By the 1990s, the feminist movement had raised a generation of men who valued female strength, intelligence, and passion, but who typically recoiled from women who were as strong, smart, and bold as men – or worse yet, more so than men. In addition, while domestic violence and date rape were beginning to permeate national consciousness and discourse, the more intimate and subtle forms of violence against women typically were unacknowledged, if not gaslighted, and women were left to pick up the pieces on their own. Meanwhile, it was deemed socially acceptable for women to be imprisoned at home at night or to require the escort of men, when going for a walk after dark.
Against this cultural backdrop, 20-something Loolwa Khazzoom navigated life and love, with a radical devotion to her freedom, dignity, power, and safety – conventional norms and expectations be damned. From biking alone at 3:00 am, to hitting men who harassed her, and from reconstructing sex, to forcing a flasher to zip up his pants, Khazzoom seized life in a way that was raw, bold, authentic, and fiercely unapologetic.
Forging our own path often comes with tremendous risk, struggle, and loss, as was the case for Khazzoom, and she turned to songwriting to process the depth of her experiences and feelings. Grrrl Monster reflects ten songs that she created during this time.