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Riot grrrl

Riot grrrl

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Riot grrrl was an underground
Underground music
Underground music comprises a range of different musical genres that operate outside of mainstream culture. Such music can typically share common values, such as the valuing of sincerity and intimacy; an emphasis on freedom of creative expression; an appreciation of artistic creativity...

 feminist punk
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

 movement based in Washington, DC, Olympia, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Olympia is the capital city of the U.S. state of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. The population was 46,478 at the 2010 census...

, Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

, and the greater Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 which existed in the early to mid-1990s, and it is often associated with third-wave feminism
Third-wave feminism
Third-wave feminism is a term identified with several diverse strains of feminist activity and study whose exact boundaries in the historiography of feminism are a subject of debate, but often marked as beginning in the 1980s and continuing to the present...

 (it is sometimes seen as its starting point). Riot grrrl bands often address issues such as rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

, domestic abuse, sexuality
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

, racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

, and female empowerment
Empowerment
Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, racial, educational, gender or economic strength of individuals and communities...

. Some music bands associated with the movement are Bikini Kill
Bikini Kill
Bikini Kill was an American punk rock band formed in Olympia, Washington in October 1990. The group consisted of vocalist and songwriter Kathleen Hanna, guitarist Billy Karren, bassist Kathi Wilcox, and drummer Tobi Vail. The band is widely considered to be the pioneer of the riot grrrl movement,...

, Bratmobile
Bratmobile
Bratmobile was an American punk band. Bratmobile was a first-generation "riot grrrl" band, which grew from the Pacific Northwest and Washington, DC underground...

, Excuse 17
Excuse 17
Excuse 17 was a punk rock band from Olympia, Washington that performed and recorded from 1993 to 1995.Carrie Brownstein, Becca Albee and CJ Phillips came together to form Excuse 17, a band that would only last a few years but would prove to be influential. Carrie and Becca both played guitar and...

, Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy was an American indie-punk band formed in Olympia, Washington in 1991. They were part of the DIY riot grrrl movement in the punk rock underground in the early 1990s, and were the first band of Sleater-Kinney vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker....

, Fifth Column, Calamity Jane, Huggy Bear, Adickdid
Adickdid
Adickdid was an all-female American indie punk band started in the early 1990s in Eugene, Oregon by Kaia Wilson Nalini Deedee Cheriel and Sara Shelton Bellum . Their first single "All American Girl" b/w "Columbus" was put out by Imp Records in 1993...

, Emily's Sassy Lime
Emily's Sassy Lime
Emilys Sassy Lime was an all-Asian American teenage riot grrrl trio from SoCal, formed in 1993 by Wendy and Amy Yao, and Emily Ryan. According to Experience Music Project, they formed after sneaking out of their homes one night to see a Bikini Kill and Bratmobile show, striking up a...

, The Frumpies
The Frumpies
The Frumpies was a punk rock band formed in 1992 Olympia, Washington. The original line-up consisted of singers/guitarists Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Billy Karren , and Bratmobile drummer Molly Neuman. Their debut was the 7 inch single Alien Summer Nights on the Chainsaw label...

, The Butchies
The Butchies
The Butchies are a punk rock band from Durham, North Carolina, that existed from 1998 to 2005, and are currently on a hiatus. The frequent focus of their lyrical content concerned lesbian and queer themes....

, Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney was an alternative rock band from Portland, Oregon that formed in 1994. Originally formed in Olympia, Washington, the group's name is derived from Sleater-Kinney Road, Interstate 5 off ramp #108 in Lacey, Washington, the location of one of their early practice spaces. They were a...

, Bangs
Bangs (band)
Bangs was a punk rock band from Olympia, Washington, formed in 1997 by guitarist Sarah Utter, after recruiting high-school friend Jesse Fox on drums and Maggie Vail .Bangs toured with...

 and also queercore
Queercore
Queercore is a cultural and social movement that began in the mid-1980s as an offshoot of punk. It is distinguished by being discontent with society in general and its rejection of the disapproval of the gay, bisexual, and lesbian communities and their "oppressive agenda"...

 like Team Dresch
Team Dresch
Team Dresch is an American punk band from Portland, Oregon, originally formed in Olympia, Washington, which was initially active from 1993 until 1998. The band made a significant impression on the do-it-yourself movement queercore, which gave voice through zines and music to the passions and...

. In addition to a music scene
Indie music scenes
An independent music scene is a localized independent music-oriented community of bands and their fans. Local scenes can become a key role in musical history and lead to influential genres, for example No Wave from New York City, Madchester from Manchester and Grunge from...

 and genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

, riot grrrl is also a subculture
Subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

; zines, the DIY ethic, art, political action, and activism
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

 are part of the movement. Riot grrrls are known to hold meetings, start chapter
Chapter
Chapter, as an organizational class title, may refer to:* A main division of a piece of writing or document, as a Chapter and a chapter in legislation...

s, and support and organize women in music.

Origins


During the late 1970s and early and mid 1980s there were a number of female punk and rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 musicians that later influenced the riot grrrl ethos. These included The Raincoats
The Raincoats
The Raincoats are a British post-punk band. Ana da Silva and Gina Birch formed the group in 1977 while they were students at Hornsey College of Art, London, England.-Career:...

, Poly Styrene
Poly Styrene
Poly Styrene was the stage name of Marianne Joan Elliott-Said , a British musician, songwriter and singer, most notably in the pioneering punk rock band X-Ray Spex.-Early life:...

, LiLiPUT
LiLiPUT
LiLiPUT were a Swiss female post-punk/new wave band active from 1978 to 1983.-History:The group formed in 1978 under the name Kleenex, and soon made a name for themselves, until the threat of legal action by Kimberly-Clark in 1979 prompted a change of name to LiLiPUT...

, The Slits
The Slits
The Slits were a British punk rock band. The quartet was formed in 1976 by members of the bands The Flowers of Romance and The Castrators. The members were Ari Up , who died of cancer in October 2010, and Palmolive , with Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt replacing founding members, Kate Korus and...

, The Runaways
The Runaways
The Runaways were an American all-girl rock band that recorded and performed in the second half of the 1970s. The band released four studio albums and one live set during its run. Among its best known songs: "Cherry Bomb", "Queens of Noise", "Neon Angels On the Road to Ruin", "California Paradise"...

/Joan Jett
Joan Jett
Joan Jett is an American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and actress.She is best known for her work with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts including their hit cover "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", which was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 20 to May 1, 1982, as well as for their other popular...

, Patti Smith
Patti Smith
Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith is an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses....

, Chrissie Hynde
Chrissie Hynde
Christine Ellen "Chrissie" Hynde is an US musician best known as the leader of the rock/new wave band the Pretenders. She is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and has been the only constant member of the band throughout its history.-Early life and career:Hynde is the daughter of a part-time...

, Exene Cervenka
Exene Cervenka
Exene Cervenka is an American writer, musician and artist, most famous as the co-lead vocalist of the Los Angeles punk rock band X.-Career:...

, Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux is an English singer-songwriter. She is best known as the lead singer of the critically acclaimed rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees and of its splinter group The Creatures . The Banshees produced eleven studio albums and a string of hit singles including "Hong Kong Garden",...

, Lydia Lunch
Lydia Lunch
Lydia Lunch is an American singer, poet, writer, and actress whose career was spawned by the New York No Wave scene...

, Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
Kim Althea Gordon is an American musician, vocalist, artist, record producer, video director and actress. She has sung and played bass and guitar in the alternative rock band Sonic Youth, and in Free Kitten with Julia Cafritz...

, Neo Boys, Chalk Circle
Chalk Circle (band)
Chalk Circle were an American punk rock band formed in 1981 in Washington, DC. Their raw, rhythmic, minimal sound had more in common with post-punk or art punk than D.C. hardcore, a community they initially helped pioneer...

, Ut
Ut (band)
Ut originated from New York City's downtown No Wave scene in December 1978. The inheritors of the fertile collision between rock, free jazz and the avant garde that first manifested itself in the Velvet Underground, Ut soon became a serious force within the New York music scene.- History :Ut's...

, Bush Tetras
Bush Tetras
Bush Tetras are an American post-punk band from New York City, popular in the Manhattan club scene in the early 1980s but never achieving much mainstream success. Their music combined funk rhythms and dissonant guitar riffs.-History:...

, Frightwig
Frightwig
Frightwig was an American 1980s all-women band from San Francisco, California. They pioneered the riot grrrl movement and were influential to its development. They often played at The Farm. They were known for inviting a male audience member on stage to "dance" during the song "A Man's Gotta Do...

, Anti-Scrunti Faction
Anti-Scrunti Faction
Anti-Scrunti Faction were an all-women punk trio from Boulder, Colorado, United States.The band made their first appearance in 1984 on the Restless Records compilation LP entitled FlipSide Vinyl Fanzine Volume 1, assembled by the fanzine Flipside from California, with the song "Big Women". In...

