Lydia Berggruen showcases herself in many aspects of her life, bravely and vulnerably. She sings in a pop/punk band, attends model castings regularly and studies theater at the University of Wisconsin.
But above all, Berggruen chooses to showcase her femininity most proudly.
Berggruen, a 20-year-old from Milwaukee, is a vocalist and musician of Gynosaur, a femme-punk band she formed with her friends. Inspired by the Riot Grrrl movement, Gynosaur flaunts its feminist message both lyrically and aesthetically.
“It’s just really about embracing your femininity and strength and not letting other people silence you,” Berggruen said.
Berggruen decided to form Gynosaur with former member Halle Luksich after a friend suggested they collaborate musically. They both encountered the Riot Grrrl movement after discovering the band Bikini Kill, whose lead singer Kathleen Hanna pioneered the movement.
Berggruen created a genre for Gynosaur called “post-glitter punk,” which functions to describe their artistic vibe. She uses “post-glitter punk” to display her female pride and to invoke the strength behind her own experiences and struggles, which she expresses musically.
The band has played at numerous venues across Wisconsin, including Union South’s Femfest, Attic James DIY Punk showcase and, most recently, Riverwest Femfest in Milwaukee. Gynosaur, however, prefers playing house shows for their friends.
All of Gynosaur’s fans love their feminist strength — even men. Berggruen said her male friends respect her music and that Gynosaur’s male drummer Reid Kurkerewicz was a great addition to the girl band.
“He’s super fun to work with,” she said. “He really loves our ideas and he’s got a lot of fun ideas himself.”
In photos: Women’s March brings colorful protest for justice to Madison streetsThe Women’s March on Madison, which occurred alongside a nationwide movement, created not only a united front against the perpetuation Read…
Bergrruen said she chooses to surround herself with people who value women. She encourages the notion of a “girl squad,” as popularized by Taylor Swift, because it promotes female empowerment.
“Having that female support in your life is super important. I’ve definitely developed a broadening girl squad over the past year, too. It makes me feel a lot safer,” Berggruen said.
Berggruen feels safe onstage performing with Gynosaur, as well. She never feels too intimidated playing her music because her close friends are always there to reassure her.
“Sexism is so embedded into every single part of everyday life,” she said. “It’s really important to have that female support behind you. I know everyone’s really rooting for me.”
Berggruen looks out for female audience members while onstage as well, watching for harassment concerts frequently yield. Berggruen said she’ll allow audience members to come to the front of the stage so the band can see what’s going on and make sure nobody is being bothered.
Gynosaur additionally stresses the inclusion of all identities. Berggruen wants UW to consider every woman’s struggles in overcoming issues of gender.
Fem Fest returns to Madison with empowering message for womenAn assortment of Midwestern female-led and femme-majority bands gathered in Der Rathskeller Saturday to hold a concert celebrating women and promoting intersectional Read…
“I personally do not think feminism is strong enough if you’re not being intersectional and including all groups of women, whether it’s women of color, gender nonconforming or transgender women,” she said. “It’s really important to make sure your brand of feminism is reaching out to all women, or else there is not really a point to feminism.”
Gynosaur makes sure the female voice can be heard on campus with its empowering lyrics and safe concert venues. To be heard over the pervasive culture of masculinity, Bergrruen chooses to be forceful with her feminism.
“It needs to be taken more seriously on campus and addressed more openly. There needs to be consequences,” Berggruen says.
Gynosaur successfully uses its musical presence to “threaten” the status quo in order to bring about change. The band perfectly models student-level change on campus and paves the way for other students to be louder, more authentic versions of themselves.