Here is the abstract of the paper by Marie Arleth Skov, of the Danish/German affiliate of the Punk Scholars Network, which she will read at the 4 December Amsterdam PSN conference.
Punk Feminism and the 1980s Danish Art/Music/Poetry Scene
In 1980s punk culture, music, poetry, and art were closely intertwined. Punk’s ultimate battle cries—freedom, fantasy, provocation—made the movement a vehicle for a new kind of mashup between body art and everyday performances. Chronologically situated between the so-called second and third waves—or: between Westwood’s 1970s SEX shop and 1990s Riot Grrrls—punk feminism of the 1980s was both historically and thematically pole-positioned for versatility. Hedonistic pleasures and upfront sexual attitudes became combined with political agency. “It was so cool to see women in high heels and safety pins and leather jackets, getting off,” says Danish artist Nina Sten-Knudsen (interview with the author). Punk challenged conservative gender roles through a simultaneous double-edged approach of playful over-affirmation and androgynous dissolvement. In both cases, involving fishnet stockings, black eyeliner, leopard prints, and S&M-gear. Given the traditionally casual stance on pornography and a reputation for gender equality, how did punk feminism manifest itself differently in Denmark, seen from an international perspective? In the punk-infused art milieu of the “Unge Vilde” (young wild ones) in 1980s Denmark, equality was taken as a given: “Back then, we were equal. We were pals,” says Sten-Knudsen (IWA). Four decades later, does that sentiment hold up?
Marie Arleth Skov (PSN Germany/Denmark) is a Danish art historian, author and curator based in Berlin. She works on the subjects of music, art and sexuality, with a historical focus on Surrealism and the punk movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Most recently, she co-curated the exhibition “Claudia Skoda: Dressed to Thrill” at Berlin’s Kulturforum.