I foresee many blogs coming about riot grrrl sort of topics, so I figured for those of you who aren’t as familiar with the 90s movement, I’d give you a quick brush up on the manifesto of the riot grrrl. The essence of why riot grrrl was what it was, and why it was important, and what they hoped to achieve. And in many ways, DID. Certainly not to a 100% accomplishment, but change is slow. It doesn’t come overnight. And from what Kathleen Hanna said in the recent GRITtv interview, we have come a long way. Back when riot grrrl started, girls at punk shows were nearly unheard of. Those brave grrrl punks who tried to brave a show didn’t have an easy time of it. These days, punk is a lot more diverse and isn’t quite the guy-fest that it used to be.
But these aren’t the only reasons to post this manifesto. Oh no, not even close. The real reason? Because each item listed in the manifesto are still applicable today. We may have moved on from the original scene, and the world may be better, but there’s still sexism. There’s still homophobia. There is still racism. The -ism’s are far and many, and far outnumber the safe zones where we can put them to rest. And that is one of the elements of riot grrrl. In addition to providing a venue for girl artists/musicians/writers, riot grrrl is about finding a community and building safe zones. It’s about dismantling the many issues we are faced with in society and fighting them. It’s about standing up for what we believe in.
And technically, I don’t believe riot grrrl has ever truly died. Perhaps it was erased from the media. Perhaps the girl-bands dimenished because of lack of community. Perhaps it seemed to disappear, but riot grrrl has been with everyone who has been touched by it. And those touched by it have in turn given it back to the people around them. Those of us influenced by riot grrrl tend to follow the manifesto, even when we don’t realize it.
Now’s the time to realize it.
Before I post the manifesto, I will remind you to go watch the Kathleen Hanna GRITtv interview. It’s a fucking amazing interview, and well worth the few minutes you’ll spend watching it. Just to whet your appetite, here’s a quick clip:
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-heirarchical 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.