Riot Grrrls, Action Girl, Third Wave movement | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

Riot Grrrls, Action Girl, Third Wave movement

In the first chapter from, Girl Zines : Making Media, Doing Feminism, by Alison Piepmeier, she talks about Girl Zines and their connection with the past feminine movements and the current Third Wave movement.  Until this reading, I had never heard of a Zine before, which I now understand is a way to express the things nobody else wants to talk about or say.  Piepmeier mainly discussed the similarities between the second wave feminism and Riot grrrl zines. She focused on how many Riot grrrls believed they started a new feminine movement, when in reality, their zines and beliefs closely resembled the second wave feminism. 

               Piepmeier points out many similarities between the Riot grrrls and past. For example, past feminists have used pamphlets, mimeographs, and scrapbooks in order to document their challenges, and publicize what nobody else would talk about. Zinesters believed they were creating a feminine movement, but they were actually carrying out the feminine legacy. Many zinesters re quote and publicize second wave documents. Piepmeier wants us to clearly understand the origin of the story, the riot grrrls are not re-creating the feminism, but emerging from the first and second wave movement. The riot grrrls are using the technology and tools around them to make their points, just like women have in the past with their pamphlets, mimeographs, and scrapbooks. She wants the creativity and hard work from the earlier movement’s publications to be recognized.

These Riot grrrls have combined second wave feminity with punk and anger in their political and cultural movement of the third wave. Riot grrrls digest whatever “pisses them off” and angrily fight back through their music and zines. Persistent sexism, racism, and homophobia have all catalyzed the third wave movement (Piepmeier 44). Rebecca Walker perfectly expressed what a third wave feminist consisted of in Ms. Magazine essay. “Do not vote for them unless they work for us. Do not have sex with them, do not break bread with them, do not nurture them if they do not prioritize our freedom to control our bodies and our lives, I am not a postfeminism feminist. I am the Third Wave” (44). Many Third wave feminists are using their anger to make changes, and are not being recognized. Walker was trying to teach young feminists to turn their anger into power, while also making it clear that the feminist movement is not over.

This reading relates to our class and a lot of what we have been discussing lately about the current Third wave movement and its lack of recognition or knowledge throughout society. As we have discussed, it is very hard to define a feminist or even describe what the Third wave is fighting to accomplish. I think for this reading, we can gather that Riot Grrrls, and Action girl are using their bands and zines to speak out about gender, identity, community and resistance. Girl Zines are used to comment and correct on misrepresentations and disrespect. For example, a particular zine critiques the way men draw female superheroes with huge boobs and capes, commenting on how no females body looks like that, and what can you do with a cape on?

I enjoyed this reading and agreed with most of Riot grrrls ideals and messages portrayed through zines.  I think the uncensored anger and intimidation associated with the Riot grrrl is a new addition to feminism in the Third Wave movement.  I find the honesty in the Riot grrrls words and messages on zines without fear of back lash as a vital aspect of the Third wave. The only issue I have is when these girls write words like “Slut”, “Rape”, and “Property” on their bodies and believe they are changing the meaning of them. I do not think displaying these terms on their bodies give them any power, or change the meaning. I think they are only making the words more common in our language and easier to say to one another.

Do you think displaying these terms takes away their power to degrade and silence girls? Also, How can we make the Third Wave movement and the women and girls involved more recognizable in our society?

Also, some more images of zines , and a video of Riot grrrl music!

zine     zine 2


Bikini Kill- Rebel girl

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