Contemporary riot grrrl band The Regrettes released the single “A Living Human Girl” on June 20th, 2016 and featured on their album Feel Your Feelings Fool! which launched on January 13th, 2017. At age fifteen, frontwoman Lydia Night wrote the lyrics to this song after starting high school in Los Angeles. “I met so many amazing incredible people [at my high school], but it really opened my eyes to the insecurity that lives in most teenage girls,” she reports in an interview with Vice

Leading up to the song’s release, the world of social networking had become more and more embedded in young people’s lives. Lydia Night belongs to Generation Z, the age group that grew up with social media and unregulated internet access. Many images posted online are altered and created to fit the idealized standard of beauty, setting unrealistic expectations for young girls in particular. For a generation whose lives largely take place on social media, it is no surprise that there have been detrimental effects on self esteem and body image. A study in 2016 revealed that teenage girls who were exposed to manipulated photos on Instagram had lower body image. 

This song is uniquely composed of elements of doo-wop and punk rock. The song begins softly and innocently, presenting a harmony of ‘repeated nonsense syllables,’ an iconic feature of doo-wop vocal style.

Gradually the hum fades out, and instruments are added in; the drums carry the beat, and then the guitar comes in relentlessly. Elements of punk unravel as the loud and distorted guitar develops throughout the song. Rosenthal and Flacks explain, “If working within a genre presents a framework that is one factor in guiding a listener’s (and artist’s) interpretation of meaning, challenging those conventions may be an even more obvious pointer for message and meaning.” (57). For example, the doo-wop vocals in the introduction establish an unsuspecting and innocent mood. This is then thrown off by the heavy drums and guitar, forcing the listener to wake up and pay attention. 

“I’ve got pimples on my face

And grease in my hair

And prickly legs, go ahead and stare

An ass full of stretch marks and little boobs

A nice full belly that’s filled with food” 

In “A Living Human Girl” the songwriter Lydia Night takes ownership of her ‘flaws,’ protesting society’s archetype of female beauty and rejecting cultural notions of how women ‘should’ be. She reclaims these traits unapologetically, singing confidently. 

“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”

Menstruation is a taboo subject, by stating it proudly she’s taking a stance against the stigma. By conventional standards, women are expected to have blemish free and perfect skin, however Night is not ashamed of her razor bumps and she is not afraid to say so. She refuses to stick to a certain style and she does not dress for the approval of others.