May 15, 2011 • In web :: Features
Every Girl is a Riot Grrrl
The Riot Grrrl movement of the early 90s paved the way for women musicians and their fight for feminism. Writer Carly Lewis takes a look at what this movement means for feminists today and chats with author Sara Marcus about her book, “Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution.”
Before there was Toronto-based bossa-funk-disco vixen Maylee Todd, before Emily Haines became the fearless leader of Metric and before "girl bands" became an embarrassing buzz phrase, there was Riot Grrrl, a feminist movement ignited by women in punk rock bands during the early '90s across the west coast of America. While Maylee, Emily and musicians like them don't necessarily play punk music, they do embody the spirit of Riot Grrrl -- they have no patience for sexism and they fight for gender equality in their music, even if just by being strong women musicians on a stage and dispelling the myths that music is a man's game.
The Riot Grrrl Revolution was mobilized by punk bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy, with Bikini Kill's lead singer, Kathleen Hanna, at the helm. The path they paved for women musicians and their fight for feminism has been preserved by Sara Marcus in her book, Girls To The Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution.
You don't need to be punk, or even a girl, to appreciate the Riot Grrrl movement; its goals were to create discussion about gender inequality, to stand up against discrimination and to be heard. It also heavily relied upon and encouraged a Do-It-Yourself way of doing things. "Riot Grrrl popularized the classic punk notion that it was okay to start a band before you had become highly proficient on your instrument," says Marcus, adding that this was, at the time, "a liberatory notion for female musicians in particular, considering all the crippling self-doubt we are constantly being schooled in."