This weeks Illustrated Woman in History was submitted by Stan Charles Roberts. It is featured in the Women’s History Month 2019 zine. Click here to buy.
Courtney Love is a feminist singer, lyricist, and rhythm guitarist best known as the front woman of Hole. She has been called “the number one greatest female rock star of all time”.
Love was a member of a number of bands before Hole, during the 1980’s she was a member of Sugar Babydolls before convincing Faith No More to let her join them as singer. She was later kicked out in favour of a male singer. Love then formed Pagan Babies with Kat Bjelland, who went on to found Babes in Toyland.
In the mid-1980’s, Love began acting, appearing in the film Straight to Hell as well as an episode of Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes. She worked as a stripper during this time while teaching herself to play guitar. In 1988, she formed the band Hole by placing an ad in a music zine saying “I want to start a band. My influences are Big Black, Sonic Youth, and Fleetwood Mac.” In 1991, Hole released their first album, Pretty on the Inside, produced by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Around this time, she met Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. They married and had a daughter together.
In 1993, Hole released their second album, Live Through This, which was a commercial and critical success. The band are now recognised as one of the most successful rock bands of all time fronted by a woman.
Love has struggled with mental health and substance abuse, most notably after the death of her husband. She continues to act and create music, and is frequently named as an influence by female musicians. She once stated that she “I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming…I strap on that motherfucking guitar and you cannot fuck with me. That’s my feeling.” Love was a pioneer of feminist music, and was praised for “subverting [the] mainstream expectations of how a woman should look, act, and sound.” According to music journalist Maria Raha, “Hole was the highest-profile female-fronted band of the ’90s to openly and directly sing about feminism.”
You can see more of Stan Charles Roberts’ work on his website atwww.stancharlesroberts.co.uk