Secondhand Underpants is a feminist punk band from Istanbul that harks back to the Riot Grrrl movement and 90’s grunge explosion.
Raucous, snotty vocals are sung over grungy guitar riffs to deal in a straightforward and unapologetic way with issues like body image, sexuality and patriarchy. The Bikini Kill influence is strong in this one. However, this not Olympia, WA, in the 90’s, but modern day Turkey.
I will not go into details about the political context but let me just say that the very existence of bands like Secondhand Underpants in such a conservative and authoritarian country is really awesome.
The record starts explosively with “Autopleasures” and its immediate opening lines “There’s a riot between my legs, you’re not invited to my ecstasy.” The femmes have also produced an official music video for that song that you can see below. Then we have a total riot grrrl rip-off in all musical and lyrical aspects called “Ninjas!” in which we’ll find out the meaning behind the band’s name Secondhand Underpants. Then we have the highlight of this short, 15-minute record, the third track called “The Anthem” that really shows the defiant feminist attitude of the band.
Here’s to no more victim blaming
Here’s to no more slutshaming
Here’s to no more wifebeating
Here’s to no more mansplaining
Here’s to no more rape
No more rape
The remaining two tracks “Love Stings” and “Bathwater Soup” brazenly reverse the gender stereotypes to dishonor, bash, and ultimately make fun of men. This whole misandric satire, and lyrics such as cooking men in a bathwater soup, have always been part of the riot grrrl movement. What’s even better to see is bands whose native language is not English play with words so well and manage to use the satirical approach to convey their message to the audience.
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of Secondhand Underpants’ music, although their attitude is totally rad. If you are into anthemic riot grrrl songs that sound like coming straight from the 90’s, you should check them out.