Annie Lennox is Back And She Has Put a Spell On Me!

I can’t even get over this performance by Hozier and Annie Lennox at the Grammy’s. (A little late I know.) However, this is by far one of my favourite Nina Simone songs, and I think Annie nails it out of the park!!! (I know not Riot Grrrl themed, however Annie was a powerhouse of a woman vocalist in her day)

Hozier & Annie Lennox – Take Me to Church / I Put a Spell on You (Medley) (Live GRAMMYs 2015)

Her part starts at 2:48.

Check it out and see what you think! I’m addicted! Annie is back and she sounds amazing! I hope she starts releasing new music again because there is something about the rawness in her voice that gets my heart going. Enjoy!

-Grrrl2

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From Zines to Tweets, Feminism is Alive and Inspiring a New Wave

In its early days, the Riot Grrrl genre found empowerment through female punk music, art, written word and political activism with the rise of the third wave of feminism in the 80s and 90s. At the time, it addressed mostly youth and the issues of sexuality, gender oppression, and the like. As we have mentioned in our previous posts, much of Riot Grrrl culture came out of zines, overt self expression through tattoos, writing the word “slut” or “bitch” on ones stomach like Kathleen Hanna and creating zines to address the issues these women and Riot Grrrls faced. Now the internet has become a place where social activism online on social media platforms like blogging, and facebook groups is inspiring a new wave of Riot Grrrls to act!

With self-published zines, body art, tattoos and piercings, do-it-yourself punk styled clothing became markers of 1990s Riot Grrrl era. Zines became the common means in which Riot Grrrls could communicate. This art form and expression became a necessary part of keeping the community and culture together in collective activism. It was not so much the music that was shared (however, the music was important) but in fact, it was the political activism from artists and fans alike that Riot Grrrl culture emerged.

As the internet developed in the early 2000s, Feminist online culture became a new form of collectivity and textual practice through websites and blogs. Blogs were created and bloggers began to write about the issues that concerned themselves and others creating a supportive place for readers to join in the collectivity to give themselves and others agency.

With the recent resurgence of new modern zines, groups on Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs like Tumblr have catered to communication among women and marginalized groups to create a place of resistance and construct a collective voice. In Michelle Comstocks article “Girl Zine Networks: Recomposing Spaces of Authority, Gender and Culture,” although written in 2001, does bring up an interesting idea of the new creation of culture online. She states,

“Internet authorship, more than mainstream print authorship, seems amenable to the DIY ethic of the print zine movement…this kind of writing can constitute a significant form of cultural production and resistance in a moment when social and economic power is inextricably related to the knowledge and use of communication technologies” (Comstock, 402).

Feminist online culture has made its mark among online users well versed in the technology and with Sleater Kinney’s return to the music scene, Riot Grrrl like activism is not dead yet. One word Feminism.

Search “Riot Grrrl” on Tumblr and you will get a variety of blogs and posts specifically about feminism. Girls are creating a place where they can be creative as well as “talk back” to their pain or oppression online. In a recent article from The Salon called From Riot Grrrls to “Girls”: Tina Fey, Kathleen Hanna, Lena Dunham and the Birth of an Inspiring New Feminism, they state, “This new technology allowed for previously unimagined speed and reach in disseminating feminist ideas. The emergence of a vibrant feminist online culture — including widely read feminist blogs…enabled feminists around the globe to respond immediately to each other’s ideas and to create virtual communities that provided friendship and political allies.”

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Screen Shot by Grrrl2

The internet has allowed for the connectivity at a greater scale than before. Famous musicians have joined the collective through their own performances to create a place in which marginalized groups can talk online. Social media has become a soundboard for issues among women and marginalized groups; for example, a group of women from Alberta University has come together to combat harassment on apps like Tinder. The dreaded Tinder.

 Although these girls are not overly “Riot Grrrl” in appearance, they are still coming together collectively the way in which the previous zines and Riot Grrrls have done before them. This inter-connectivity has helped girls from all around the country talk about their problems of harassment on sites and apps like Tinder. (The comment at the end of the article made me laugh and snort, I was not surprised with the response.)

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Screen Shot by Grrrl2

As we can see, there is still a presence of Riot Grrrl attitude and culture in the form of online feminism through blogging, YouTube and social media groups. By creating a collective voice online, users online are utilizing the medium by posting new content like zines, blog posts, or YouTube videos about things they are passionate about as authors of their own movement. Although the Riot Grrrl genre has unfortunately dissipated and the media landscape format has changed, feminism and Riot Grrrl activism is still pervasive online on blogs, social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube videos. “New age” Riot Grrrls (I’m dubbing us that) have reclaimed themselves and their voice on a new platform, which has given them more agency and a place to escape from the rigidity and confines of gender by empowering themselves in their own online social media platforms. Riot Grrrl has a new face, and a new set of tools but the principle is the same! Go out there, step on some online toes, and meet some new friends online!

-Grrrl2

Works Cited

Cobble, Dorothy Sue. “From Riot Grrrls to “Girls”: Tina Fey, Kathleen Hanna, Lena Dunham and the Birth of an Inspiring New Feminism.” Salon.com RSS. 31 Aug. 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.