, Scrawl
Scrawl
Scrawl is a musical trio based in Columbus, Ohio. The founding members are Marcy Mays , Sue Harshe , and Carolyn O'Leary . Their first show, in the summer of 1985, was a 20-minute opening spot for the Meat Puppets...

 and Fifth Column. The 1980s also featured a number of female folk singer
Folk Singer
Folk Singer is a 1964 album by Muddy Waters. Waters plays acoustic guitar, backed by Willie Dixon on string bass, Clifton James on drums, and Buddy Guy on acoustic guitar...

s from New York whose lyrics were realistic and socio-political, but also personally intimate. During the mid 1980s in Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 the influential Mecca Normal
Mecca Normal
Formed by Jean Smith and David Lester in 1984, Mecca Normal is a two-piece indie rock band from Vancouver, Canada. Smith writes lyrics and sings in a style that is often confrontational and laced with feminist themes; Lester's melodic yet dissonant guitar swirls and loops around her vocals...

 fronted by poet Jean Smith
Jean Smith
Jean Smith is a Canadian musician, best known as the lead singer of the Vancouver-based band Mecca Normal, as well as a painter, novelist, lecturer and filmmaker...

 formed, followed by Sugar Baby Doll in San Francisco whose members would all be in riot grrrl acts. In 1987, the magazine Sassy premiered and dealt with tough subjects that conventional magazines aimed at teenage girls did not. An article Women, sex and rock and roll published by "Puncture" in 1989 became the first manifesto
Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

 of the movement. In 1991, a radio program hosted by Lois Maffeo
Lois Maffeo
Courtney Love is an American musician and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Although never achieving mainstream success, she has been closely involved with and influenced many independent musicians, especially in the 90s Olympia, Seattle and DC based musician.-as Lois Maffeo:albums*The...

 entitled Your Dream Girl aimed at angry young women debuted on Olympia, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Olympia is the capital city of the U.S. state of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. The population was 46,478 at the 2010 census...

 radio station KAOS
KAOS (FM)
KAOS is a hybrid college-community radio station licensed to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. It broadcasts in HD Radio at a power of 1,100 watts and also streams live via the Internet. The station continues to offer free radio broadcasting training to any member of the...

.
During the early 1990s the Seattle
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

/Olympia
Olympia, Washington
Olympia is the capital city of the U.S. state of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. The population was 46,478 at the 2010 census...

 Washington area had a sophisticated Do it yourself
Do it yourself
Do it yourself is a term used to describe building, modifying, or repairing of something without the aid of experts or professionals...

 infrastructure. Young women involved in underground music
Underground music
Underground music comprises a range of different musical genres that operate outside of mainstream culture. Such music can typically share common values, such as the valuing of sincerity and intimacy; an emphasis on freedom of creative expression; an appreciation of artistic creativity...

 scenes took advantage of this to articulate their feminist thoughts and desires through creating punk-rock fanzines and forming garage band
Garage band
The term garage band can refer to:* A band that performs garage rock* GarageBand, audio production software published by Apple Inc.* GarageBand.com, a website that helps publicize emerging bands...

s. The political model of collage
Collage
A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

-based, photocopied handbills and book
Book
A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of hot lava, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf or leaflet, and each side of a leaf is called a page...

lets was already used by the punk movement
Punk subculture
The punk subculture includes a diverse array of ideologies, and forms of expression, including fashion, visual art, dance, literature, and film, which grew out of punk rock.-History:...

 as a way to activate underground music, leftist politics and alternative (to mainstream) sub-cultures. Many women found that while they identified with a larger, music-oriented subculture, they often had little to no voice in their local scenes, so they took it upon themselves to represent their own interests by making their own fanzines, music and art.

In 1991, in what many believe to be an unorganized collective response to the Christian Coalition's Right to Life
Right to life
Right to life is a phrase that describes the belief that a human being has an essential right to live, particularly that a human being has the right not to be killed by another human being...

 attack on legal abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 and the Senate Judiciary Hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

—in which Anita Hill
Anita Hill
Anita Faye Hill is an American attorney and academic—presently a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She became a national figure in 1991 when she alleged that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had...

 accused Thomas of sexual harassment and was mocked by the media—young feminist voices were heard through multiple protests, actions and events (L7
L7 (band)
L7 was an American rock band from Los Angeles, that was active from 1985 to 2000. Due to their sound and image, they are often associated with the grunge movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.-History:...

's Rock for Choice
Rock for Choice
Rock for Choice was a series of benefit concerts held over the ten year period between 1991 to 2001. The concerts were designed to allow musicians to show their support for the pro-choice movement in the United States and Canada....

) that would later become part of a larger organized consciousness. This consciousness coalesced in late 1991 under the movement known as "riot grrrl".

Uses and meanings of the term 'riot grrrl' developed slowly over time, but its etymological origins can be traced to the actual Mount Pleasant race riots
Washington, D.C. riot of 1991
The 1991 Washington, D.C. riot, sometimes referred to as the Mount Pleasant riot, occurred in May 1991 when rioting broke out in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C..-Background:...

 in spring 1991. Writing in Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital, Mark Andersen
Mark Andersen
Mark Andersen is a punk rock activist and author who lives in Washington D.C.. He was born and raised in rural Montana, and moved to Washington D.C. in 1984 to attend graduate school at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies ....

 reports that early Bratmobile
Bratmobile
Bratmobile was an American punk band. Bratmobile was a first-generation "riot grrrl" band, which grew from the Pacific Northwest and Washington, DC underground...

 member Jen Smith
Jen Smith
Jen Smith is an artist, musician, zine editor, and activist from the United States.Jen Smith is credited with being the inspiration behind the term Riot Grrrl and being one of the architects of the movement...

 (later of Rastro! and The Quails), reacted to the violence by prophetically writing in a letter to Allison Wolfe
Allison Wolfe
-Background:Born an identical twin in Memphis, Tennessee on November 9, 1969, Allison played a significant role in the formation of the riot grrrl movement of the 90s. She grew up in Olympia, Washington, with mother Pat Shively and sisters Cindy and Molly Wolfe...

: "This summer's going to be a girl riot." Other reports say she wrote, "We need to start a girl riot." Soon afterwards, Wolfe and Molly Neuman
Molly Neuman
Molly Neuman is a musician originally from the Washington, D.C. area who has performed in such influential bands as Bratmobile, The Frumpies, and the PeeChees. She was a pioneer of the early-to-mid '90s riot grrrl movement, penning the zine which coined the phrase in...

 collaborated with Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna is an American musician, feminist activist, and punk zine writer. In the early- to mid-1990s she was the lead singer and songwriter of Bikini Kill, before fronting Le Tigre in the late 1990s and early 2000s...

 and Tobi Vail
Tobi Vail
Tobi Vail is an independent musician, DIY zinester, and feminist activist from Olympia, Washington, noted primarily as the drummer of the defunct punk band Bikini Kill. She formed one of her first bands as the drummer for The Go Team when she was 15, later collaborating in several other groups...

 to create a new zine and called it Riot Grrrl, combining the "riot" with an oft-used phrase that first appeared in Vail's fanzine Jigsaw "Revolution Grrrl Style Now". Riot grrrls took a growling double or triple r, placing it in the word girl, as a way to take back the derogatory use of the term.

Although they're known for frequently denying exclusive credit for the movement, two bands in particular remain inextricably linked to its early formation.

Bikini Kill


Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna is an American musician, feminist activist, and punk zine writer. In the early- to mid-1990s she was the lead singer and songwriter of Bikini Kill, before fronting Le Tigre in the late 1990s and early 2000s...

 had been working as a stripper
Stripper
A stripper is a professional erotic dancer who performs a contemporary form of striptease at strip club establishments, public exhibitions, and private engagements. Unlike in burlesque, the performer in the modern Americanized form of stripping minimizes the interaction of customer and dancer,...

 to support herself, volunteering at a women's shelter
Women's shelter
A women's shelter is a place of temporary refuge and support for women escaping violent or abusive situations, such as rape, and domestic violence....

, and studying photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, where she'd opened her own small art gallery
Art gallery
An art gallery or art museum is a building or space for the exhibition of art, usually visual art.Museums can be public or private, but what distinguishes a museum is the ownership of a collection...

 called Reko Muse, and would frequently have bands like The Go Team
The Go Team
The Go Team was a 1980s band from Olympia, Washington, consisting of Tobi Vail and Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening.-Career:The Go Team was founded in 1985. As Vail described:...

 and Some Velvet Sidewalk
Some Velvet Sidewalk
Some Velvet Sidewalk was an experimental lo-fi rock band from Olympia, WA on the independent label K Records.-History:Some Velvet Sidewalk was formed in Eugene, Oregon in 1987 by Al Larsen and Robert Christie . Their first release was From Playground 'Til Now, and was independently released on...

 play in between art exhibitions (partially just to keep the gallery running). While there, she started a band herself called Amy Carter with fellow gallery-founders Heidi Arbogast and Tammy Rae Carland
Tammy Rae Carland
Tammy Rae Carland is a zine editor, artist, filmmaker and owner of the independent lesbian music label Mr. Lady Records.In the late 1980s she co-founded an independent art gallery in Olympia, Washington with Heidi Arbogast. The two teamed up with Kathleen Hanna, who often did spoken word...

 to open at shows. After touring with some other projects like Viva Knievel
Viva Knievel (band)
Viva Knievel was a punk rock and riot grrrl band in Olympia, Washington in the early 1990s. Viva Knievel was Kathleen Hanna's second band, and included Zeb Olsen and Billy Karren. Her first band was called "Amy Carter" and put on in her own art display space in between exhibitions....

, she hooked up with The Go Team
The Go Team
The Go Team was a 1980s band from Olympia, Washington, consisting of Tobi Vail and Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening.-Career:The Go Team was founded in 1985. As Vail described:...

 drummer and zinester Tobi Vail, who had been writing of her own experiences:

I feel completely left out of the realm of everything that is so important to me. And I know that this is partly because punk rock is for and by boys mostly and partly because punk rock of this generation is coming of age in a time of mindless career
Career
Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person's "course or progress through life ". It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work ....

-goal bands.


