Twice a month, AudioFemme profiles artists both emerging and established, who, in this industry, must rebel against misogynist cultural mores. Through their music they express the attendant hurdles and adversities (vis-a-vis the entertainment industry and beyond) propagated by those mores. For our fifth installment, Rebecca Kunin profiles Childbirth, a Seattle based punk supergroup that pokes fun at patriarchy with sarcastic, tongue and cheek and clever lyrics.
Meet Childbirth, the newest punk supergroup on the Seattle music scene. Julia Shapiro (vocals, guitar), Stacy Peck (drums) and Bree McKenna (vocals, bass) of Chastity Belt, Pony Time and Tacocat respectively decided to join forces and create Childbirth, a punk band that combines bellowing vocals, infectious guitar hooks and heavy drumming with intelligent, satirical and often hilarious lyrics.
On January 7th, Childbirth released their first album, It’s a Girl!. Its 10 punchy tracks (“Childbirth,” “I Only Fucked You as a Joke,” Sister Wives,” “Sweet Pea,” “Crossbitch,” “How Do Girls Even Do It?,” “Marination Station,” “Cowling at the Moon,” “Will You Be My Mom?,” and “Menopause”) are catchy, tongue and cheek, and enjoyable to all lovers of punk rock.
Whether Shapiro, McKenna and Peck are singing about sex, menopause, or insane ex-astronauts, sarcasm is the common theme stringing the album together. Shapiro, McKenna and Peck have mastered their own specific brand of just not giving a fuck. Instead of criticizing social patriarchy in their music, they make fun of it. In “Sister Wives,” Shapiro bellows, I am first wife, I will never be reassigned. In “How Do Girls Even Do It?” McKenna shouts, I don’t get it, I don’t understand, which one of you’s the man? In “Menopause” Shapiro sings, I’m going through menopause, I’m just a lady with saggy tits, is this it?
If you are a twenty something female, then you are probably aware of having been categorized at some point or another. Childbirth’s music video for “How Do Girls Even do it? perfectly articulates this. In the music video Childbirth is being interviewed on the ins and outs (no pun intended) of woman on woman intercourse. In the video McKenna assumes the role of the “cold bitch” (queer when it suits her), Shapiro plays the “cool slut” (straight for now), and Peck plays the “cool mom” (lesbo). Shapiro, McKenna and Peck may be joking, but they are actually saying fuck you to everyone who has put them in these categories, while at the same time illuminating how ridiculous and constricting these stereotypes actually are.
“Marination Station” might be my favorite track on the album. Remember Lisa Nowak? She’s that astronaut who went crazy and drove from Houston to Orlando wearing an adult diaper a couple years back. Well, “Marination Station” is probably the only song ever written about the infamous ex-astronaut. She’s a disgrace to all women in space. This line is repeated throughout “Marination Station.” This line, or something like it, was exhausted during the media coverage of this bizarre event. As there are not that many female astronauts out there, if one of them goes batshit crazy and poops her pants across state lines then she is obviously disgracing all female astronauts, right? Obviously this mentality is outrageous, and Shapiro, McKenna and Peck thought so as well.
Shapiro, McKenna and Peck have mastered satire perfectly on It’s a Girl! From beginning to end, It’s a Girl! subtly pokes fun at social patriarchy, and everything that comes along with it.