The Feminist eZine

Toronto Website Design & Toronto SEO

Grrl Power Music / Feminist Music

Feminist music (sometimes known as women's music, womyn's music, wimmin's music) is typically music for women by women, and not necessarily on a feminist topic but often more about shared women's experiences. The genre picked up pace during the 2nd wave feminist movement of the 1960s-1970s (sometimes tied together peace activism, lesbian rights and ethnic rights depending on the background and beliefs of the musicians) and is readily available online if you look for mp3s by the following people:

  • Cris Williamson
  • Meg Christian
  • Margie Adam
  • Bernice Johnson Reagon
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock
  • Holly Near

    During the late 1960s and early 1970s there were few real opportunities for female musicians and performers who were often facing discrimination and taken advantage of by record labels and agents combined. For feminist musicians the task was more difficult and major record labels only signed a few feminist bands including Fanny, Birtha, The Deadly Nightshade, Goldie and the Gingerbreads and the band Isis. The lack of feminist music in the mainstream made it necessary for these women to sell their music outside of the mainstream music market. Lesbian and feminist market separatism meant however that while their market was smaller, they were at least independent and were not sharing revenue.

    In 1972, Maxine Feldman, an openly gay performer since 1964, recorded the first lesbian single record, "Angry Atthis," (Atthis was lover of the poet Sappho).

    In 1973, Alix Dobkin, flautist Kay Gardner, and bassist Patches Attom created the group Lavender Jane, and recorded an album entitled "Lavender Jane Loves Women", the very first full-length album for and by lesbians.

    In the same year the feminist all women band The Chicago Liberation Rock Band recorded "Mountain Movin' Day". These early recordings were successful despite the word of mouth promotion and were sold through mail order and in a few lesbian-feminist bookstores.

    Olivia Records, the first women's music record label, was created in 1973. Selling via mail order, Olivia Records released Meg Christian's "I Know You Know" and Cris Williamson's "The Changer and the Changed", which was one of the all-time best selling albums on any independent label during the early 1970s, and was also the first LP to be entirely produced by women. "Changer" is the all-time best-selling album to come out of the women's music genre.

    Other independent labels and distributors since then include:

  • Wise Woman/Urana
  • Pleiades
  • Righteous Babe Records
  • Redwood Records
  • Goldenrod Music
  • Ladyslipper
  • WILD (Women's Independent Labels Distributors)

    In 1978, a national booking company, Roadwork Inc. was formed to promote women artists.

    Between 1984 and 1994, "HOT WIRE: The Journal of Women's Music and Culture" was published by feminist volunteers in Chicago. Founded by Toni Armstrong Jr., Ann Morris, Michele Gautreaux, and Yvonne Zipter the publication focused exclusively on lesbian feminist musicians, festivals, venues, and various topics pertaining to writing, theater, dance, comedy, and the arts. "HOT WIRE" was published three times / year and each 64-page issue included a soundsheet with at least four songs by lesbian and/or feminist artists. Many of the women from the journal are still active in the women's music business, but the market has now shifted largely online.

    The first women's music festival occurred in 1973 at Sacramento State University. From 1973 to 1976 many other festivals were organized including the first National Women's Music Festival at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 1974.

    Other festivals include:

  • The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, created 1976 and now the the largest women's music festival in the United States.
  • Lilith Fair, which toured from 19971999.
  • LadyFest, created in 2000.
  • The Women's International Music Festival, created in 2004.
  • Los Angeles Women's Music Festival, created in 2007.

    Ani DiFranco

    Below to the Right: Ani DiFranco, Jess Klein & Kinnie Starr - Three of the Biggest Divas in the Feminist Music Business.

    Feminist Music
    Guide to Feminist Music
    Feminist Music Mutineers
    Feminist Research in Music Education
    We Are the Grrls: Women in Music Before, During, and After Riot Grrl
    Women's Radio
    Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band: Origins
    Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band: Cultural Transformation
    Feminist Music in Canada
    Feminist Music for Feminists by Feminists
    Punk Rock Grrl
    Grammy Schmammy
    Scars & Guitars
    Beat Sex
    SupaFly Grrl
    Bite the Apple!
    Lounge Singers
    Metal Grrls
    Tiny Divas
    The New Madonna
    The History of Riot Grrls in Music
    Madonna's Like a Virgin
    From Girl to Woman to Grrl
    Ani DiFranco - Biography, Music & Quotes

    The following is a list of musicians who create feminist / girl power songs.

  • Adrianne
  • Alison Tartalia
  • Alix Olson
  • Amanda Garrigues
  • Anastacia
  • Andrea Maybaum
  • Ani DiFranco
  • Ann Klein
  • Ariana Daner
  • Bikini Kill
  • Bitch and Animal
  • Bjork
  • Brenda Weiler
  • Brigid Boden
  • Carla Buffa
  • Catatonia
  • Christina Fasano
  • Cranberries Jess Klein
  • Dar Williams
  • Dido
  • Dominique Gizelle
  • Doria Roberts
  • Elisa Peimer
  • Ellen Rosner
  • Eurythmics
  • Fefe Dobson
  • Garbage
  • Georgette Dashielle
  • Halley DeVestern
  • Hepburn
  • Holly Figueroa Band
  • Imani Coppola
  • Indigo Girls
  • Inkubus Sukkubus
  • Jen Cass
  • Jess Klein
  • Jorane
  • k.d. lang
  • Kellee Bradley
  • Kim Stockwood
  • Kinnie Starr
  • Leah-Carla Gordone
  • Lesli Wood
  • Lisa Loen
  • Lisa Richards
  • Liz Phair
  • Little Failures Kinnie Starr
  • Madonna
  • Marina Vittoria
  • Melanie Sparks Band
  • Meryn Cadell
  • Michelle Malone
  • Mutual Hate Society
  • Nancy Sinatra
  • Natalie Imbruglia
  • Neon Venus
  • No Doubt
  • Patti Witten
  • Paula Cole
  • Pink
  • Sara Lee
  • Sarah Harmer
  • Sarah McLaughlin
  • Sarai
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Splendora
  • Sue Jeffers
  • Susan Court
  • The Painted ID
  • Weeping Tile


    Alix Olson - Armpit Hair

    Catatonia - The Ballad of Tom Jones

    Dar Williams - When I Was A Boy

    Halley DeVestern - Animal

    Lesli Wood - The Last Thing You Feel

    Disclaimer: These samples are meant to encourage people to buy CDs of artists they may never have heard of. We do not intend any copyright infringement.

  • Art History - Automotives - Canada - Entertainment - Environmental - Fashion - Feminism - Gothic - Health - Politics - Religion - Technology