They started working together on another fanzine called Bikini Kill, which, after recruiting friends Kathi Wilcox
Kathi Wilcox
Kathi Wilcox is an American musician. Currently the bass player in The Julie Ruin, she has previously been in bands such as Bikini Kill, The Casual Dots and The Frumpies.- Music :...

 and Billy "Boredom" Karren
Billy Karren
Billy Karren is an American musician and feminist most commonly known as the lead guitarist of the influential punk band Bikini Kill. He was also active in many other music projects in the Olympia music scene including: The Go Team, The Frumpies, Corrections, and Spray Painted Love.He was not often...

, would eventually become a band.

Bratmobile


Allison Wolfe met Molly Neuman at the University of Oregon
University of Oregon
-Colleges and schools:The University of Oregon is organized into eight schools and colleges—six professional schools and colleges, an Arts and Sciences College and an Honors College.- School of Architecture and Allied Arts :...

, and while Wolfe was turning Neuman onto bands like Beat Happening
Beat Happening
Beat Happening is an American punk band formed in Olympia, Washington in 1982. Calvin Johnson, Heather Lewis and Bret Lunsford have been the band's continual members...

 and The Melvins
The Melvins
The Melvins are an American band that formed in 1983. They usually perform as a trio, but in recent years have performed as a four piece with two drummers. Since 1984, singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover have been the band's constant members...

, Neuman was introducing Wolfe to sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 classes and Public Enemy.

They began working on zines called Girl Germs
Girl Germs
Girl Germs was a zine created by University of Oregon students Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman, both members of the band Bratmobile.Feminism was influential in the Pacific Northwest in the early nineties: Girl Germs heralded an explosion of zines that accompanied the rebirth of feminism...

, and later riot grrrl with Tobi Vail, Kathleen Hanna and Jen Smith.

It was a really hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 town, and we were getting really politicized, but also really into this DIY thing, so we kinda started creating. 'Let's make our own fanzine!'


Wolfe and Neuman started frequenting shows by bands like Fugazi and Nirvana
Nirvana (band)
Nirvana was an American rock band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987...

, bragging every chance they got about their band Bratmobile (which at the time did not really exist yet). In 1990 though, Calvin Johnson called them up and asked them to play a show on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

 with Some Velvet Sidewalk and Bikini Kill, which had just started. Terrified at first, insisting they were not really a band and having only played a few garagey jam session
Jam session
Jam sessions are often used by musicians to develop new material, find suitable arrangements, or simply as a social gathering and communal practice session. Jam sessions may be based upon existing songs or forms, may be loosely based on an agreed chord progression or chart suggested by one...

s at each others' houses, they finally accepted it as a dare and played the show at Olympia's North Shore Surf club. After eventually hooking up with guitarist Erin Smith in March of 1991, they finally started playing together as a trio just in time for the IPU convention in August of that year.

International Pop Underground Convention


From August 20-August 25, 1991, K Records
K Records
K Records is an independent record label in Olympia, Washington, co-founded, owned, and operated by Calvin Johnson, formerly of the bands Cool Rays, Beat Happening, The Go Team, The Halo Benders and presently in the bands Dub Narcotic Sound System and The Hive Dwellers...

 held an indie music festival called the International Pop Underground (IPU) Convention. A promotional poster reads:

As the corporate ogre expands its creeping influence on the minds of industrialized youth, the time has come for the International Rockers of the World to convene in celebration of our grand independence. Hangman hipster
Hipster (contemporary subculture)
Hipsters are a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with musical interests mainly in alternative rock that appeared in the 1990s...

s, new mod rockers, sidestreet walkers, scooter
Scooter (motorcycle)
A scooter is a motorcycle with step-through frame and a platform for the operator's feet. Elements of scooter design have been present in some of the earliest motorcycles, and motorcycles identifiable as scooters have been made from 1914 or earlier...

-mounted dream girls, punks, ted
Teddy Boy
The British Teddy Boy subculture is typified by young men wearing clothes that were partly inspired by the styles worn by dandies in the Edwardian period, styles which Savile Row tailors had attempted to re-introduce in Britain after World War II...

s, the instigators of the Love Rock Explosion, the editors of every angry grrrl zine, the plotters of youth rebellion in every form, the midwestern librarian
Librarian
A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

s and Scottish ski
Ski
A ski is a long, flat device worn on the foot, usually attached through a boot, designed to help the wearer slide smoothly over snow. Originally intended as an aid to travel in snowy regions, they are now mainly used for recreational and sporting purposes...

 instructors who live by night, all are setting aside August 20–25, 1991 as the time.


An all-female bill on the first night called "Love Rock Revolution Girl Style Now" signalled a major step in the movement, featuring artists like Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy was an American indie-punk band formed in Olympia, Washington in 1991. They were part of the DIY riot grrrl movement in the punk rock underground in the early 1990s, and were the first band of Sleater-Kinney vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker....

, Jack Off Jill
Jack Off Jill
Jack Off Jill was an American alternative rock band from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, founded in 1992 by Jessica Fodera, Tenni Arslanyan, Robin Moulder, and Michelle Oliver. Though these four young women were the initial founders, twelve members rotated through the group in its lifespan, including...

, Nikki McClure, Lois Maffeo
Lois Maffeo
Courtney Love is an American musician and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Although never achieving mainstream success, she has been closely involved with and influenced many independent musicians, especially in the 90s Olympia, Seattle and DC based musician.-as Lois Maffeo:albums*The...

, Jean Smith
Jean Smith
Jean Smith is a Canadian musician, best known as the lead singer of the Vancouver-based band Mecca Normal, as well as a painter, novelist, lecturer and filmmaker...

 of Mecca Normal
Mecca Normal
Formed by Jean Smith and David Lester in 1984, Mecca Normal is a two-piece indie rock band from Vancouver, Canada. Smith writes lyrics and sings in a style that is often confrontational and laced with feminist themes; Lester's melodic yet dissonant guitar swirls and loops around her vocals...

, 7 Year Bitch
7 Year Bitch
7 Year Bitch was an American punk rock band from Seattle, Washington that was active for 7 years, between 1990 and 1997. Their career yielded three albums, and was impacted by the deaths of their guitarist Stefanie Sargent and close-friend Mia Zapata of fellow Seattle punks The Gits.-Career:7 Year...

, and 2 side projects of Kathleen Hanna: the first was Suture with Sharon Cheslow
Sharon Cheslow
Sharon Cheslow is an American musician, composer, and artist. In 1981, she formed Chalk Circle, Washington, D.C.'s first all-female punk band...

 of Chalk Circle (DC's first all-women
All-women band
An all-female band is a musical group composed of female musicians exclusively. A distinction is made here with a girl group, in which the members are solely vocalists, though this terminology is not universally followed.-1920s-1940s:In the Jazz Age and during the 1930s, "all-girl" bands such as...

 punk band) and Dug E. Bird of Beefeater
Beefeater (band)
Beefeater was an American post-hardcore band from late 1984 until 1986. Formed by Tomas Squip, Fred "Freak" Smith, Dug E. Bird and Bruce Atchley Taylor, they were pioneers of the post-hardcore genre and the Revolution Summer which took place in the Washington D.C. hardcore in the mid-'80s with...

, the second was the Wondertwins with Tim Green of Nation of Ulysses
Nation of Ulysses
The Nation of Ulysses was an American punk rock band from Washington, D.C., formed in spring 1988 with four members. Originally known as simply "Ulysses," the first mark of the group consisted of Ian Svenonius on vocals and trumpet, Steve Kroner on guitar, Steve Gamboa on bass guitar, and James...

. It was here that so many zinester people who'd only known each other from networking, mail, or talking on the phone, finally met and were brought together by an entire night of music dedicated to, for, and by women.

The following days would also feature bands like Unwound
Unwound
Unwound was a United States post-hardcore band based in Tumwater/Olympia, Washington. Formed in 1991, the band consisted of Justin Trosper , Vern Rumsey , and Brandt Sandeno , all of whom had previously been in a band called Giant Henry. Brandt Sandeno quit Unwound in 1992 and was replaced by...

, Jack Off Jill
Jack Off Jill
Jack Off Jill was an American alternative rock band from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, founded in 1992 by Jessica Fodera, Tenni Arslanyan, Robin Moulder, and Michelle Oliver. Though these four young women were the initial founders, twelve members rotated through the group in its lifespan, including...

, L7
L7 (band)
L7 was an American rock band from Los Angeles, that was active from 1985 to 2000. Due to their sound and image, they are often associated with the grunge movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.-History:...

, The Fastbacks, The Spinanes
The Spinanes
The Spinanes was an indie band from Olympia, Portland and Chicago, in the 1990s. The founding members were Rebecca Gates and Scott Plouf ....

, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet were a Juno Award-winning Canadian instrumental rock band, formed in 1984. They remain best-known for the track "Having an Average Weekend," which was used as the theme to the Canadian sketch comedy TV show The Kids in the Hall...

, Girl Trouble, The Pastels
The Pastels
The Pastels are a group from Glasgow, Scotland, UK.Their early records for labels like Whaam!, Creation, Rough Trade, and Glass Records, had a raw and immediate sound, melodic and amateur, which seemed at odds with the time...

, Kicking Giant, Rose Melberg
Rose Melberg
Rose Melberg is a musician and songwriter from Sacramento, California who has sung and played guitar as a member of Tiger Trap, The Softies and Go Sailor as well as on her own material. She also played drums and made some songwriting contributions with the band Gaze...

, Seaweed
Seaweed (band)
Seaweed is a band from Tacoma, Washington who were active throughout the 1990s. Their style of music is a combination of punk rock and grunge, mostly due to its 'dirty' sound.-History:...

