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Your Toolkit For Being a Modern Day Riot Grrrl

Your essentials: agency, anger, Netflix, tumblr, and a local bookshop.

Being a modern day riot grrrl is like being a hybrid of Buttercup from the Powerpuff Girls and Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, just with a little more feminist flair. The riot grrrl movement began in the confines of feminist-friendly grrrl meetings where young women would go to share zines regarding sexual abuse, music, and other forms of oppression and girl-interests. But what began as a secret movement of second-wave feminism quickly began to be picked up by music artists, catapolting grrrl issues to the forefront of feminist politics.

I felt eager to join in on the fun, inspired by numerous Tumblr sites that have revived the generation of grrrl misfits aimed at crushing patriarchy, calling attention to LGBIT rights, and adding glitter to their homemade zines. I am giving a talk this Tuesday on my research with mid 80’s to 90’s riot grrrls. It will not only be about how important the movement really is for us post riot-grrrl, third-wave feminists, but how we are still living in the world of riot grrrl 20 years later. In lieu of my talk, I present to you your own toolkit for being a modern day riot grrrl.

But how does one channel their inner riot grrrldom? And how can we navigate through these spaces that allow us to circulate information on our cause faster?

First, you must:


You will have to research various riot grrrls in order to educate yourself on your fellow grrrls. Here is a list of riot grrrl bands that led the patriarchy-killing fight. Borrow a friend’s Netflix account (or share it amongst your other riot grrrls) and watch The Punk Singer, a documentary on the movement’s spearhead Kathleen Hana (although it is debatable who really started it.) Now, while you’re watching, search on Amazon for Sara Marcus’ “Girls to the Front.” Purchased? Now buy “The Riot Grrrl Collection” by Lisa Darns. Now you have the complete history of riot grrrl at your fingertips. One for viewing, and two for analysis. You will need these to see the anger, the misery, and the need to dissolve oppression that riot grrrls so eagerly faced head-on.



The next step in being a modern day riot grrrl is utilizing social media as your method of attack. Whether it be through Tumblr, Twitter, or a Facebook page, you need a platform to share your creativity. Riot grrrl in the 80’s wasn’t about creating pretty pictures and writing journal entries, it became a collection of girlhood aimed at calling attention that we really can create pieces of writing, share it amongst others, and paste together political messages concerning rape, male privilege, and other forms of oppression. Now, we have social media to plan our eco-friendly burial ground of patriarchy.  Great tumblrs to seek grrrl-spiration from are: Lucid Nation, Riot Grrrl Berlin, Grrrl Growl.


Now that you’ve researched and gazed upon other riot grrrl manifestos, it’s time to get serious. If you’re oldschool, use Paint to create fun images like your earlier riot grrrl zinesters. Have Photoshop? This will be a chance to lure in your creative abilities. Try Youtube! I encourage you to even make videos by downloading a thirty-day free trial of Final Cut Pro and mash together your political messages with images of grrrl rioters. Once you make content that is originally you, fierce, and unforgiving, you can create your battleground (or shall I say, playground?)


Reddit and tumblr will become a method of finding your best riot grrrl friends. Join various online Reddit forums such as /r/feminisms or /r/trollxchromosomes for a grrrlfriend hunt. You will need to find other grrrls to join your platform, create their own stories of oppression, and become a community. Or join one! Recruiting other grrrls to become in your riot grrrl community will jump start spreading the word of your activism. You want your messages to spread like wildfire into the abyss of online misogyny.


Grrrl zinesters would pass around their zines, send them through snail-mail, and partake in intense discussions in the confines of their bedrooms. Try to gather friends for a weekly, open Google + chat or create a podcast that shares your chatter and laughter of being a riot grrrl. Have your friends share your Tumblr site, and invite others to send you their own content. Now you’ve created a community, just like your riot grrrl sisters before you.


We would love to see your riot grrrl work at play! Send us a link via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail and we’ll be happy to post it on our site.


Keep rioting!


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Written by Alissa Medina

Founder and Editor in Chief Alissa Medina's love of online publications led to her spearheading RTBB and also interning at international publications such as TMZ, KNBC, and Access Hollywood. Besides working social media platforms, helping writers, and delegating feisty article topics, she is working on applications for graduate school in media studies.

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