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 person can speak for all riot
grrrls, they can only simply give their opinion (like I am) and it
should be taken as such...(34)

After the height of mainstream media coverage, many of the more productive
and popular chapters such as Olympia and D.C. decided to “close” down. Refusing
to answer most of their mail, rejecting interview requests, changing meeting
locations or canceling them all together seemed like the only way to stop
further exploitation, misquoting, and such. “If a barrette wearing, magic marked,
thirteen year old looking 20 year old was what the words \'Riot Grrrl\' would be
translated as they didn\'t want it” (Spirit 1). The mainstream