Revolution Girl-Style Now!
Riot Grrrls were originally born out of the "Punk" scene where rebellion was expressed in attitude, appearance, style, and music. Defining Riot Grrrl is much like defining Punk. There is no central organization, no authoritive definition, just an attitude concerned with pointing out social hypocrisy and empowering people to "do it yourself", creating a culture of their own when they see that the mainstream media does not reflect their concerns or provide outlets for their efforts. Riot Grrrl is a supportive environment for girls and young women which is concerned with feminist issues such as rape, abortion rights, bulimia/anorexia, sexism, sexuality, double standards, self-defense, fat oppression, classism, and racism. Riot Grrrl is a network of fanzines that are produced by the angry "girl revolutionaries" who identify with the music that is associated with Riot Grrrl. The fanzines, self-designed and self-written, uncensored and uninhibited photocopied publications, are often intensely personal. That personal outlet is translated to larger political action when the fanzines are available to the public, bringing people together for conventions and other consciousness-raising activities. The ethos is about supporting each other and empowering each other. In actuality, Riot Grrrl is a frame of mind. It's a way for them to come together in a common cause: "Revolution Girl-Style Now!". Since no specific person or people claim they created it, Riot Grrrl has meant many things to many people. Most girls do not attempt to define it anymore. "EVERY GRRRL IS A RIOT GRRRL. All you need is a healthy dose of pissed-of-ness at the treatment of womyn in our society. We are NOT all punk, all white, all lesbians, all musicians, all fanzine editors, all vegetarians, all victims of abuse, all straight edge. There is no stereotypical' Riot Grrrl." (Knight 9) The early Riot Grrrl scene was a "loose-knit" affiliation of feminist Punks, formed circa 1991 in Olympia, Washington and Washington D.C. The philosophy of " do it yourself" and "you can do anything" seemed to apply mostly to boys, who were the ones making the music and dictating the styles. By the early 90s, more and more girl bands started springing up, but ironically they found themselves battling sexism and discrimination within a movement originally based in a consciousness about youth and oppression. With the rallying cry, "Revolution Girl-Style Now!" bands like Bikini Kill formed a small movement to combat the male dominance of the Punk Scene and, by extension, the rest of the world. Inevitably, Riot Grrrl was born:
So there's this revolution happening all across the country and all across other countries and it's the revolution girl style and as a girl revolutionary I want to say something about it...
...This revolution is so real and so deep for me, it is something I have been waiting for my whole life, something that I think is imperative to my survival, or at least my sanity. this revolution is in my heart and my soul, and it's in the heart and souls of other girls/women I know, and fuck you it's valid, and fuck you it's for real...(Carlip 33)
Over the past few years, magazines, newspapers, and news shows have begun to pay a great deal of attention to Riot Grrrls. At first, most Riot Grrrls were open to use the media as a way to spread the word to other girls. Soon, though, feeling that they had been misinterpreted, commercialized, and made into a new fad and trend, Riot Grrrls changed their minds:
...I'm sick to death of defending riot grrrl every time I turn around, I don't even know why it should have to be defended. Riot grrrl is not what Seventeen, Newsweek or the LA Weekly make it out to be or any other media thing. The media attention has taken riot grrrl and twisted it distorted the name to mean little if anything of importance. No...
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