One would never know it by looking at the punk bands that made up the genre's canon in 1990, when Bikini Kill got started -- Black Flag, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones -- but the early history of punk rock was full of memorable women, in the United States as well as Britain. New York had Patti Smith, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, and post-punk dance bands Y Pants and ESG. The late-'70s LA scene had been even more gender-balanced: Exene Cervenka of X and Alice Bag of the Bags were magnetic performers, and the Bangles and the Go-Go's cut their teeth in that scene before cleaning up their sound to go mainstream. Even in Washington, DC, in the early '80s, where the teenage band Minor Threat was seeding the shouty, sinewy, overwhelmingly male hardcore sound, the all-female group Chalk Circle paid tribute to European bands like Kleenex and the Au Pairs.
-- Sara Marcus, Girls to the Front, p. 48-49