Tag Archives: riot grrrl

“Postfeminism” Backlash Flashback, 1998

Carrie Brownstein. This to me seemed very different in the '90s than...

A Facebook friend of mine just posted a June 1998 Time magazine article called “Feminism, It’s All About Me!,” which declared feminism all but over because of the rise of the “quintessentially self-absorbed postfeminist.”

It turned out this was the very article that went with the oft-cited “Is Feminism Dead?” cover! I had forgotten all about that article, and I don’t think in my radical Mary-Dalyfied state I had ever read it very closely, so it was super interesting to do so this morning (instead of working on my book).

It’s such an epic article! Evidence presented for the death of feminism includes: Courtney Love’s makeover, The Vagina Monologues, Bust magazine, the Spice Girls, Gloria Steinem forgiving Bill Clinton for his affair, Bridget Jones, Katie Roiphe, Rebecca Walker, Naomi Wolf, Alanis Morissette, Elizabeth Wurtzel, “sex-abuse-survivor syndrome,” and especially Ally McBeal.


The author, Ginia Bellafante, suggests that a societal critique is far more important for a feminist movement than focusing on the personal or talking about vibrators. She concludes by favorably quoting “Old Guard feminists” Betty Friedan and Susan Brownmiller describing younger feminists’ focus on sex as “stupid.”

The article’s conclusion: “Is Ally McBeal really progress? Maybe if she lost her job and wound up a single mom, we could begin a movement again.”

Whoa. So much in here. Continue reading

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Paper of Record Reports on Riot Grrrl Influence

This enthusiastic Sunday New York Times article on the enduring influence of riot grrrl takes the movement and its influence seriously, and heralds the era’s re-examination: “Two decades after its heyday, riot grrrl is beginning to formally take stock of itself,” writes Melena Ryzik. NYU, MoMA, now the New York Times… how much more crazy mainstream can ’90s feminism get?

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“Riot Grrrl” as 2011 Musical Genre

Just got a press release for this Durham band being described as “power pop / riot grrrl”: Pink Flag (named after the Wire album). You can listen to some songs here, and here’s an interview with them, in which they talk about Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, Sleater-Kinney, and the Slits—a ’90s-Woman Q&A trifecta.

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International Girl Gang Underground

Kathleen Hanna mentioned this great site about Riot Grrrl and its effect at the MoMA the other night.

Here’s its mission statement: THE INTERNATIONAL GIRL GANG UNDERGROUND compilation zine is a collection of stories, artwork, and critical work about DIY feminist cultural production and punk rock today, twenty years after the riot grrrl movement, and in the wake of its legacy.

They’re doing some great reflections on and deconstruction of ’90s feminism and zine culture.

When I was sixteen and reading zines I’d found on the floor of bookstores in NYC and carrying them around talisman-like through my high school hallways, I had NO IDEA other people all over the country were doing the same thing. I wish I’d know that then, but failing that it’s nice to know now.

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Testimony: Courtney

Courtney in 1992

first let me say i love your blog.  i when i was younger, i often feared the days when i would hear/read/watch someone saying the words, “back in the 90s”, but now that those days have come, i actually really, really love it.  i was born in 1980, so by the time i hit my teenage years i was right in the middle of grunge, at the tail end of MTV actually showing music videos, knee deep in weekends at the mall, ripe to discover third wave feminism and the zine revolution.  i found your blog as a link on kathleen hanna’s own, and after reading just a few entries i remembered exactly why riot girl punk, the diy movement, perzines, and records stores saved my life.  it was something i needed, because sometimes when you’re 29, you wake up and all that idealism that had you marching in protest of the iraq war and forcing your dad to listen to bikini kill on road trips home from college gets flushed away in the soul sucking vaccuum of adulthood.

Courtney in 1999

i know exactly how i became a 90’s woman and i owe it all to the internet.  my family got online early, and my parents encouraged us to use the internet – then a tangled mess of code, usenet groups, and bulletin boards – to entertain us while they were at work.  i was a very sheltered, very smart child who lived in a house with a lot of rules that kept me cooped up inside with cable television and baby sitter’s club books as substitutes for friends.  in early high school, i was starting to develop into a solitary, quirky, quiet girl who loved mystery science theater 3000, nirvana, and reading about the manson family when a bulletin board on the (i think) defunct prodigy internet service introduced me to some young ladies from all over the country who were into these things called zines.

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Testimony: Shayla H.

revolutionary geek squad: saidee, allen, shayla

As you know, I went to Antioch, THE Antioch. The SOP [Sexual Offence Policy] wasn’t any kind of big deal until the media discovered it and invaded our campus, which was really annoying.

I recently had to go through a bunch of old stuff, and found my old art supply box, which struck me as particularly 90swoman (note that the Bush sticker refers to H.W.). And I found an old VHS tape which contained public television footage of the Anita Hill hearings! You can see a young Gwen Ifill taking notes two people down from Anita and everything.

Also my beloved motorcycle jacket (15 sizes too big), which I’m wearing in the photograph. A year later Aaron Rose painted Riot Girl on the back for me. Also written on it but covered up by the box is “remember harvey milk” and “silence = death”.



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Or is THIS the most 90swoman Song of 2010?

Ada, we’ve been waiting for the much-anticipated Kathleen Hanna/Le Tigre/Christina Aguilera collaboration, which I was just reading about here,  and here’s a little bit of it. “I hate boys, but boys love me/I think they suck and my friends agree” is definitely pretty riot grrrl gets 2010. (Or: definitely pretty 90swoman.) The battle of the sexes is alive and well and it sounds pretty fun.


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