, Kreviss, I Scream Truck, Scrawl
Scrawl
Scrawl is a musical trio based in Columbus, Ohio. The founding members are Marcy Mays , Sue Harshe , and Carolyn O'Leary . Their first show, in the summer of 1985, was a 20-minute opening spot for the Meat Puppets...

, Nation of Ulysses, Jad Fair
Jad Fair
Jad Fair is an American singer, guitarist and graphic artist, most famous for being a founding member of lo-fi alternative rock group Half Japanese.-Biography:In 1974, with his brother David, Jad Fair founded the lo-fi group Half Japanese...

, Thee Headcoats
Thee Headcoats
Thee Headcoats 1989 - 2000, was a band comprising Billy Childish, Bruce Brand, and Johnny Johnson. Childish was featured on guitar and vocals, Brand on drums and backing vocals, and Johnson on bass. The band was the most prolific of Childish's many musical projects, releasing fourteen full...

, and Steve Fisk
Steve Fisk
Steve Fisk is a Washington-based audio engineer, record producer and musician.Fisk joined the instrumental rock band Pell Mell in 1982. With vocalist Shawn Smith, he formed Pigeonhed, which released its first album in 1993....

, and spoken-word artist Juliana Luecking.

Influenced heavily by DIY culture, most bands' presentation subverted traditional or classically trained 'musicianship' in favor of raw, primitive, avant-lo-fi passion and fiercely deliberate amateurism: an idea growing rapidly in popularity, especially in the Olympia music scene
Olympia music scene
The city of Olympia, Washington has been a center of post-hardcore, anti-folk, and other youth-oriented musical genres since at least the late 1970s. Along with Washington D.C., Olympia was a center for the riot grrrl movement in the early 1990s...

, with bands like Beat Happening coining the slogans: "Learn how to NOT play your instrument" and "hey, you don't have to sound like the flavor of the month, all you have to do is sound like yourselves", arguing that traditional musical skill doesn't ultimately matter and should always be subservient to the passion, the fun and ideas in their music. This argument is similar to the ideological origins of punk rock itself, which started partially as an attempt to dissolve the growing division between audience and performer. These indie-punk bands (and riot grrrl bands in particular) were often ridiculed for "not being able to play their instruments", but fans are quick to counter that identical criticisms were often faced by the first-wave of punk rock bands in the 70s, and that this DIY garage amateurism "play just 'cause you wanna, no matter what" attitude was one of the most appealing and liberating aspects of both movements.

Quickly amassing a devoted cult audience
Cult following
A cult following is a group of fans who are highly dedicated to a specific area of pop culture. A film, book, band, or video game, among other things, will be said to have a cult following when it has a small but very passionate fan base...

, the riot grrrl bands worked to ensure their shows were safe spaces in which women could find solidarity and create their own subculture, thus setting the tone for much of the movement. Consciousness-raising
Consciousness raising
Consciousness raising is a form of political activism, pioneered by United States feminists in the late 1960s...

 activist-punk group meetings began taking place in international chapters, held in any available space from dorm rooms to community centre
Community centre
Community centres or community centers or jumping recreation centers are public locations where members of a community tend to gather for group activities, social support, public information, and other purposes. They may sometimes be open for the whole community or for a specialised group within...

s to studio apartment
Studio apartment
A studio apartment, also known as a studio flat , efficiency apartment or bachelor/bachelorette style apartment, is a small apartment which combines living room, bedroom, and kitchen or kitchenette into a single room...

s, soon becoming much bigger things like conventions
Convention (meeting)
A convention, in the sense of a meeting, is a gathering of individuals who meet at an arranged place and time in order to discuss or engage in some common interest. The most common conventions are based upon industry, profession, and fandom...

 and conferences, one of the first of which took place from July 31-August 2, 1992 in Washington, DC.

Other bands and artists associated with the riot grrrl movement in one way or another include Mecca Normal
Mecca Normal
Formed by Jean Smith and David Lester in 1984, Mecca Normal is a two-piece indie rock band from Vancouver, Canada. Smith writes lyrics and sings in a style that is often confrontational and laced with feminist themes; Lester's melodic yet dissonant guitar swirls and loops around her vocals...

, Scrawl
Scrawl
Scrawl is a musical trio based in Columbus, Ohio. The founding members are Marcy Mays , Sue Harshe , and Carolyn O'Leary . Their first show, in the summer of 1985, was a 20-minute opening spot for the Meat Puppets...

, Calamity Jane, Slant 6
Slant 6
Slant 6 was an all-female punk rock trio based in Washington, D.C.The group consisted of Christina Billotte , Myra Power , and Marge Marshall ; it formed in July 1992 following the 1991 breakup of Autoclave, in which Billotte had played...

, Sta-Prest
Sta-Prest (band)
-Biography:The band first made its appearance on the queercore record label Outpunk Records, on its compilation Outpunk Dance Party. Soon afterwards they released their first EP, Vespa Sex, also on Outpunk, followed later by a 7" single...

, Sue P. Fox, Jenny Toomey
Jenny Toomey
Jenny Toomey is an American indie rock musician and arts activist from Chevy Chase, Maryland, and later, Washington, D.C. She was a member of the bands Geek, Tsunami, Liquorice, Grenadine, So Low and Choke, among others, and has also recorded under her own name...

, Autoclave
Autoclave (band)
Autoclave was a post-punk band, based in Washington, D.C.. They were on local label Dischord Records. Formed in the summer of 1990, the group consisted of vocalist and bassist Christina Billotte, lead guitarist Mary Timony, guitarist Nikki Chapman, and drummer Melissa Berkoff.The group broke up in...

, Jack Off Jill
Jack Off Jill
Jack Off Jill was an American alternative rock band from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, founded in 1992 by Jessica Fodera, Tenni Arslanyan, Robin Moulder, and Michelle Oliver. Though these four young women were the initial founders, twelve members rotated through the group in its lifespan, including...

, Nomy Lamm
Nomy Lamm
Naomi Elizabeth "Nomy" Lamm is an American singer/songwriter and political activist. Lamm has described herself as a "bad ass, fat ass, Jew, dyke amputee."-Biography:Lamm was involved with musical theater during her youth...

, Excuse 17
Excuse 17
Excuse 17 was a punk rock band from Olympia, Washington that performed and recorded from 1993 to 1995.Carrie Brownstein, Becca Albee and CJ Phillips came together to form Excuse 17, a band that would only last a few years but would prove to be influential. Carrie and Becca both played guitar and...

, Third Sex, Canopy, Cheesecake, Tattle Tale
Tattle Tale
Tattle Tale is an American musical group that existed between 1992 and 1995. Composed of Jen Wood and Madigan Shive, they were well-known in the Riot Grrrl scene, playing what was later to be termed folk punk....

, Growing Up Skipper, The Need
The Need
The Need was a queercore band that originated in Olympia, Washington in the late 1990s. It was formed by Rachel Carns and Radio Sloan ; both were veterans of other indie rock bands...

, Team Dresch
Team Dresch
Team Dresch is an American punk band from Portland, Oregon, originally formed in Olympia, Washington, which was initially active from 1993 until 1998. The band made a significant impression on the do-it-yourself movement queercore, which gave voice through zines and music to the passions and...

, Fifth Column, Bangs
Bangs (band)
Bangs was a punk rock band from Olympia, Washington, formed in 1997 by guitarist Sarah Utter, after recruiting high-school friend Jesse Fox on drums and Maggie Vail .Bangs toured with...

, Free Kitten
Free Kitten
Free Kitten is a musical collaboration between Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Pussy Galore's Julie Cafritz. Originally performing under the name Kitten, they changed their name, after receiving threats of legal action by a heavy metal singer performing under that name...

, Emily's Sassy Lime
Emily's Sassy Lime
Emilys Sassy Lime was an all-Asian American teenage riot grrrl trio from SoCal, formed in 1993 by Wendy and Amy Yao, and Emily Ryan. According to Experience Music Project, they formed after sneaking out of their homes one night to see a Bikini Kill and Bratmobile show, striking up a...

, The Quails; in the UK, bands like Huggy Bear, Blood Sausage
Blood Sausage (band)
Blood Sausage were in indie rock band from Brighton, England, containing members of Huggy Bear.-History:The band featured vocalist Dale Shaw, who was described as "a self-confessed 'ugly' boy who read soulful beat poetry over whichever noise patterns happened to be passing at the time". Shaw...

, Mambo Taxi
Mambo Taxi
Mambo Taxi were a London based British band that were linked with Riot Grrrl, who formed in 1991 and split up in 1995.-History:Mambo Taxi were inspired by the UK garage rock scene and US punk. Their sound was a mixture of garage, punk, and pop and they also had links to British riot grrrl bands...

, Skinned Teen
Skinned Teen
Skinned Teen were a Riot Grrrl band from London, England, active in the early 1990s. They have been cited as an inspiration by Beth Ditto, Kathleen Hanna and Josephine Olaussan of Love Is All.-History:...

, Pussycat Trash, Golden Starlet, Phantom Pregnancies, Linus, Sister George
Sister George
Sister George was an influential queercore band from London that was formed in 1994. The groups' name was inspired by the 1968 UK movie The Killing of Sister George, which was an adaptation of a BBC radio play of the same name...

, Coping Saw (who featured Leeds fanzine writer Karren Ablaze!
Ablaze! (fanzine)
Ablaze! was a British indie music fanzine, produced in Manchester and Leeds, that ran for ten issues between 1987 and 1993.-History:In the 1980s Ablaze! was an early champion of UK 'noisenik' bands, such as Dog Faced Hermans, the Wedding Present and the Walking Seeds, and US noise rock and grunge...

