Top 5 Feminist Movements


Riot Grrls

Riot Grrrl Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill performs in 1990.
Riot Grrrl Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill performs in 1990.
Lindsay Brice/­Getty Images

­Punk rockers in Olympia, Wash., and Washington, D.C., blended together music, art and consciousness-raising into a reformulated brand of feminism in the early 1990s.

Riot Grrrls responded to male-dominated music scenes by forming their own bands and making homemade magazines called 'zines that communicated their do-it-yourself, punk rock values and feminist ideas.

The name "riot grrrl" came from the title of a 'zine created by Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuma, who were also in the Olympia-based band Bratmobile. Their friend Kathleen Hanna, who fronted the band Bikini Kill, became the lead figure in the Riot Grrrl movement. With a motto of, "Revolution Girl Style Now!" (the title of a 'zine Hanna started) Riot Grrrls took feminism on a deeply grassroots and relatively gritty path of empowerment. They facilitated weekly meetings to discuss relevant issues, such as rape, racism and body image. Riot Grrls also addressed their sexuality in frank terms that attempted to reclaim negative cultural stereotypes as ownership over one's body.

National news outlets picked up on the trend, and in 1992, Riot Grrrls declared a media blackout. In true punk fashion, Riot Grrrls sought to keep things independent and counterculture. Grrrl 'zines, groups and Web sites still exist and circulate in communities around the world today.

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More Great Links


  • Chideya, Farai. "Revolution, Girl Style." Newsweek. Nov. 23, 1992. (Jan. 13, 2009)
  • D'Emilio, John and Freedman, Estelle D. "Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America." University of Chicago Press. 1997. (Jan. 13, 2009)
  • Greenfieldboyce, Nell. "Pageant Protest Sparked Bra-Burning Myth." NPR.
  • Feifer, Megan and Maher, Jennifer. "The History of Black Feminism and Womanism: Their Emergence from the Modern Women's Movement." University of Utah. March 8, 2005. (Jan. 13, 2009)
  • Kearney, Mary Celeste. "Girls Make Media." CRC Press. 2006. (Jan. 13, 2009)
  • Kelly, Joan. "Women, History, and Theory." University of Chicago Press. 1986. (Jan. 13, 2009)
  • Steinem, Gloria. "After Black Power, Women's Liberation." New York Magazine. April 4, 1969. (Jan. 13, 2009)
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  • "The Seneca Falls Convention." Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. (Jan. 13, 2009)



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