I read Julia Downes' "Riot Grrrl: The Legacy and Contemporary Landscape of DIY Feminist Cultural Activism," and focused mainly on the quotes from various riot grrrls about their experiences, feminism, and the mission of the group. Most of the thoughts about the movement express excitement, engagement and hope; scribbled musings describing the possibilities that lingered in each riot grrrl's mind. What was interesting to me about their comments is how passionate each one is. These women felt they were on the cusp of a real cultural movement; a movement that would change their position in society and give them empowerment in a way they had never seen before. They felt worthy components of society's mess of images and statements, and capable of turning heads. And they did-- but their message somehow was bogged down and simplified into an image of a baby chicken on a light-blue belly shirt that reads "chicks rock." Their passion and vocabulary for discussing the feminist ideas they promoted was muddled into a candy-coated trend; British pop stars clung to the statement "girl power" and shot peace signs at preen-tween girls who then mimicked it mindlessly. Being proud to be female replaced the need to assert the female position in society and fight against injustices that precipitate. The riot grrrl discussion gave a voice to feminism in a way that was radical, aggressive, and angry. The "girl power" image was a cutesy t-shirt or a bumper sticker whose very existence simplified the mission of riot grrrl to the extent of ripping away its language. It tore the words right from our mouths and left us without a language to discuss feminist issues that still exist in society today.
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