ‘80s and ‘90s to stand up and be whatever they wanted to be, ignoring  what men thought.

She had a huge impact on the ‘90s movement ‘Riot Grrrl’ along with Patti Smith. ‘Riot Grrrl’ was a musical feminist movement in the early ‘90s that helped create a presence for female musicians. It attempted to get  rid of the idea that punk was only for men.

It wanted everyone to view musicians as musicians first, not as “oh, that’s a woman singing a punk song,” just a musician singing a punk song. Jett’s image as a feminist grew during this time as she stood as a strong figure for female musicians/music fans everywhere.

Would there be punk female artists, like Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless, today if it weren’t for Joan Jett and the other Riot Grrrl musical feminists?  We don’t know. But, thank you Joan Jett and the many women of the musical feminist movements for empowering women and letting us know we can be whatever we want to be.

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