), and Voodoo Queens
Voodoo Queens
The Voodoo Queens were a North London-based girl group, who reached number one in the Indie Charts in 1993.-History:The band composed of Anjali Bhatia , Ella Guru , Stefania Lucchesini , Rajni Bhatia and Anjula Bhasker...

; and in Brazil, bands like Dominatrix, Kaos Klitoriano and Menstruação Anarquika.

However, it is also worth noting that there were quite a few girl-centric or all-women punk bands of this era like 7 Year Bitch
7 Year Bitch
7 Year Bitch was an American punk rock band from Seattle, Washington that was active for 7 years, between 1990 and 1997. Their career yielded three albums, and was impacted by the deaths of their guitarist Stefanie Sargent and close-friend Mia Zapata of fellow Seattle punks The Gits.-Career:7 Year...

, Red Aunts
Red Aunts
The Red Aunts were an all-female punk band that formed in 1991 in Long Beach, California when Terri Wahl recruited friends Kerry Davis and Debi Martini . Wahl would become the guitarist, sharing vocal duties with Davis who also played rhythm guitar and Martini as bassist...

, Thee Headcoatees
Thee Headcoatees
Thee Headcoatees is a band that was formed in the Medway Garage Scene in north Kent, England in 1991. The members of this all girl band were Holly Golightly, Kyra LaRubia, Ludella Black and "Bongo" Debbie Green.-Formation:...

, or Spitboy
Spitboy
Spitboy was an American anarcho-punk band founded in San Francisco, California in the early 1990s by four women. Within their music they aggressively criticized patriarchy and gender roles.-History:...

, who were plenty independent and political themselves, but did not necessarily self-identify with the 'riot grrrl' label, despite sharing similar DIY tactics and feminist ideologies.

Zines and self publishing


Even as the Seattle-area rock scene came to international mainstream media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 attention, riot grrrl remained a willfully underground phenomenon. Most musicians shunned the major record labels, devotedly working instead with indie labels
Independent record label
An independent record label is a record label operating without the funding of or outside the organizations of the major record labels. A great number of bands and musical acts begin on independent labels.-Overview:...

 such as Kill Rock Stars
Kill Rock Stars
Kill Rock Stars is an independent record label founded in 1991 by Slim Moon and based in both Olympia, Washington and Portland, Oregon. The label has released a variety of work in different genres, making it difficult to pigeonhole as having any one artistic mission...

, K Records
K Records
K Records is an independent record label in Olympia, Washington, co-founded, owned, and operated by Calvin Johnson, formerly of the bands Cool Rays, Beat Happening, The Go Team, The Halo Benders and presently in the bands Dub Narcotic Sound System and The Hive Dwellers...

, Slampt
Slampt
Slampt was a record label set up in Newcastle, England in 1992.The label is perhaps best known for releasing Kenickie's early work. Slampt also released the debut single by Yummy Fur, a band who later featured Paul Thomson and Alex Huntley a.k.a. Alex Kapranos...

, Piao! Records, Simple Machines
Simple Machines
Simple Machines was a record label that operated out of Arlington, Virginia. The label was masterminded by Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thomson and, at its peak, had four paid workers- Toomey, Thomson, Pat Graham and Mickey Menard...

, Catcall, WIIIJA
Wiiija
Wiiija was a British independent record label. It was founded in 1988 by staff from the Rough Trade Shop in Notting Hill, London. The name Wiiija is a corruption of W11 1JA, the postcode of the Rough Trade Shop in Talbot Street....

 and Chainsaw Records
Chainsaw Records
Chainsaw Records is an independent record label run by Donna Dresch, devoted to Queercore bands and operating out of Portland, Oregon.-History:...

. The movement also figured fairly prominently in cassette culture
Cassette culture
Cassette culture, or the cassette underground , refers to the practices surrounding amateur production and distribution of recorded music that emerged in the late 1970s via home-made audio cassettes...

, with artists often starting their own DIY cassette labels by as basic and spartan a means as recording their music onto cheap off-the-shelf boom-boxes and passing the cassettes out to friends, seldom charging anything beyond the cost of the actual tapes themselves.

Riot grrrl's momentum was also hugely supported by an explosion of creativity in defiantly homemade cut-and-paste
Cut and paste
In human-computer interaction, cut and paste and copy and paste offer user-interface interaction techniques for transferring text, data, files or objects from a source to a destination. Most ubiquitously, users require the ability to cut and paste sections of plain text...

, xerox
Xerox
Xerox Corporation is an American multinational document management corporation that produced and sells a range of color and black-and-white printers, multifunction systems, photo copiers, digital production printing presses, and related consulting services and supplies...

ed, collage
Collage
A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

y zine
Zine
A zine is most commonly a small circulation publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest usually reproduced via photocopier....

s that covered a variety of feminist topics, frequently attempting to draw out the political implications of intensely personal experiences with sexism
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

, mental illness
Mental illness
A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological or behavioral pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual, and which is not a part of normal development or culture. Such a disorder may consist of a combination of affective, behavioural,...

, body image
Body image
Body image refers to a person's perception of the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of their own body. The phrase body image was first coined by the Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Paul Schilder in his masterpiece The Image and Appearance of the Human Body...

 and eating disorders, sexual abuse
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester...

, racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

, rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

, discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

, stalking
Stalking
Stalking is a term commonly used to refer to unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual or group to another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person and/or monitoring them via the internet...

, domestic violence
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

, incest
Incest
Incest is sexual intercourse between close relatives that is usually illegal in the jurisdiction where it takes place and/or is conventionally considered a taboo. The term may apply to sexual activities between: individuals of close "blood relationship"; members of the same household; step...

, homophobia
Homophobia
Homophobia is a term used to refer to a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards lesbian, gay and in some cases bisexual, transgender people and behavior, although these are usually covered under other terms such as biphobia and transphobia. Definitions refer to irrational fear, with the...

, and sometimes vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

. These zines were archived by zinewiki.com, and Riot Grrrl Press, started in Washington DC in 1992 by Erika Reinstein & May Summer. Others can be found anthologized in A Girl's Guide to Taking over the World: Writings from the Girl Zine Revolution, for which actress/singer/musician
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

/writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

/performance artist Ann Magnuson
Ann Magnuson
Ann Magnuson is an American actress, performance artist, and nightclub performer who first gained prominence in the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan...

 of Bongwater
Bongwater (band)
Bongwater was a psych rock band formed in 1985 and dissolved in 1992. The group was founded by Ann Magnuson and Mark Kramer , who had worked together previously in Pulsallama. The group also featured drummer Dave Licht and guitarists [Dave Rick] and later Randolph A. Hudson III...

 fame wrote as a foreword:

When I think of how much benefit my teenage self could have gained from the multitude of zines that have proliferated over the past decade, I weep for all the lost potential. Except for Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" , is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the...

 and Anne Frank
Anne Frank
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.Born in the city of Frankfurt...

, the thoughts of teenage girls have rarely been taken seriously.


Many of the women involved with queercore
Queercore
Queercore is a cultural and social movement that began in the mid-1980s as an offshoot of punk. It is distinguished by being discontent with society in general and its rejection of the disapproval of the gay, bisexual, and lesbian communities and their "oppressive agenda"...

 were also interested in riot grrrl, and zines such as Chainsaw by Donna Dresch
Donna Dresch
Donna Dresch is an American punk rock musician, perhaps best known as founder, guitarist and bass guitarist of Team Dresch and the Queen of Grunge....

, Sister Nobody, Jane Gets A Divorce and I (heart) Amy Carter by Tammy Rae Carland
Tammy Rae Carland
Tammy Rae Carland is a zine editor, artist, filmmaker and owner of the independent lesbian music label Mr. Lady Records.In the late 1980s she co-founded an independent art gallery in Olympia, Washington with Heidi Arbogast. The two teamed up with Kathleen Hanna, who often did spoken word...

 embody both movements. There were also national conventions like in Washington D.C. or the Pussystock festival in New York City, as well as various subsequent indie-documentaries
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 like Don't Need You: the Herstory
Herstory
Herstory is history written from a feminist perspective, emphasizing the role of women, or told from a woman's point of view. Ii is a neologism coined in the late 1960s as part of a feminist critique of conventional historiography...

 of Riot Grrrl
.

Although many riot grrrl bands included male band members, like Billy Karren
Billy Karren
Billy Karren is an American musician and feminist most commonly known as the lead guitarist of the influential punk band Bikini Kill. He was also active in many other music projects in the Olympia music scene including: The Go Team, The Frumpies, Corrections, and Spray Painted Love.He was not often...

 of Bikini Kill
Bikini Kill
Bikini Kill was an American punk rock band formed in Olympia, Washington in October 1990. The group consisted of vocalist and songwriter Kathleen Hanna, guitarist Billy Karren, bassist Kathi Wilcox, and drummer Tobi Vail. The band is widely considered to be the pioneer of the riot grrrl movement,...

 or Jon Slade and Chris Rowley of Huggy Bear, the bands weren't always so enthusiastically received at shows by male audience members. Bands like Bikini Kill would often actively invite members of the audience to talk about their personal experiences with sensitive issues like sexual abuse, pass out lyric sheets to everyone in the audience girl and boy, and almost always demand that the mosh boys move to the back or side to allow space in front for the girls in the audience, a controversial decision which sometimes led to booing
Booing
Booing is an act of showing displeasure for someone or something, generally an entertainer, by loudly yelling boo! or making other noises of disparagement, such as hissing. People may make hand signs at the entertainer, such as the thumbs down sign...

 (and sometimes violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

) and once caused Melody Maker
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

to accuse them and riot grrrl in general of misandry
Misandry
Misandry is the hatred or dislike of men or boys.Misandry comes from Greek misos and anēr, andros . Misandry is the antonym of philandry, the fondness towards men, love, or admiration of them...

