It was an exciting time to be a feminist in the early 1990’s as Kathleen Hanna (member of Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin; star of The Punk Singer documentary; and incredible, motivated, and motivating feminist) and others paved the way for the Riot Grrrl movement. For those not familiar, Riot Grrrl was essentially a punk rock feminist movement, part of the third-wave of feminism, during which female-led bands got together to start addressing the very real gender-based problems women were facing. Bands like Heavens to Betsy, Team Dresch, Sleater-Kinner, and of course, Hanna’s first band – Bikini Kill, were writing songs about things like rape, domestic violence, patriarchy, classism, and racism, as well as music that would inspire women to be brave, strong, powerful, and whatever the hell else they wanted to be, for decades to come.
And truth be told, it’s still an exciting time to be a feminist, and that is in part thanks to previous movements like the riot grrrl scene.
All-around-badass Kathleen Hanna is going to be performing and lecturing tonight in Boston, and in honor of her presence and of the movement, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is proclaiming today, April 9th, and Riot Grrrl Day.
To see feminism being embraced by the public, and by a high-standing political figure, is truly amazing and inspiring. It means that feminism is working. It means that people (maybe not all, but many) are recognizing our true NEED for feminism. That we are still eons away from equality, but that we are working hard toward making it happen, for future generations.
When I was doing my undergrad studies, my final project for one of my women’s and gender studies courses was to write my own feminist manifesto and presenting it in any format I wanted. I wish I still had it with me. In honor of Riot Grrl Day, I will be writing out a new manifesto stating WHY I believe we need feminism and the ways in which we can continue to combat the patriarchy day by day. If you’re game, write one two and post it here or on your own page and link back.
And if you need a little inspiration kick start, check out Kathleen’s manifesto as written in Bikini Kill Zine 2:
RIOT GRRRL MANIFESTO
BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways.
BECAUSE we wanna make it easier for girls to see/hear each other’s work so that we can share strategies and criticize-applaud each other.
BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own moanings.
BECAUSE viewing our work as being connected to our girlfriends-politics-real lives is essential if we are gonna figure out how we are doing impacts, reflects, perpetuates, or DISRUPTS the status quo.
BECAUSE we recognize fantasies of Instant Macho Gun Revolution as impractical lies meant to keep us simply dreaming instead of becoming our dreams AND THUS seek to create revolution in our own lives every single day by envisioning and creating alternatives to the bullshit christian capitalist way of doing things.
BECAUSE we want and need to encourage and be encouraged in the face of all our own insecurities, in the face of beergutboyrock that tells us we can’t play our instruments, in the face of “authorities” who say our bands/zines/etc are the worst in the US and
BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t.
BECAUSE we are unwilling to falter under claims that we are reactionary “reverse sexists” AND NOT THE TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS THAT WE KNOW we really are.
BECAUSE we know that life is much more than physical survival and are patently aware that the punk rock “you can do anything” idea is crucial to the coming angry grrrl rock revolution which seeks to save the psychic and cultural lives of girls and women everywhere, according to their own terms, not ours.
BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-hierarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.
BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.
BECAUSE we see fostering and supporting girl scenes and girl artists of all kinds as integral to this process.
BECAUSE we hate capitalism in all its forms and see our main goal as sharing information and staying alive, instead of making profits of being cool according to traditional standards.
BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.
BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors.
BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.
Photo Credits: Greg Neete via Flickr