“I bleed once a month, and sometimes when I shave I get little red bumps. I wear short skirts and sometimes long pants, and I can dress how I want, not looking for a show of hands,” Lydia Night sings in “A Living Human Girl,” a song she felt compelled to write after starting high school and realizing how many girls were dealing with various pressures and insecurities.
The 17-year-old frontwoman of The Regrettes, a Los Angeles based punk act, wrote “A Living Human Girl” to address some of the topics people feel uncomfortable talking about — like acne, stretch marks and prickly legs — and help people feel less alone. She believes using her platform for activism is important.
“I just hope that (when people hear the song), they don’t feel as alone and realize that those things aren’t things to be looked down upon,” Night said. “They’re actually things that make them strong and make women really powerful.”
“A Living Human Girl” is a song in which Night directly expresses her feminist views, drawing attention to expectations and stereotypes girls and women commonly face. At the end of the song, she sings, “I fall in love with people once a day, but if you ask me out, I’m still allowed to say ‘no way.’”
But even when she’s singing and writing about crushes or breakups, the empowering messages are evident in her music.
“Feminism is a huge part of my life so that comes out even when I’m singing about a breakup from my point of view as a strong woman,” Night said.
The band’s music video for “Come Through” was created by a team primarily made up of women, with women holding all major roles.
The Regrettes is a punk band comprised of singer and songwriter Lydia Night, guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Sage Nicole and drummer Drew Thomsen that draws inspiration from artists from the 50s and 60s such as Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley. The band released their debut album, Feel Your Feelings Fool! in 2017 and a new EP, Attention Seeker, in 2018.
At 17 years old, Night doesn’t see her age as a weakness. She thinks being young offers a different perspective that people don’t hear as often, and she’s inspired by the number of young people speaking up about causes they care about recently.
In addition to being a feminist, Night also advocates for gun control and is hopeful that there will be positive change because of young people like Emma Gonzalez speaking out. Members of The Regrettes participated in March For Our Lives in Boise, Idaho.
“It’s really inspiring to see youth taking big steps and being really unapologetic and putting themselves out there in a really vulnerable time,” Night said.
Of course, not everyone sees it that way. While Night has noticed some people actively listening to young people and taking them seriously, she’s also seen Twitter users criticize youth activism and make comments like, “why are we letting teenagers run our politics?”
In the music industry, Night has also dealt with people taking her less seriously because of her young age. Between having sound guys talking to her like she doesn’t know anything about equipment to people calling her “sweetie,” Night is accustomed to putting up with people viewing her age as a weakness. Now, though, she realizes she doesn’t have to put up with it — she would rather take charge of her life and stand up for herself.
Her goal is to use her music to reach and inspire as many people as possible. The Regrettes are touring this summer and playing at many top festivals this year, including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Firefly. Night, who is inspired by many different genres, is excited to see other artists perform at the festivals, like Arctic Monkeys, Beyonce and St. Vincent.
“I’m really excited to spend the year watching and learning from some of the best bands around right now,” Night said.