Kinderwhore was a clothing style used by a handful of mostly female grunge bands in the US during the early to mid-1990s. The kinderwhore look consisted of torn, ripped tight or low-cut babydoll and Peter-Pan-collared dresses, slips, knee-socks, heavy makeup with dark eyeliner, barrettes, and leather boots or Mary Jane shoes.
It was described as "a strong feminist statement...about so much more than a little velvet dress, ripped tights and a dumb media-made label. It was about intentionally taking the most constraining parts of the feminine, good-girl aesthetic, inflating them to a cartoon level, and subverting them to kill any ingrained insecurities." It has been noted that although the look was very feminine, when its exponents performed onstage they "stood tall and confident, they threw their guitars around like weapons, and screamed out whip-smart feminist lyrics. These women were questioning the cultural importance of typical beauty through costume and the stage.
The origin of kinderwhore is uncertain. It is believed that Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland was the first to define it, while her former roommate Courtney Love of Hole was the first to popularise it. The term was coined by Melody Maker journalist Everett True. Interviewed in 1994, Love commented,
I would like to think—in my heart of hearts—that I'm changing some psychosexual aspects of rock music. Not that I'm so desirable. I didn't do the kinder-whore thing because I thought I was so hot. When I see the look used to make one more appealing, it pisses me off. When I started, it was a What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? thing. My angle was irony."
Love has claimed that she took the style from Divinyls frontwoman Christine Amphlett, and was also inspired by KatieJane Garside of Daisy Chainsaw who toured with Hole during 1991. The look became very popular in 1994.
As time has progressed and kinderwhore has become less mainstream, the style continues to be implemented in grunge and alternative fashion scenes. Stores including Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters occasionally incorporate the fashion into their collections.
- "Kinderwhore grunge fashion guide". Mookychick. 2014.
- Garis, Mary Grace. "The Evolution of Courtney Love". Elle. Kevin O'Malley. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- "Miss World" music video. dailymotion.
- Meltzer, Marisa (2010). Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music. New York: Faber and Faber. p. 48. ISBN 9780865479791. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Way, Mish. "My Kinderwhore Education". i-D.com. Vice. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
- Fricke, David (December 15, 1994). "Courtney Love: Life Without Kurt".
- Andrews, Charlotte Richardson (February 27, 2013). "Hidden treasures: Daisy Chainsaw – Eleventeen". The Guardian.
- Garland, Emma (October 8, 2018). "Searching for Utopia: An Interview with Katie". Vice.
- Stegemeyer, Anne; Price Alford, Holly (2014). Who's Who in Fashion (6th ed.). New York: Fairchild Books. ISBN 9781609019693. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
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