If someone mentions Feminist Punk Rock, most music lovers would point you towards the Riot Grrrl movement. Starting in the early 1990s, the Riot Grrrl bands were brash, political, and popular. Founded in Olympia Washington in the United States, the Riot Grrrl movement merged the musical with the fight against misogyny to and fit what we deem the popularized Feminist Punk Rock movement of today. Feminist Punk focuses on the cross-cultural ideas of gender equality, and its political music movement has spread across the globe. Recently, the Feminist Punk Rock ideals have been gaining popularity within a new band of women, in the country of Pakistan.
Feminist rock has been a new type of protest that has emerged in Pakistan political movements. Garam Anday, Hot Eggs, is a feminist Rock band that has been gaining traction in the region for their feminist critiques of the government. Garam Anday works to critique the gender discrimination that occurs in Pakistan. Through the use of their lyrics and music videos, they are weaving a narrative of women who are fighting back against the gender bias in Pakistan.
Garam Anday gained a large portion of their fame through their song “Mas Behn Ka Danda”, which translates to Mother and Sister’s Sticks. In this song, the women sing about the reckoning that is coming from women and girls challenging the sexist and patriarchal systems that are set up in Pakistan. In the song, the women sing
“we are coming after you boy, with our burning eggs, Mothers and sisters bring our reckoning”.
In this line, the women are taking back their feminine descriptors and using them as a source of power. Often in songs, the female body is used as a sexual object. However, Garam Anday uses their distinctly feminine bodies as a source of power in their song. By taking the very distinct female anatomy of eggs, i.e. ovaries, and saying those ovaries are coming after the men, Garam Anday is citing the power that a woman has to push back against patriarchal systems of power. Politically, the song’s use of eggs is powerful because it is a direct allusion to the sexual violence that takes place in Pakistan. At the moment there is mass sexual violence towards women. In government spaces, men control and diminish women’s bodies. For example, in 2021, Prime Minister of Pakistan Khan responded to the rape crisis in Pakistan by saying that it was occurring because “if a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots” (Tariq). This is just one example of how gender and sexual violence is perceived in Pakistan, This is the violence that Garam Anday is working against in their music. By creating a song where ovaries are seen as the site of power, Guram Anday is creating political messages of female empowerment through their music.
Guram Anday has further politically organized through the locations at which they play their music. In 2019, Guram Anday “performed at the Aurat March where they escorted the pidarshhi ka janaza” (Khuldune Shahid). Performing at the Aurat March is important to note in terms of Guram Anday’s political popularity. The Aurat March is a political protest against the violence against women in Pakistan. By being invited to the march, Guram Anday secured public awareness and acceptance as a voice for change in women’s rights in Pakistan. Guram Anday is following the feminist Punk Rock ideas of music’s political organizing influence taking it to help use it to uplift their message of women’s empowerment and the message of the Aurat March.
While a Bikini Kill reunion is unlikely, the spirit of feminist punk rock is still alive and well. Guram Anday is just one example of how Feminist Punk Rock has crossed cultural boundaries to unite under the common cause of gender equity for all. Guram Anday shows us that feminist punk rock is for all, and is used by all. Guram Anday shows us that the fight for equity in music should not be a western focused approach. Instead, it is an intersectional and global fight for ALL women.
Watch Garam Anday’s Music Video