, a common criticism.

However Punk Planet
Punk Planet
Punk Planet was a 16,000 print run punk zine, based in Chicago, Illinois, that focused most of its energy on looking at punk subculture rather than punk as simply another genre of music to which teenagers listen. In addition to covering music, Punk Planet also covered visual arts and a wide...

editor Daniel Sinker wrote in We Owe You Nothing:
The vehemence fanzines large and small reserved for riot grrrl - and Bikini Kill in particular - was shocking. The punk zine
Punk zine
A punk zine is a zine devoted to punk culture, most often punk rock music, bands, or the DIY punk ethic. Punk zines are the most likely place to find punk literature....

 editors' use of 'bitches', 'cunt
Cunt
Cunt is a vulgarism, primarily referring to the female genitalia, specifically the vulva, and including the cleft of Venus. The earliest citation of this usage in the 1972 Oxford English Dictionary, c 1230, refers to the London street known as Gropecunt Lane...

s', 'man-haters
Misandry
Misandry is the hatred or dislike of men or boys.Misandry comes from Greek misos and anēr, andros . Misandry is the antonym of philandry, the fondness towards men, love, or admiration of them...

', and 'dykes' was proof-positive that sexism was still strong in the punk scene.


Kathi Wilcox
Kathi Wilcox
Kathi Wilcox is an American musician. Currently the bass player in The Julie Ruin, she has previously been in bands such as Bikini Kill, The Casual Dots and The Frumpies.- Music :...

 said in a fanzine interview:
I've been in a state of surprise for several years about this very thing. I don't know why so-called punk rockers are so threatened by a little shake-up of the truly boring dynamic of the standard show atmosphere. How fresh is the idea of fifty sweaty hardcore boys slamming into each other or jumping on each others' heads? Granted, it's kind of cool to be on stage and have action in the front, much more inspiring than to look out at a crowd of zombies, but so often the survival-of-the-fittest principle is in operation in the pit, and what girl wants to go up against a pack of Rollins
Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins is an American singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, writer, comedian, publisher, actor, and radio DJ....

 boys who usually only want to be extra mean to her anyway just to make her "prove" her place in the pit. This was the case when I was first going to shows, and it's sad that things haven't changed at all since. And I usually took the attitude of "Fuck them, I don't care if I DIE in there cuz I can be in front for this band I want to see," and I was kind of into the violent aspect of it anyway. But it would have been so cool if at one of these shows someone onstage would have said, hey let's have more girls up in the front, just so I could have had more company and girls over to side could have seen better/been in the action.

So yeah, we do encourage girls to the front, and sometimes when shows have gotten really violent (like when we were in England) we had to ask the boys to move to the side or the back because it was just too fucking scary for us, after several attacks and threats, to face another sea of hostile boy-faces right in the front. Especially when it was at the expense of girls who really wanted to see us and liked us anyway, who stayed in the back. And it's also for the safety of the boys, because a few times the girls have gotten a little out of control, like when we played with the rocking Tribe 8
Tribe 8
This article is about the San Francisco based lesbian punk band Tribe 8. See Tribe 8 for Dream Pod 9s post-apocalyptic fantasy role-playing game.Tribe 8 was an all-women outspoken dyke punk band from San Francisco...

, if I was a boy I would stay far away from the wild chicks in the pit, FOR REAL.

As far as why people are scared, well cool boys and the real punk rockers know that shaking up the scene can be a good thing and aren't necessarily as reactionary as the poseurs who get all their ideas and fashion tips from Mtv
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

. It's just like real life.


Bands would often attempt to reappropriate
Reappropriation
Reappropriation is the cultural process by which a group reclaims—re-appropriates—terms or artifacts that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. For example, since the early 1970s, much terminology referring to homosexuality—such as gay, queer, and faggot—has been reappropriated...

 derogatory phrases like 'cunt', 'bitch', 'dyke' and 'slut
Slut
Slut or slattern is a pejorative term applied to an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous...

', writing them proudly on their skin with lipstick
Lipstick
Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that applies color, texture, and protection to the lips. Many varieties of lipstick are known. As with most other types of makeup, lipstick is typically, but not exclusively, worn by women...

 or fat markers
Marker pen
thumb|MarkerA marker pen, marking pen, felt-tip pen, flow or marker, is a pen which has its own ink-source, and usually a tip made of a porous, pressed fibres; such as felt or nylon.-Permanent marker:...

.

Kathleen Hanna would later write:

It was also super schizo to play shows where guys threw stuff at us, called us cunts and yelled "take it off" during our set, and then the next night perform for throngs of amazing girls singing along to every lyric and cheering after every song.


Molly Neuman once summarized: "We're not anti-boy, we're pro-girl."

Indeed, members of riot grrrl culture, fans, or members of bands, include males too. Calvin Johnson and Slim Moon
Slim Moon
Slim Moon is the founder of the independent music label, Kill Rock Stars. He also started its sister label, 5 Rue Christine...

 have been instrumental in publishing a great many of the bands on the labels they founded, K Records
K Records
K Records is an independent record label in Olympia, Washington, co-founded, owned, and operated by Calvin Johnson, formerly of the bands Cool Rays, Beat Happening, The Go Team, The Halo Benders and presently in the bands Dub Narcotic Sound System and The Hive Dwellers...

 and Kill Rock Stars
Kill Rock Stars
Kill Rock Stars is an independent record label founded in 1991 by Slim Moon and based in both Olympia, Washington and Portland, Oregon. The label has released a variety of work in different genres, making it difficult to pigeonhole as having any one artistic mission...

 respectively. Alec Empire
Alec Empire
Alec Empire is a German musician who is best known as a founding member of the band Atari Teenage Riot. Also a prolific and distinguished solo artist, producer and DJ, he has released well over a hundred albums, EPs and singles and remixed over seventy tracks for various artists including Björk...

 of Atari Teenage Riot
Atari Teenage Riot
'Atari Teenage Riot' is a German digital hardcore group formed in Berlin in 1992. The name was taken from a Portuguese Joe song 'Teenage Riot' from the 'Teen-age Riot' album, with the word 'Atari' added as an Atari ST computer was used to create compositions...

 said, "I was totally into the riot grrrl music, I see it as a very important form of expression. I learned a lot from that, way more maybe than from 'male' punk rock." Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl
David Eric "Dave" Grohl is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter for Foo Fighters; the former drummer for Nirvana and Scream; and the current drummer for Them Crooked Vultures...

 and Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer-songwriter, musician and artist, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana...

 dated Kathleen Hanna and Tobi Vail (also respectively), and often played with Bikini Kill even after splitting with them; Kurt was a big fan of The Slits
The Slits
The Slits were a British punk rock band. The quartet was formed in 1976 by members of the bands The Flowers of Romance and The Castrators. The members were Ari Up , who died of cancer in October 2010, and Palmolive , with Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt replacing founding members, Kate Korus and...

 and even convinced The Raincoats
The Raincoats
The Raincoats are a British post-punk band. Ana da Silva and Gina Birch formed the group in 1977 while they were students at Hornsey College of Art, London, England.-Career:...

 to reform. He once said, "The future of rock belongs to women."

Media misconceptions


As media attention increasingly focused on Grunge and Alternative Rock in the early nineties, the term 'Riot Grrrl' was often applied to less political female alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 acts such as 7 Year Bitch
7 Year Bitch
7 Year Bitch was an American punk rock band from Seattle, Washington that was active for 7 years, between 1990 and 1997. Their career yielded three albums, and was impacted by the deaths of their guitarist Stefanie Sargent and close-friend Mia Zapata of fellow Seattle punks The Gits.-Career:7 Year...

, Babes in Toyland
Babes in Toyland (band)
Babes in Toyland was an American alternative rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1987. The band was formed by Oregon native Kat Bjelland , with Lori Barbero and Michelle Leon , who was later replaced by Maureen Herman in 1992...

, The Breeders
The Breeders
The Breeders are an American alternative rock band formed in 1988 by Kim Deal of the Pixies and Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses. The band has experienced a number of line-up changes; the current line-up consists of Kim Deal , her twin sister Kelley Deal , Jose Medeles , Mando Lopez Todd the Fox...

, The Gits
The Gits
The Gits were an American punk rock band, formed in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1986. Known for their part in the burgeoning Seattle music scene of the early 1990s, their distinct punk rock sound gained a reputation for its bluesy street punk aesthetic...

, Hole
Hole (band)
Hole is an American alternative rock band that originally formed in Los Angeles in 1989. The band is fronted by vocalist/songwriter and rhythm guitarist Courtney Love, who co-founded Hole with former songwriter/lead guitarist Eric Erlandson...

, L7
L7 (band)
L7 was an American rock band from Los Angeles, that was active from 1985 to 2000. Due to their sound and image, they are often associated with the grunge movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.-History:...

, PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey
Polly Jean Harvey is an English musician, singer-songwriter, composer and occasional artist. Primarily known as a vocalist and guitarist, she is also proficient with a wide range of instruments including piano, organ, bass, saxophone, and most recently, the autoharp.Harvey began her career in...

, Veruca Salt
Veruca Salt (band)
Veruca Salt is an alternative rock band founded in 1993 in Chicago, Illinois. Since its inception, the band's line-up has included vocalist-guitarist Louise Post. Guitarist Stephen Fitzpatrick has been with the band since 1999 and drummer Kellii Scott has worked with the group on and off since 1999...

, and even No Doubt
No Doubt
No Doubt is an American rock band from Anaheim, California that formed in 1986. The ska-pop sound of their first album No Doubt , failed to make an impact...

