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Punks & Rude Girls: Home

Punks & Rude Girls

PuNk rOcK music emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock music. The do-it-yourself, anti-establishment trend of punk stirred rebellion among women musicians, who took their self-expression to the next level — in fashion, look, attitude, and persona. At one end of this spectrum was the beat poet lyricism, androgyny, and brutal honesty of the Godmother of Punk Patti Smith; while at the other, Siouxsie Sioux performed in fetish clothing, establishing the classic goth look and inspiring the new wave sound. 

RuDe gIrLs were women of the 2-Tone movement, a genre of British popular music of the late 1970s and early 1980s that fused traditional Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae music with elements of punk and new wave. This ska movement embraced diversity of race and gender, promoting unity and multiculturalism, anti-racism, and anti-sexism. With her multiracial group The Selecter, Queen of Ska Pauline Black was the Rude Girl archetype, rising to prominence against the backdrop of the 1981 England riots, fueled by racial discrimination from police. 



Selections from the Library's collection. You can search the catalog here


Selections from the Library's collection. You can search the catalog here



Archival Resources

Listed below are notable collections and items from the Rock Hall's Archives. You can find more by searching our catalog here

Rock's Backpages Articles

Free articles are available on Rock's Backpages through the Free on RBP link. The articles below may require you to be on-site at the Library & Archives in order to read them.

Featured Artists

Artists featured in this section of the exhibit include:

  • Billie Eilish

  • Brittany Howard

  • Garbage and Shirley Manson

  • The Go-Go's

  • Kesha

  • Janelle Monáe

  • Malina Moye

  • Paramore and Hayley Williams

  • P!nk

  • The Selecter and Pauline Black

  • Siouxsie and the Banshees

  • Sonic Youth and Kim Gordon

  • Speedy Ortiz and Sadie Dupuis

  • The Sugarcubes and Björk

  • The White Stripes and Meg White


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