Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 08/9/2009

Support Women Artists Sunday: Bikini Kill

It’s baaaaaaack. 

This week – a little history lesson. The post on Care Bears on Fire, and the comments about the riot grrrl movement got me thinking. Most girls my age don’t even know what the riot grrrl movement was. 

Riot Grrrl Online describes the movement (they’re also a great riot grrrl resource): 

Riot Grrrl began in 1991 at Olympia Washington, when a few girls (mostly from Bikini Kill and Bratmobile) decided to get together and talk about their main interests: feminism and punk rock. The first time they met it was all fun, they put up posters to get attention of other open minded girls. Then they found out they had other things in common: they were all vegetarians; against drugs; and had been molested as children.

At one meeting a very smart girl took notes, photocopied them and turned them into a cool fanzine. That’s how it all began. Some people think that Bikini Kill started it all, in my eyes they did. Bikini Kill, however does not think of themselves as starting the riot grrrl movement.

In Bikini Kill’s songs, they sing about different women issues such as: rape, incest, and other issues that some women face. Some people think that bikini kill, riot grrrls, and feminists are ‘man-haters’. They’re not. They just want to be equal to men, not better to them. Zines are a BIG part of the riot grrrl scene. Most riot grrrls believe in DIY. (do it yourself) That means that they start riot grrrl chapters, zines, etc. of their own around the riot grrrl movement.

Bikini Kill

Bikini Kill

So, Bikini Kill = a huge part of the riot grrrl movement. Included Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Billy Karren. Was awesome. 

If anybody who was part of this movement wants to comment and enlighten our teenage minds, please do! 



Rebel Girl

Strawberry Julius

Rebel Girl on iTunes: Bikini Kill - Bikini Kill: The Singles - Rebel Girl

Strawberry Julius on iTunes: Bikini Kill - Bikini Kill: The Singles - Strawberry Julius

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  • Robin S. @ at 10:55 am, August 9th, 2009

    I LOVE Bikini Kill. They are so unapologetically badass.

  • Samantha @ at 11:19 am, August 9th, 2009

    I’m glad you posted this, I love the Riot Grrrl movement, it came into contact with so many great bands. There were the first generation bands, like Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill, and then, my personal favorite which was never actually considered “Riot Grrrl” but it really is, was Hole.

  • K8 AH @ at 12:47 pm, August 9th, 2009

    I love Bikini Kill. This whole movement was so very important in my generations formative years! I just really appreciate the rawness of it now. DIY just feels so much more honest!

  • Achilles Effect @ at 9:29 pm, August 9th, 2009

    What a great post! I am much older than any of you, but I am thrilled to see your interest in these bands. Others interested in great female bands that rock with meaning might also want to check out Sleater-Kinney.

  • Cherry Sterile @ at 10:00 am, August 10th, 2009

    I’m 13 years old and I LOVE BIKINI KILL! I found out about the whole riot grrrl scene by reading a book called Cinderella’s big score: Women of the punk and indie underground by Maria Raha. I also love Lunachicks and Sleater-Kinney and I think that more teenage girls should listen to more bands from this era!

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 6:22 pm, August 10th, 2009

    grumble grumble *cough*idea stealer *cough*

    I was one at the time so idk what it was like :D Chicago was more of an Indie/Alt city, there are tons of old Indie Grrls still around.

    I’ll tell you why the DYI was such an important part of the movement as I’ve heard the stories, in the 80s girls were being pushed out of the music scene, punk got too violent, the alt-scene too clique, and music was guy-centric….So these girls rebelled, they started their own movement to promote girl artists, that’s what the zines were all about, they didn’t have the internet, or computers, cell phones, facebook, myspace,etc. they promoted themselves in print and instead of mp3 they used cassette tapes :D :D D

    People would listen to tapes, and if they were good they would make copies to give to their friends, sometimes in other cities.

    One of the best stories is about Liz Phair’s girlysound tapes, and why her first album (which is listed in the top 100 ever produced) is titled Exile in Guyville.

    There was more to riot grrl than activism on issues such as rape, it was about the right of girls to be grrls(girls, only meaner :D), instead of having to be “one of the guys” to get respect.

  • Jessica S. @ at 9:23 pm, August 11th, 2009

    I absolutely love the Riot Grrrl movement, and have been a huge Bratmobile fan for the last few years.

  • Lolita Hazed @ at 6:43 pm, August 12th, 2009

    Cherry Sterile– how cool are you? I didn’t really get into riot grrrl until I was maybe a sophomore in high school. I hope there are more girls like you out there!

    Alex Catgirl makes some really great points, and I think that one of the best all girl bands ever, one of the pivotal pre-riot grrrl groups, Babes in Toyland, makes that point. Cute name, rough sound. Cute dresses, lacy underwear. They really force you to look at women’s image in society and what kind of idea is given by a grown woman dressing up like a little girl. Smart as hell and I highly recommend their stuff to Bikini Kill fans (Kathleen Hanna admits to being inspired by Babes)!

  • Ian @ at 11:50 am, August 14th, 2009

    I love Bikini Kill. Thanks for posting this. I only recently starting listening to them, but they rock.

  • Achilles Effect @ at 8:16 pm, August 15th, 2009

    Readers out there might also want to try P.J. Harvey, especially her early songs like Dress, Me-Jane, Sheela-Na-Gig and Man-Size. 50 Ft. Queenie is another great one.

  • amis @ at 10:09 pm, October 19th, 2009

    all this music literally saved me in hs i was a major loner and bands like bikini kill and hole helped me come to terms with my own homosexuality if that makes any sense at all it taught me that grrl love is just fine anyways i just want to say that grrl rawk and bands really can make a difference. amis

  • Xena @ at 2:27 am, May 22nd, 2010

    I am not sure someone else refer me to your website,Ulysses

  • Faketa @ at 2:27 am, May 22nd, 2010

    I’ve got the same problem as you,,Ulysses

  • Pada @ at 2:28 am, May 22nd, 2010

    Good luck with that!,Ulysses

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