. Although the term could easily apply to L7
L7 (band)
L7 was an American rock band from Los Angeles, that was active from 1985 to 2000. Due to their sound and image, they are often associated with the grunge movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.-History:...

 due to their involvement in the creation of Rock for Choice
Rock for Choice
Rock for Choice was a series of benefit concerts held over the ten year period between 1991 to 2001. The concerts were designed to allow musicians to show their support for the pro-choice movement in the United States and Canada....

, a series of concerts and compilation albums designed to raise money and awareness for abortion rights and protection of women's health clinics. To their chagrin, riot grrrls found themselves in the media spotlight during 1992, accused of dragging feminism into the mosh pit in magazines from Seventeen
Seventeen (magazine)
Seventeen is an American magazine for teenagers. It was first published in September 1944 by Walter Annenberg's Triangle Publications. News Corporation bought Triangle in 1988, and sold Seventeen to K-III Communications in 1991. Primedia sold the magazine to Hearst in 2003. It is still in the...

to Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

. Fallout from the media coverage led to resignations of people like Jessica Hopper, who was at the center of the Newsweek article. Kathleen Hanna called that year for "a press block". In an essay from January 1994, included in the CD version of Bikini Kill's first two records, Tobi Vail responded to media simplifications and mis-characterization of Riot Grrrl:
one huge misconception for instance that has been repeated over and over again in magazines we have never spoken to and also by those who believe these sources without checking things out themselves is that Bikini Kill is the definitive 'riot girl band' ... We are not in anyway 'leaders of' or authorities on the 'Riot Girl' movement. In fact, as individuals we have each had different experiences with, feelings on, opinions of and varying degrees of involvement with 'Riot Girl' and though we totally respect those who still feel that label is important and meaningful to them, we have never used that term to describe ourselves AS A BAND. As individuals we respect and utilize and subscribe to a variety of different aesthetics, strategies, and beliefs, both political and punk-wise, some of which are probably considered 'riot girl.'


Writer/musician/historian/artist Sharon Cheslow
Sharon Cheslow
Sharon Cheslow is an American musician, composer, and artist. In 1981, she formed Chalk Circle, Washington, D.C.'s first all-female punk band...

 said in EMP's
Experience Music Project
The EMP Museum is a museum dedicated to the history and exploration of both popular music and science fiction located in Seattle, Washington...

 Riot Grrrl Retrospective documentary:

There were a lot of very important ideas that I think the mainstream media couldn't handle, so it was easier to focus on the fact that these were girls who were wearing barrette
Barrette
A barrette is a clasp or pin for holding hair in place....

s in their hair
Hair
Hair is a filamentous biomaterial, that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Found exclusively in mammals, hair is one of the defining characteristics of the mammalian class....

 or writing 'slut' on their stomach
Stomach
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the alimentary canal which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects , and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication .The stomach is...

.


Corin Tucker
Corin Tucker
Corin Lisa Tucker is a singer and guitarist, best known for her work with rock band Sleater-Kinney.- Early life :In the early 1990s, Tucker attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she studied film, political economy, and social change...

 of Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy was an American indie-punk band formed in Olympia, Washington in 1991. They were part of the DIY riot grrrl movement in the punk rock underground in the early 1990s, and were the first band of Sleater-Kinney vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker....

 and Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney was an alternative rock band from Portland, Oregon that formed in 1994. Originally formed in Olympia, Washington, the group's name is derived from Sleater-Kinney Road, Interstate 5 off ramp #108 in Lacey, Washington, the location of one of their early practice spaces. They were a...

 said:

I think it was deliberate that we were made to look like we were just ridiculous girls parading around in our underwear. They refused to do serious interviews
Interviews
Interviews is:# the plural form of "interview"# a compilation album by Bob Marley & the Wailers, see Interviews # a C++ toolkit for the X Window System, see InterViews...

 with us, they misprinted what we had to say, they would take our articles, and our fanzines, and our essays and take them out of context. We wrote a lot about sexual abuse
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester...

 and sexual assault
Sexual assault
Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children....

 for teenagers and young women. I think those are really important concepts that the media never addressed.

Legacy


By the mid-nineties, riot grrrl had severely splintered. Many within the movement felt that the mainstream media had completely misrepresented their message, and that the politically radical aspects of riot grrrl had been subverted by the likes of the Spice Girls
Spice Girls
The Spice Girls were a British pop girl group formed in 1994. The group consisted of Victoria Beckham , Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Halliwell. They were signed to Virgin Records and released their debut single, "Wannabe" in 1996, which hit number-one in more than 30...

 and their "girl power
Girl Power
The phrase "girl power", as a term of empowerment, expressed a cultural phenomenon of the 1990s and early 2000s. It is also linked to third-wave feminism...

" message, or co-opted by ostensibly women-centered bands (though sometimes with only one female performer per band) and festivals like Lilith Fair
Lilith Fair
Lilith Fair was a concert tour and travelling music festival, founded by Canadian musician Sarah McLachlan, Nettwerk Music Group's Dan Fraser and Terry McBride, and New York talent agent Marty Diamond. It took place during the summers of 1997 to 1999, and was revived in the summer of 2010. It...

.

The movement encouraged and made "adolescent girls' standpoints central", allowing them to express themselves fully.

However, the influence of riot grrrl can still be felt in many aspects of indie and punk rock culture. Kaia Wilson
Kaia Wilson
Kaia Wilson is a musician from Portland, Oregon, best known as a founding member of both Team Dresch, a revered 1990s queercore punk band, and The Butchies, a pop-rock spin-off from her solo work. In addition to singing, songwriting and guitar, Wilson co-established and operated Mr...

 of Team Dresch
Team Dresch
Team Dresch is an American punk band from Portland, Oregon, originally formed in Olympia, Washington, which was initially active from 1993 until 1998. The band made a significant impression on the do-it-yourself movement queercore, which gave voice through zines and music to the passions and...

 and multimedia artist
Multimedia artist
Multimedia artists are contemporary artists who use a wide range of media to communicate their art. Multimedia art includes, by definition, more than one medium, therefore multimedia artists use visual art in combination with sound art, moving images and other media...

 Tammy Rae Carland
Tammy Rae Carland
Tammy Rae Carland is a zine editor, artist, filmmaker and owner of the independent lesbian music label Mr. Lady Records.In the late 1980s she co-founded an independent art gallery in Olympia, Washington with Heidi Arbogast. The two teamed up with Kathleen Hanna, who often did spoken word...

 went on to form the now-defunct Mr. Lady Records
Mr. Lady Records
Mr. Lady Records was a San Francisco-based lesbian-feminist independent record label and video art distributor. Artists on the label included Le Tigre and The Butchies. OutSmart magazine noted that Mr...

 which released albums by The Butchies
The Butchies
The Butchies are a punk rock band from Durham, North Carolina, that existed from 1998 to 2005, and are currently on a hiatus. The frequent focus of their lyrical content concerned lesbian and queer themes....

, The Need
The Need
The Need was a queercore band that originated in Olympia, Washington in the late 1990s. It was formed by Rachel Carns and Radio Sloan ; both were veterans of other indie rock bands...

, Kiki and Herb
Kiki and Herb
Kiki and Herb are an American drag cabaret duo. Bond portrays Kiki DuRane, an aging, alcoholic, female lounge singer...

, and Tracy + the Plastics
Tracy + the Plastics
Tracy + the Plastics is the name of the electro-pop solo project of Wynne Greenwood, a lesbian feminist video artist based in Olympia, Washington. The music consists of a Boss DR-5 drum machine, an Akai 612 disc sampler and anything else Tracy, Nikki, and Cola feel like using...

.

Many of the women involved in riot grrrl are still active in creating politically charged music. Kathleen Hanna went on to found the electro-feminist post-punk
Post-punk
Post-punk is a rock music movement with its roots in the late 1970s, following on the heels of the initial punk rock explosion of the mid-1970s. The genre retains its roots in the punk movement but is more introverted, complex and experimental...

 'protest
Protest
A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations...

 pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

' group Le Tigre
Le Tigre
Le Tigre is an American electroclash band, formed by Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman in 1998. It also featured Sadie Benning from 1998 until 2001, and JD Samson for the rest of the group's run...

, Kathi Wilcox joined the Casual Dots with Christina Billotte
Christina Billotte
Christina Billotte is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She is known for her involvement in the punk music scene in Washington DC, as a performer and organizer...

 of Slant 6
Slant 6
Slant 6 was an all-female punk rock trio based in Washington, D.C.The group consisted of Christina Billotte , Myra Power , and Marge Marshall ; it formed in July 1992 following the 1991 breakup of Autoclave, in which Billotte had played...

, and Tobi Vail formed Spider and the Webs. Corin Tucker
Corin Tucker
Corin Lisa Tucker is a singer and guitarist, best known for her work with rock band Sleater-Kinney.- Early life :In the early 1990s, Tucker attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she studied film, political economy, and social change...

 of Heavens to Betsy and Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Rachel Brownstein , is an American musician, writer, and actress, best known as a guitarist and vocalist in the now-defunct Portland, Oregon-based band Sleater-Kinney...

 of Excuse 17 co-founded Sleater-Kinney at the tail end of the movement, and Bratmobile reunited in 2000 to release two albums, before Allison Wolfe began singing with other all-women bands, Cold Cold Hearts, and currently Partyline
Partyline
Partyline is a Washington, D.C.-based punk rock band consisting of singer/songwriterAllison Wolfe , guitarist Angela Melkisethian , drummer Crystal Bradley, and new touring drummer Gene Vincent Melkisethian Partyline is a Washington, D.C.-based punk rock band consisting of singer/songwriterAllison...

