Constructions of Femininity within the Punk Subculture

Essay by x562cambria562xUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2006

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The punk movement is a boys' movement. The culture is made by boys and for boys. However, that hasn't stopped girls from trying to eke out a place for themselves. While boys make up the majority of the subculture and the majority of the rules about the subculture, girls still have a visible presence with in it. However, as Leblanc states, "[Punk is] a subculture that portrays itself as being egalitarian, and even feminist, but is actually far from being either." (Pretty in Punk, 3) To be a female in this culture is to walk a tightrope between the norms of femininity and the masculinity of punk. It is possible however and there are two main ways it can be done. The first is by sublimating all signs of femininity and the second is by subverting the masculine punk rules to fit into femininity. The second often involves creating a paradox of masculinity and femininity or creating a parody of society's views on femininity.

Why do girls ever join the punk subculture when it is so blatantly favored toward men? The main reason is a simple rejection of society's expectations and a refusal to be pigeonholed into the typically feminine box. In a society where women are generally lesser beings and expected to fit a very rigid and demeaning mold, many girls find themselves searching for a way to escape that future. For many of them, punk is the answer. Leblanc reports several punk girls stating this very thing. As Denise, a young punk girls said, " . . . I got to ninth grade and I was just like, 'I'm not going to play anymore. I don't care . . .This is not me, this is not what I want to do, [these are] not the people I like,