Best Known For
Kathleen Hanna is best known for being the singer of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Musician, women's rights advocate. Kathleen Hanna was born on November 12, 1968 in Portland, Oregon; her family then moved to Calverton, Maryland when she was three years old. Her father changed professions frequently, causing the family to move often—to Laurel and then Bethesda, Maryland, before moving back to Portland, where Hanna attended high school. Her mother was a housewife who also worked with local churches to counsel victims of domestic violence. Hanna was drawn to feminism at a very young age, inspired particularly by Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and by the feminist publication Ms. magazine. "My mom was a housewife, and wasn't somebody that people would think of as a feminist, and when Ms. magazine came out we were incredibly inspired by it," Hanna recalled. "I used to cut pictures out of it and make posters that said 'Girls can do anything,' and stuff like that, and my mom ... took me to the Solidarity Day thing, and it was the first time I had ever been in a big crowd of women yelling, and it really made me want to do it forever."
Hanna later recalled that she had three obsessions during her high school years in Portland: "1) Going to shows (punk and reggae); 2) smoking weed; and 3) drinking alcohol. Yes, it's true I was a teenage lush/burn-out, constantly on suspension or being put into special 'get off drugs' classes at school." At the age of 15, Hanna got pregnant and decided to have an abortion—a transformative life event that she said shaped her worldview. "Having an abortion was one of the best things I ever did," Hanna frankly declared in an interview with Salon magazine. "It was one of the first things I did on my own; I worked at McDonald's, raised the money and did it. I'm really, really passionate about pro-choice, because I wouldn't be here talking to you right now if I'd had a kid at 15." After graduating from high school in 1986, Hanna attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she studied photography. She had a work-study job in the darkroom and also briefly worked as a stripper to pay for her education.
In 1988, while still in college, Hanna and several friends started a women's art gallery in downtown Olympia, calling it Reko Muse. The gallery frequently hosted performances by local bands, and Hanna and her two co-founders started a feminist punk rock band named Amy Carter, presumably after President Jimmy Carter's daughter. Although she had been initially drawn to spoken word poetry as an artistic medium for expressing her views on feminism, she switched her focus to music after a conversation with feminist writer Kathy Acker. When Acker asked Hanna why she did performance poetry, Hanna responded, "Because I felt like I'd never been listened to and I had a lot to say." Acker's response: "Then why are you doing spoken word—no one goes to spoken word shows! You should get in a band."
profile name: Kathleen Hanna profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Famous Scorpios 551 people in this group
Women and men have continued the call for full-fledged women’s rights in a number of venues, including voting access, fair treatment in the workplace and reproductive and sexual freedom. Find out more about this eclectic and electric group of global activists who include Shirin Ebadi, Coretta Scott King, Asra Nomani and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Famous Women's Rights Activists 83 people in this group
They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
Famous Singers 774 people in this group