. Molly Neuman now plays with New York punk band Love Or Perish and runs her own indie label called Simple Social Graces Discos, as well as co-owning Lookout! Records
Lookout! Records
-History:Larry Livermore and David Hayes formed the label in 1987. From the start, Lookout released punk rock records, but over time expanded its scope to include various types of pop rock, reggae fusion, acoustic rock, pop punk, and indie rock...

 and managing The Donnas
The Donnas
The Donnas are an American all-female rock band from Palo Alto, California. They draw inspiration from The Ramones, The Runaways, AC/DC, Bachman–Turner Overdrive and Kiss. Rolling Stone has stated that "the Donnas offer a guileless take on adolescent alienation; they traffic in kicks, not...

, Ted Leo
Ted Leo
Theodore F. Leo , called "Ted," as a short form of "Theodore," is an American punk rock/indie rock songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, though he is most known for his singing and guitar playing...

, Some Girls
Some Girls (band)
Some Girls is an American indie rock trio composed of Juliana Hatfield , Heidi Gluck and Freda Love Smith . The group's songs are generally melodic, upbeat, and lighthearted.The group released first album, Feel It, in 2003 and toured the United States...

, and The Locust
The Locust
The Locust is a musical group from San Diego, California, United States known for their unique mix of grindcore speed and aggression, mathcore complexity, and new wave weirdness.- Style :...

.

The legacy of riot grrrl is clearly visible in numerous girls and women worldwide who cite the movement as an interest or an influence on their lives and/or their work. Some just listen to riot grrrl bands while others form or join bands themselves, slowly paving the way for fulfillment of one of the goals of original riot grrrl - increasing the number and significance of women in alternative music and music in general. Some of them are self-proclaimed riot grrrls while others consider themselves simply admirers or fans. There are many fansites and message boards for riot grrrl on the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

.

In the foreword to Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now! Beth Ditto
Beth Ditto
Mary Beth Patterson, known by her stage name Beth Ditto , is an American singer-songwriter, most famous for her work with the indie rock band Gossip.-Personal life:...

 writes of riot grrrl,
A movement formed by a handful of girls who felt empowered, who were angry, hilarious, and extreme through and for each other. Built on the floors of strangers' living rooms, tops of Xerox machines, snail mail, word of mouth and mixtapes, riot grrrl reinvented punk.


Writing about riot grrrl's personal influence on her and her music, she muses on the meaning of the movement for her generation,
Until I found riot grrrl, or riot grrrl found me I was just another Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem
Gloria Marie Steinem is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s...

 NOW feminist trying to take a stand in shop class. Now I am a musician, a writer, a whole person.


Starting during the fall of 2010 the "Riot Grrrl Collection" will be housed at New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

's Fales Library and Special Collections. Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna is an American musician, feminist activist, and punk zine writer. In the early- to mid-1990s she was the lead singer and songwriter of Bikini Kill, before fronting Le Tigre in the late 1990s and early 2000s...

, Johanna Fateman
Johanna Fateman
Johanna Fateman is a writer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. She is a member of the post-punk rock band Le Tigre and founded the band MEN with Le Tigre bandmate JD Samson.-Background and career:...

, and Becca Albee have donated primary source
Primary source
Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied....

 material, while Molly Neuman
Molly Neuman
Molly Neuman is a musician originally from the Washington, D.C. area who has performed in such influential bands as Bratmobile, The Frumpies, and the PeeChees. She was a pioneer of the early-to-mid '90s riot grrrl movement, penning the zine which coined the phrase in...

, Allison Wolfe
Allison Wolfe
-Background:Born an identical twin in Memphis, Tennessee on November 9, 1969, Allison played a significant role in the formation of the riot grrrl movement of the 90s. She grew up in Olympia, Washington, with mother Pat Shively and sisters Cindy and Molly Wolfe...

, Kathi Wilcox
Kathi Wilcox
Kathi Wilcox is an American musician. Currently the bass player in The Julie Ruin, she has previously been in bands such as Bikini Kill, The Casual Dots and The Frumpies.- Music :...

, and Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Rachel Brownstein , is an American musician, writer, and actress, best known as a guitarist and vocalist in the now-defunct Portland, Oregon-based band Sleater-Kinney...

 are expected to donate material shortly. The collection is the brainchild of Lisa Darms, Senior Archivist at the Fales Library. According to Jenna Freedman a librarian who maintains a zine collection at Barnard College
Barnard College
Barnard College is a private women's liberal arts college and a member of the Seven Sisters. Founded in 1889, Barnard has been affiliated with Columbia University since 1900. The campus stretches along Broadway between 116th and 120th Streets in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in the borough...

 "it's just essential to preserve the activist voices in their own unmediated work, especially because of the media blackout that they called for". Kathleen Hanna, while understanding no collection can replicate the concert experience, feels the collection is safe place that will be "free from feminist erasure".

The term "grrrl" (or "grrl") itself has since been co-opted or used by agencies as diverse as advocacy on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an international non-profit digital rights advocacy and legal organization based in the United States...

 (GRRL POWER 1.0 5-PACK / Memetics for the Ladies) and a roller derby
Roller derby
Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track. Game play consists of a series of short matchups in which both teams designate a scoring player who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team...

 league in Singapore.

Criticism


Riot Grrrl has sometimes been criticized for not being inclusive enough, and for focusing on mostly middle-class white women. Courtney Love
Courtney Love
Courtney Michelle Love is an American rock musician. Love is the lead vocalist, lyricist, and rhythm guitarist for alternative rock band Hole, which she formed in 1989, and is an actress who has moved from bit parts in Alex Cox films to significant and acclaimed roles in The People vs...

, a contemporary of the Riot Grrrl movement, criticized it for being too doctrinaire and censorious. She is on record saying:
Look, you've got these highly intelligent imperious girls, but who told them it was their undeniable American right not to be offended? Being offended is part of being in the real world. I'm offended every time I see George Bush on TV! And, frankly, it wasn't very good music.

Relation to feminism


Riot grrrl culture is often associated with third wave feminism, which also grew rapidly during the same early nineties timeframe. It is often viewed as a third wave feminism cultural movement, and sometimes seen as its starting point. However, riot grrrl's emphasis on universal female identity and separatism often seems more closely allied with second wave feminism. On the other hand, third wave feminism attempted to foster an acceptance of the diversity of feminist expression. Riot grrrl arose after the queercore
Queercore
Queercore is a cultural and social movement that began in the mid-1980s as an offshoot of punk. It is distinguished by being discontent with society in general and its rejection of the disapproval of the gay, bisexual, and lesbian communities and their "oppressive agenda"...

 movement, although the distinction between the two movements is at times blurred, given bands such as Team Dresch
Team Dresch
Team Dresch is an American punk band from Portland, Oregon, originally formed in Olympia, Washington, which was initially active from 1993 until 1998. The band made a significant impression on the do-it-yourself movement queercore, which gave voice through zines and music to the passions and...

 and Fifth Column who embraced both genres. Riot grrrl lyrics often address issues such as rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

, domestic abuse, sexuality
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

 and female empowerment
Empowerment
Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, racial, educational, gender or economic strength of individuals and communities...

.

See also

  • List of riot grrrl bands
  • List of all-women bands
  • Feminism
    Feminism
    Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

  • Foxcore
    Foxcore
    Foxcore is an umbrella term associated with female fronted bands of the 1990s. The term was coined as a joke by Thurston Moore during the early 1990s to describe a wave of loud and aggressive female fronted bands that was occurring at the time...

  • Girl Power
    Girl Power
    The phrase "girl power", as a term of empowerment, expressed a cultural phenomenon of the 1990s and early 2000s. It is also linked to third-wave feminism...

  • anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the state...

  • Queercore
    Queercore
    Queercore is a cultural and social movement that began in the mid-1980s as an offshoot of punk. It is distinguished by being discontent with society in general and its rejection of the disapproval of the gay, bisexual, and lesbian communities and their "oppressive agenda"...

  • Punk ideology
    Punk ideology
    Punk ideologies are a group of varied social and political beliefs associated with the punk subculture. In its original incarnation, the punk subculture was primarily concerned with concepts such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, free thought and discontent...

  • Indie rock
    Indie rock
    Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

  • Indie pop
    Indie pop
    Indie pop is a genre of alternative rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the mid 1980s, with its roots in the Scottish post-punk bands on the Postcard Records label in the early '80s, such as Orange Juice, Josef K and Aztec Camera, and the dominant UK independent band of the mid...

  • Kinderwhore
    Kinderwhore
    Kinderwhore was an image used by a handful of mostly female punk rock bands in the US during the early to mid 1990s.The kinderwhore look consisted of torn, ripped tight or low-cut babydoll dresses or nighties, heavy makeup, and leather boots or Mary–Jane shoes of various colors...

  • Rock Against Sexism
    Rock Against Sexism
    Rock Against Sexism was a political and cultural movement dedicated to challenging sexism in the rock music community, pop culture and in the world at large. It was primarily a part of the punk rock music and arts scene....

  • Guerrilla Girls
    Guerrilla Girls
    Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminists devoted to fighting against sexism within the visual fine art world internationally. Started in New York City in 1985 to protest gender and racial inequality in the art world, members are known for the gorilla masks they wear to keep their...

  • Tank Girl
    Tank Girl
    Tank Girl is a British comic created by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin. Originally drawn by Jamie Hewlett, it has also been drawn by Rufus Dayglo, Ashley Wood, and Mike McMahon.The eponymous character Tank Girl drives a tank, which is also her home...


External links