Riot Grrrl is an international underground feminist movement that emerged from West Coast American alternative and punk music scenes of 1990s. Initially women played a marginal part in these male dominated scenes. But the gender balance began to change in the late early 1990s through the formation of feminist, all-female and mainly-female punk and new wave bands, such as Heavens to Betsy, Bratmobile and Bikini Kill. These bands called for Revolution Girl Style confronted music scene sexism head on and upheld the anti-consumer do-it-yourself ethic of punk.
Riot Grrrls were activists, publishers and performers. They held regular meetings and national conferences similar to the feminist discussion and support groups of the 1960s and 1970s. These forums allowed women to meet and discuss music as well as their experiences of sexism, body image and identity.
Like the feminists of in the late 1960s self-definition and self-representation were particular concerns of the Riot Grrrl movement. To avoid trivialising, sexist misrepresentation ("From hundreds of once pink frilly bedrooms comes the young feminist revolution. And it's not pretty) the press were avoided and some members of the movement called for a complete media blackout. The movement used zines as its primary method of communication. Thousands of young women began to produce personal and political zines with explicitly feminist themes. Early riot grrrl zines include Jigsaw and Girl Germs (whose motto was spread as many girls germs as you can.
Riot Grrrl still exists, with branches, networks and zines still working all over the world as demonstrated by this Riot Girl London zine, first issued in 2001:RIOT GIRL LONDON MANIFESTO
Riot Grrrl is a network of women and men who want to change society through active & creative means - writing zines, being in bands, creating websites, making art... The law grudgingly gives women equality, but people's attitudes towards us are still disrespectful, oppressive and belittling.
Riot Grrrl and feminism are still needed for a myriad of reasons; because women are accused of 'asking for it' when they are raped, because beauty is valued over intellect, because female musicians are dismissed as worthless, because enjoying sex makes you a slut, because because because... The list is endless.
Riot Grrrl has now evolved into more than just a branch of the punk scene - we come from all sorts of backgrounds, like all sorts of music, dress in all sorts of styles... Riot Grrrl is open to everyone. Riot Grrrl is inspiring, empowering and most of all fun, so why not join our group or start your own and help infiltrate society with REAL grrrl power. Forget the media lies - this is about equality, not superiority. Man-hate does not figure in our beliefs - the deconstruction of gender roles will benefit everyone.
To find out more about Riot Grrrl, click here .