I'd like to discuss/analyze Julia Downes' Riot Grrrl: The Legacy and Contemporary Landscape of DIY Feminist Cultural Activism, because it took me the longest to digest. I was all about riot grrrl in high school, Bikini Kill, Beat Happening, in particular Babes in Toyland (which Downes blows off as if they did not contribute to the riot grrrl mentality). I felt that Downes article, while it explores a very set version of how this movement was produced, as well as it's downfall, trivialized not only the music, the culture, and the mentality of the riot grrrls, but the progress that they were able to make as well.
Firstly, Downes does not discuss provide a history of punk music. I felt this was very necessary if she is pointing to it as the main influence behind riot grrrl music. She mentions Siouxsie performing in an all male area, but let us not forget who founded K records, Calvin Johnson. He was a primary strategist, or at least influence in the introduction of riot grrrl mentality. Readers who do not understand the women's roles in the history of punk will completely miss these parallels. Downes discusses how "one key element of Johnson's aesthetic was the return to youth, childhood and adolescence and accompanied celebrations of the pastimes of a bygone era." Could we not compare this to wanting to live by the rules of the good ol' 50s that never existed? When did this perfect era exist? Downes neglected to fully expand on the DC punk movement and how it influenced the early riot grrrls. The Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, et al. were living in this straight-edge "all-male" world, it only seems reasonable that women needed a safe haven for their creative ideas as well. Women were not necessarily on the outskirts of the moshes, take for instance Tobi Vail (Kurt Cobain's pre-Courtney girlfriend). While she may have felt isolated by this obvious male-dominance in rock music, she fueled the riot grrrl press and helped establish a very successful band (Helped found Bikini kill, and later influence Hanna in Le Tigre). Downes is painting a nice overall picture, but readers need more context.
On the other hand, I quite enjoyed how Downes used zine clippings throughout her article. It seems that (based on page 373) the angry grrrl zine constitution and activity book are quite reminiscent of how the guerrilla girls presented themselves. It would have been interesting for Downes to have made a larger connection between the two.