Riot Grrls and the Punk Movement


I was originally gonna make this into a true crime thing but I watched the first episode of the new miniseries "Pistols" on Hulu and it really reminded me of my punk era that I had during quarantine. I was truly the fartherst thing from punk but still doesn't mean I didn't support punk's true meaning and the ideology behind the punk movement.

Not only was I into the punk movement, but I was really into this kinda subgenre hidden within the punk movement called the riot grrls. See, I thought it was so fucking awesome that these girls not only saw the flaws in society but also the flaws within their own movement. Women weren't taken seriously in punk. They were laughed at, harrassed, groped, yelled at during shows, as well as being pushed back into the limelight, while male punk bands (like the Sex Pistols) were worshipped.

Politically though, the riot grrrls blasted feminism into the future: Centering the needs of a new generation via direct-action strategies, witty mantras and slogans such as “girl power” and “support girl love,” it became one of the most visible branches of what was dubbed third wave feminism. It started a whole new era for women to express their art, sexuality, music, fashion, and so on. Pretty fucking badass.

Iconic Riot Grrl bands include: Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, Excuse 17, Hole, etc. A lot of male grunge/punk bands also connect to riot grrl, like Kurt Cobain's Nirvana that has been claimed to be "basically, a riot grrl band" by Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna. Hanna also was the one that wrote "Smells like Teen Spirit" on Cobain's house wall and inspired the iconic song.

Riot Grrls, unfortunately, faded into the music scene in the late 90s. Their influence continues on on by bands such as Gossip, Kitten Forever, and Skating Polly. Beth Ditto of Gossip stated that The Riot Grrrl Movement was, "Built on the floors of strangers’ living rooms, tops of Xerox machines, snail mail, word of mouth and mixtapes, Riot Grrrl reinvented punk." But we always have to remember that riot grrl sought to empower women by encouraging them to take their place in the men-dominated punk music scene, join together in power, and create a punk mark in the feminist movement.

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