Riot Grrrl

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Riot Grrrl (Riot Grrl) was a young feminist movement mainly within the punk rock and alternative music scenes beginning in the early 1990s in Olympia, WA and Washington DC. Due to the media scrutiny in the mid-1990s and other factors within the actual movement, Riot Grrrl stalled. Today it is considered or studied as a subcategory of third wave feminism, and there are currently no known active Riot Grrrl chapters. Riot Grrrl was influential in the punk rock and alternative music scenes, as well as in other independent media and allowed young women to assert themselves in the male dominated scenes of both music and zines. It was argued in Media Whore #5 (published in 2005) that the riot grrrl spirit primarily exists in zines made by young women today.

The music-oriented part of the movement that is well-covered in books and other media is commonly linked with the bands Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsy, Excuse 17, Team Dresch, and Bratmobile, and most of those bands had members who put out zines. Tobi Vail, drummer for Bikini Kill, and writer of the zine Jigsaw, claimed in Jigsaw #5 (published in 1992 or 1993) that she coined the term "riot grrrl" in an earlier issue of her zine as a joke. However, much of Jigsaw #5 was about the anger Tobi felt towards corporate media and their treatment of Riot Grrrl and the Pacific Northwest music scene, both of which she had a hand in helping along.

Most Riot Grrrl zines or zines from the Riot Grrrl era were of the personal-political variety, meaning writing about political issues from a personal perspective. This style of writing still exists today and can be found in zines such as Quantify, No Snow Here, No Better Voice, Muse, Not Sorry, Sisu, and You Live For the Fight When That's All You've Got. The layouts of most Riot Grrrl zines in the 1990s relied heavily on cut and paste, collages, the occasional completely handwritten articles and were at times quite messy, especially by today's zine standards.

The large amount of Riot Grrrl zines and zines created by young women in the early 1990s caused the creation of Riot Grrrl Press, a distro that started in 1992 existed throughout much of the decade; Action Girl, a zine that only reviewed zines by women created and written by Sarah Dyer; and in 1995, Riot Grrrl Review, a review zine by Kristy Chan that also only reviewed zines by women. Some of the zines from this era were collected into the book A Girl's Guide to Taking Over the World by Karen Green and Tristan Taormino in 1997.

Zines by Riot Grrrl Chapters

Zines by members of commonly noted Riot Grrrl bands


Emplive's Riot Grrrl Retrospective