In September 2015, we started riot grrrl night #genesisters. We spent hours making tiny flags for the top of cupcakes, writing ‘girls to the front’ signs and making bunting from coloured felt. We screened The Punk Singer (Sini Anderson, 2013), the incredible documentary on Kathleen Hanna, and the amazing Majorettes played live. Our holding slide for Screen 1 read ‘I’m so sorry that I’m alienating some of you, your whole f**king culture alienates me’ (Bikini Kill – White Boy).
It’s rare that you get an opportunity to help organise something you really believe in. It’s so important to have women on stage, to have girls at the front, to create a space that’s dedicated to prioritising those who identify as women, prioritising the LGBTQ+ community, prioritising women of colour. I’m tired of only seeing male bands at gigs or events, playing to a largely male audience – and #genesisters, I hope, is helping to undo that.
We were inspired by Hanna’s ‘girls to the front’ policy of the 90s DIY riot grrrl movement, which prioritised safe spaces for women at punk gigs. Footage of a Bikini Kill gig in The Punk Singer shows her saying, ‘all girls to the front. I’m not kidding. All boys be cool, for once in your lives. Go back.’
For the second instalment in January 2016, we were excited to have zine and merch stalls from Girls/Club zine, Susanna Sews, Love Sex Hate Sexism, Rudy Loewe, Eliza Agar Press and Queen Mary University’s LGBT+ Society. Before our screening of We Are The Best (Lukas Moodysson, 2013), the holding slide was ‘girls invented punk rock not England – Kim Gordon’s t-shirt’. Later, the amazing Fresh and Dream Wife played live to a full bar.
There’s something so special about being in a room of women supporting other women, and I’m so proud to be part of that. It was such a great feeling seeing people dance to Rebel Girl, and seeing the incredible Dream Wife performing to a female audience in front of a ‘GIRLS TO THE FRONT’ poster.
As well as running #genesisters, we’ve also planned other related events, such as the screening of Her Story a couple of weeks ago, a miniseries on the dating lives of trans and queer women with the Misgendered Project – and a screening of Vito, a documentary on the incredible gay rights activist Vito Russo, as part of LGBT History Month. We’re also screening Thelma & Louise as part of a fundraising event for Solace Women’s Aid on 6th March (tickets here – entry by pay-what-you-can donation to Solace).
We’re excited to announce that #genesisters vol.3 is on 7th May 2016 – we hope to see you there. If you would like to be involved in any way (zine stalls or otherwise), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.