Some sub-genres tend to burn into the scene and then just fade away as new trends and movements begin to occur. Back in the late 80s-early 90s many women, particularly in the music industry, were starting an angry feminist movement which expressed their disappointment for the way society treated women. This movement was the “Riot Grrrl” movement. It was mostly maintained as a movement in music, however there are also many visually artistic aspects to this movement such as zines, which eventually caused this to become a way of life for many women.
Women would dress the way they wanted and acted the way they wanted to, but they also formed rock bands where they could express their fury for the rape culture and many other issues degrading women around the world.
As a result bands such as Bikini Kill, L7, Bratmobile, and 7 Year Bitch were formed. These bands made songs that addressed their feminine points of view of certain aspects in society. Songs such as “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill featured strong female characters that did what they felt like doing and resisted being raped by men or hating each other, in other words spreading the message that women should look out for each other, instead of competing against each other for some ‘silly’ man. Sometimes this musical movement can be overlooked, causing it to be underrated because it was only really popular until the mid 90s, and then it sort of hid away. This must’ve been because other trends were coming along and people simply forgot and moved on.
However, did it ever die out? Do riot grrrls still exist, and are they still making music? The world has evolved ever since the late 80s and more women have taken part in loads of music related things and more, when compared to the late 80s. Feminism is no longer something that needs to be known, everyone knows about it, maybe too much, which leads to a misunderstanding of what feminism really is. We live in a more open minded world today, so therefore women aren’t as degraded by society anymore. Who knows, maybe these bands, zines, and women in general made the world open their eyes in the 90s and realise that if you get on the wrong side of a woman you are screwed. Now a days, there’s still a feminist vibe going on, and yes, there’s all-girl rock bands expressing their own views and thoughts on society and men. There’s Girlpool who are a duo making beautiful music about most subjects that girls can probably relate to, but still presented with a strong voice and independent insight. There’s also Sleater-Kinney who have become really popular recently with their out-spoken lyrics and catchy riffs, they’re also making a difference, and in fact, they are actually identified as a riot grrrl band. Of course, there’s also Pussy Riot who are well known around the world for their lack of fear to express themselves, and that’s how it should be.
This whole lifestyle of being a riot grrrl, has changed, because times have changed. It never died out, it only evolved and shifted to benefit the young women of today’s society. I am speaking from my own point of view on this one, we still exist. We are just the girls that aren’t afraid and want to know more and more about the world, DIY our own jackets, fill our rooms with posters, and so much more, but we are definitely not afraid to be ourselves, and I believe that is one big thing to value about being a riot grrrl. Just be yourself.
If you’re feeling the whole riot grrrl vibes at the moment, I suggest you listen to this mini-playlist I put together for you.