Favorite Video of the Week: Early Punk Girl bands

Typical Girls-The Slits

White Mice-Mo-Dettes, 1979

Lola-The Raincoats


As I was compiling this gathering of clips, I realized something significant and a little depressing. These women were ahead of their time and unfortunately, the times never caught up with them. In fact, it seems in terms of the creativeness that existed during this time period – pushing boundaries, challenging institutions and assumptions – not only did we not continue, we somehow regressed. I’m not being nostalgic for the late 70s but these women, their music, their messages should have been a catalyst for those of us involved in the creative fields now. And yet, it seems many trajectories died out and in the process of re-creation much was lost and forgotten.

Take the band, Mika Miko who I like and have identified some of the above groups as their influences. They are carrying on the musical traditions but are the boundaries in message and meaning being pushed? Are the days of defiance and challenge to institutions gone? I’m not necessarily trying to criticize, I’m trying to find out. It’s an issue that’s sort of consumed me these past few months.

Lyrics for Typical Girls

Don’t create
Don’t rebel
Have intuition
Can’t decide

Typical girls get upset to quickly
Typical girls can’t control themselves
Typical girls are so confusing
Typical girls – you can always tell
Typical girls don’t think too clearly
Typical girls are all predictable

Typical girls try to be
Typical girls very well

Typical girls are looking for something
Typical girls fall under spells
Typical girls buy magazines
Typical girls feel like hell
Typical girls worry about spots, fat, and natural smells
Sniky fake smells

Typical girls try to be
Typical girls very well

Don’t create
Don’t rebel
Have intution
Don’t drive well

Typical girls try to be
Typical girls very well

Can’t decide what clothes to wear
Typical girls are sensitive
Typical girls are emotional
Typical girls are cruel and bewitching
She’s a femme fatale
Typical girls stand by their man
Typical girls are really swell
Typical girls learn how to act shocked
Typical girls don’t rebel

Who invented the typical girl?
Who’s bringing out the new improved model?
And there’s another marketing ploy
Typical girl gets the typical boy

The typical boy gets the typical girl
The typical girl gets the typical boy

Are emotional

5 thoughts on “Favorite Video of the Week: Early Punk Girl bands

  1. Kevin says:

    I think the resurgence of “feminism” in music in the early 90’s with Riot Grrrl really followed through with the spirit of these bands, but after that, nothing. They were setting everything up for huge strides in music/creativity in the 21st century and it really went nowhere. I think events like Ladyfest really tried, but weren’t able to keep the momentum going. A shame really….

  2. Chimatli says:

    Kevin, Thanks so much for your comment. You’re totally right and yes, I sorta skipped over the whole Riot Grrl movement (oops!) which at one point was really significant before being totally recuperated. It’s amazing to me to think that amazing bands like Bikini Kill somehow lead to the worst of groups like Spice Girls. The lines aren’t direct but they are there.
    I heard there was a Ladyfest event here in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, so at least there are a few folks still trying.

  3. Raquefella says:


    First off, thanks for the comments on my blog. I appreciate you being able to connect with hipster anxieties. ūüôā

    Secondly, I often think about the wear and tear of constantly needing to prove yourself and break doors and ceilings down, the kinda terrain that comes with being a woman ahead of her time. There’s a different hustle to our muscle.

    I went to the Ladyfest here a few weeks ago and seeing young girls discover the alternatives to mainstream renderings of femininity warms my heart. Youth gaining gender consciousness is thankfully alive and well, at least amongst raza women.

  4. Julio says:

    I recently saw Mika Miko and I would have to say although the energy of the music is there the sense of defiance is waning. Seeing thoroughly √ɬľber-fashioned hip young people with Mika Miko tote bags not dancing at all when they played is a sign of this. In fact, the whole Smell scene (I am now finding out) is now being taking over by younger kids that know nothing of what DIY is or means. You can tell by how eagerly folks are wanting to snap photos of the bands or treating the band members as rock stars.

    It’s sad frankly. I know the Smell has had this DIY ethos but its lost since no one, it seems, really says what it’s about. It’s not an innate response to creating music, it’s a very pro-creative, anti-corporate response. Of course this is through my jaded eyes. I haven’t been in any way part of that scene in years.

    Alright now I’m just ranting and I may be wrong.

    And I’ll still dance to “End of Time” by Mika Miko.

  5. Chimatli says:

    Hi Julio! Thanks for commenting, I was curious about your take on things. I can totally see how The Smell could be devoured by those searching for the next hip thing (kids from the OC). The LA Weekly even had a whole article about it:

    I remember the first time I saw Mika Miko at one of Sandra’s parties at the A-House many years ago. I thought it was kinda cool how they sounded so old school punk and dressed like their grannies but I didn’t think much else about it. Not to diss them or anything but I was like “where’s the rebellion?” Anyways, I’m glad to hear from others on the subject cause I was feeling all old lady about the topic.

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