R.I.P. Poly Styrene, Trailblazing Feminist Punk

Published on The Daily Femme – Thursday, April 28, 2011

“Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I think oh bondage, up yours!” – X Ray Spex

Contributed by Annamarya

Music and feminism lost an icon on Monday, April 25 when Poly Styrene, frontwoman for legendary ’70s punk outfit X Ray Spex, lost her battle with cancer at 53-years-old. The inspiring punk presence passed a day before the stateside release of her newest tour de force, Generation Indigo.

As the mouthpiece of X Ray Spex–and even in her career since–Poly Styrene was a revolutionary charging the mutiny against convention. She was a bi-racial feminist rebel in dental braces and second-hand neon gear that spoke of sexism, misogyny, racism, consumerism, poverty, conformity, and alienation. She, the raucous poster girl of anti-pop, sang in an deafening, high-pitch shriek that shook the punk foundation. She questioned the reality of gender role expectations and she gave them a fierce verbal finger. She led the way for other influential and trailblazing feminist movements, like Riot Grrl, to motivate a new group of impassioned young girls. She also led the way for other dominant, unconventional, envelope-pushing female artists to perform their art with less scrutiny. She, in all her body-rocking anti-objectification, was the voice of progress.

Poly Styrene was the goddess of beautiful and unabashed awkwardness; she will never be replicated. Long live Poly!

Click here to read Telegraph’s full obituary on Poly Styrene.


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