At WYBCx Yale Radio’s season-opener Saturday, Raechel Rosen circumcised a banana to close the set of her band, The Coven of Mima Good.
Intending to give a voice to artists frequently rendered voiceless in mainstream society, co-organizers A.R. Canzano ’18 and Sara McCartney ’19 selected an all-female line-up for its first show of the year, McCartney said. The concert featured three Boston and New York City-based bands: Digital Prisoners of War, The Coven of Mima Good and Human People.
“In light of the homogeneity of previous radio house line-ups, it was important to carve out a space for female-fronted groups,” McCartney said.
McCartney added that rock historically comes from marginalized communities, and punk, a subset that emerged within the genre in the 1970s, specifically acts as a means for minority groups to express themselves. Since punk is a natural voice of outrage, she said, it is well-suited to serve as a channel for the expression of modern feminist thought.
Punk music’s origin as an art form with an inherently do-it-yourself spirit makes it accessible to individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds, McCartney said. In conjunction with the emergence of third-wave feminism, the development of the Riot Grrrl subgenre in the 1990s — fronted by the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, and the X-Ray Spex — paved the way for an extended visibility of diverse musical performers, she added.
Marisa Gershenhorn, guitarist and vocalist of Human People, highlighted the disparity between males and females in the music industry, noting that the term “male group” is nearly nonexistent, as bands comprised of “white, straight, cis[gendered] males” are considered the norm. Human People, by contrast, is frequently cited as a “female group.”
“Punk is music for outsiders,” Gershenhorn said, “so it makes sense that now the best punk or DIY bands are female, or people of color or queer.”
Raechel Rosen, the frontwoman of The Coven of Mima Good, called her sensationalistic faux circumcision, during which she peeled and cut a banana with a pair of scissors, was a nuanced response to the intrinsic misogyny and objectification of women in media. She pointed to hip-hop singer Nicki Minaj’s music video for her song “Anaconda” as a direct source of inspiration, as Minaj also chops a banana in her performances.
Rosen added that the broader genre of rock has yet to break through the same gender barriers as punk.
“Rock and roll in particular is very male-dominated,” Rosen said. “Women deserve to rage … out.”
Rosen said that while Mima Good is frequently categorized as punk due to its strong female presence and the powerful pro-female messages in its lyricism, her band considers itself rock and hopes to open a conversation about diversity within the genre, pushing for the reclamation of rock and roll from its “history of abusive boys.”
WYBC hosts Ante-Fling, a showcase of alternative artists, at Toad’s Place each April.
This article has been updated to remove references to a private residence.