Hynde: I’m the orig­i­nal fem­i­nist so don’t dare crit­i­cise me

The Observer - - News - Vanessa Thorpe Arts and Me­dia Cor­re­spon­dent

Chrissie Hynde, the vet­eran Amer­i­can rock mu­si­cian, has spo­ken of her anger at be­ing la­belled “an­tifem­i­nist” for say­ing she was to blame for be­ing raped in her youth. Speak­ing in the Ob­server New Re­view to­day, the 67-year-old front woman for the Pre­tenders said it had been “to­tal bull­shit” to ac­cuse her of not be­ing a fem­i­nist. “I don’t talk about it: I am it,” she said.

Ar­gu­ing that she has “never taken a penny from a man”, Hynde said it had been a shock to have to de­fend her­self from other women’s dis­ap­proval.

“I’ve never had any­one help me get to the top, so to be sud­denly this an­tifem­i­nist. Go fuck your­selves,” she said in a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view about her child­hood, mu­si­cal ca­reer and grow­ing in­ter­est in mak­ing vis­ual art.

The crit­i­cisms were orig­i­nally lev­elled at the singer in 2015 in re­sponse to pas­sages in her ac­claimed rock me­moir, Reck­less, which de­scribe a vi­o­lent in­ci­dent that took place in Ohio when she was 21. “This was all my do­ing and I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity,” she wrote in one chap­ter, ex­plain­ing she had been taken into an aban­doned build­ing be­ing used as a Hells An­gels “club­house” by a biker and was then forced to carry out sex acts.

Groups sup­port­ing rape vic­tims were among those to at­tack Hynde for sug­gest­ing that women were cul­pa­ble if they made them­selves vul­ner­a­ble to at­tack.

“I wasn’t say­ing I was a vic­tim,” she said this week­end. “But I was say­ing I was a bit of a fuck­ing id­iot. I mean you don’t walk into a bik­ers’ club­house, with a sack full of Quaaludes [down­ers], all pad­locked up and you find out you’re the only per­son there. Sur­prise, sur­prise.”

One of the singer’s paint­ings, in­cluded in her new art book, Adding

the Blue, is an image of a blank-eyed young man with an open mouth. Hynde’s cap­tion refers to “a cer­tain his­tory with some bik­ers”.

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