“riot grrrl was a reaction against grunge” and other excellent thoughts on 90s feminism

marisa, denise, and allison talk riot grrrl

So, Ada, I was telling you last night about the great panel I went to on 90s feminism and I thought I would write some of it down. For posterity! The irony of the event is that there was a lot of great discussion about the importance of archiving feminist history, and yet…no one filmed it. I take some solace in this twitter feed.

Anyway, the lineup included our friend, fellow panelist, How Sassy Changed My Life co-author and Girl Power author Marisa Meltzer; me and Marisa’s friend and book editor Denise Oswald; and Bratmobile member/riot grrrl Allison Wolfe.

I loved hearing everyone talk about their early experiences of feminism. And I was psyched about the discussion of how women need to keep track of our own history so we aren’t always starting over from scratch. (Hence this blog!)

This is just a quick list of a few of the other things I found most moving/interesting for us to maybe just think about, maybe eventually talk about:

*Marisa and Denise talked about gaining a better understanding of second wave feminists by attending the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. I am a sucker for stories about Michfest and loved a hilarious/poignant one that Marisa told about a cringe-worthy artwork they saw there–an oversized vagina, made of twine. And how, after a few days spent hanging out with a lesbian grandmother of 10 from the midwest, and other women who can’t be as out about their feminism, or aspects of their gender and sexuality, that we take for granted, they started to understand why twine vagina art was and is really radical and really affirming for some women.

They also talked about the excitement of being at Camp Trans—an unofficial offshoot of the festival, which is for womyn-born womyn only. Marisa’s discussion of how the trans movement is changing feminism is my favorite part of her book.

*Allison talk about being grossed out by grunge guys sweating and moshing and feeling like their supposed softer new brand of masculinity was actually sexism in different clothing. Riot grrrl, she said, was partly a reaction to grunge.

*The discussion of riot grrrl’s cooptation–more on that topic in this Slate article.

*The 90s politics of going mainstream versus selling out.

*Allison talking about how the media punishes women who don’t comply.

*Allison called riot grrrl part of the third wave—a good qualification, since I think some of us who write about riot grrrl can too easily make it overly representative of all of third wave feminism.

That’s it! The panel was great. There’s a rumor that someone might have taped it..if this ever turns out to be true, I’ll post a link.

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4 Comments

Filed under Kara

4 responses to ““riot grrrl was a reaction against grunge” and other excellent thoughts on 90s feminism

  1. Awesome! I hope a video shows up and I would love to hear all of their comments! Keep the riot grrrls rockin’!

  2. Pingback: Loud Love: Women & male rock music « Striking Her Own Chord

  3. Pingback: The ’90s Woman Alphabet « 90sWoman.com

  4. but, grunge men are not sexist, at least mayority, they didn’t exclude women. grunge culture loves riot grrrls and both are couple in music and ideology. grunge men respect women and i can’t find a thing that makes me think that riot grrrl is against grunge or was a reaction, so much bands of riot are grunge too, they are very very close. my girlfriend is a riot grrrl and i am grunge and we don’t find problems in our relation, even more we are happy for this.

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