Comstock, Michelle. “Grrrl Zine Networks: Re-Composing Spaces of Authority, Gender, and Culture.” JSTOR. Spring 2001. Web. 04 Apr. 2015.

Sarkonak, Jamie. “Tindergrrrls Takes a Swipe at Online Harassment – The Gateway.” The Gateway. N.p., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2015. <http://thegatewayonline.ca/2015/03/tindergrrrls-takes-a-swipe-at-online-harassment/&gt;.

Unknown. “Latinas Are Leading The Riot Grrrl Revival.” Vocativ. Web. 06 Apr. 2015. <http://www.vocativ.com/culture/society/riot-grrrl-facebook/&gt;

Follow Me Down…The Female Voices of Empowerment

I was listening to 102.1 The Edge in the car and this song came on, and I was floored! At first, I thought the singer was male with just a higher voice but as I listened further it was Taylor Momsen and the band The Pretty Reckless.

WHAT?! RIGHT?! Hearing a powerful female belt out some great lyrics with a savoury guitar lick behind her voice, can I get an amen? I love the blues guitar palm muted chords at the chorus, double kick and the gritty guitar introduction, with dissonant vocals. All a good rock mix. (I know not Riot Grrrl genre, but powerful women can’t be denied.)

Follow Me Down- The Pretty Reckless

After I listened to that song, I thought about another female singer with power, Bif Naked. Sound familiar? Totally, late 90s early 2000s I grew up with this song as one of my female anthems in high school. And it is still just as powerful as it first was.

“I Love Myself Today”-Bif Naked

Boy, do I miss her! I love her punk rock tattoos, Riot Grrrl attitude, and screechy vocals in the chorus. SO good! This brought back so many memories. But you can see that females are all over every kind of genre influencing each other and to top it all off BIF IS CANADIAN! And everybody said AMEN! Both these women can rock out, and I’m happy to see front women Taylor Momsen sing powerfully in this day in age especially in the rock genre.

-Grrrl2
Over and out.

Wanna Do More Reading? Here’s Some Powerful Women for Ya!

I’ve been doing some research and have found some interesting articles and blogs to read. So, if you’re interested in doing more research on the Riot Grrrl genre and strong women performers, here are some links to guide you:

Kate Nash’s Girl Gang: the online community for today’s riot grrrls
This article written by Kate Nash, talks about how Tumblr and the internet have become “the teenage girls bedroom wall,” a place to express yourself. I think it’s interesting to see the impact of the internet and how it has become a new soundboard facilitating a more pro feminist scene.

She states, “We’ve realised the power of the internet, and the strength in working together.”

Latinas Are Leading The Riot Grrrl Revival
This article talks about how the Riot Grrrl movement and how Latina women have embraced and utilized the Internets connection through their use of Facebook groups to create a new Riot Grrrl revival and as a place to create a collective community. Pretty cool!!!

Why Alanis still matters
I’m a huge fan of Alanis, and seeing her inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame was a proud moment. This article talks about how Alanis’ music has truly stood the test of time. The article states, “The reason it’s important to recognize Morissette in 2015 is that, 20 years on, we can fully appreciate Jagged Little Pill’s legacy. Its wildly successful blend of Riot Grrrl feminism and pop hooks announced to the music industry—in that distinctive husky screech—that there was a mass market for female singer-songwriters.Jagged Little Pill, is one of my favourite albums so finally seeing her inducted was an important moment for the rest of those she influenced and continues to influence. “Morissette is widely credited for helping to open the floodgates, ushering in a generation of mainstream female artists who sang about love very differently from Mariah Carey and Céline Dion. She paved the way for Fiona Apple, Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne and Pink, many of whom cite her as a direct influence.” Amen to that. Check it out.

And if you’re not familiar with her, you should definitely check out her recent performance at the Hamilton Junos.

Alanis Morissette “Uninvited”, “You Oughta Know” & “Thank You” – Live at The 2015 JUNO Awards

ENJOY!!!!

-Grrrl2

A New Wave, Bob’s Burgers, and Carrie B in Cartoon

Sleater-Kinney – A New Wave [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

I’m over the moon to see Sleater Kinney back on the music scene. This music video is great on so many levels. While I’ve been pulling out my hair over finishing this semester’s final assignments, this whole album “No Cities to Love” has been on repeat on my iTunes. Let my inner riotgrrrl feminist flag fly. The song is catchy, fun, and full of so much energy. I love the grit in Carrie’s voice, it is refreshing to hear new Sleater Kinney on my iPod.

Also, I don’t mind seeing Carrie Brownstein turned into a Bob’s Burgers cartoon as Tina and her siblings jump and dance to the beat. Yep, yep. I approve.

-grrrl2

The Canadian Juno Awards and Strong Canadian Female Artistry

As Grrrl1 and I discussed over lunch together, genres (specifically rock) are ever changing. There is a missing piece in the music scene of strong Riot grrrl feminist punk rock music. The genre has seemed to dissipate and retreat in the last few years. However, there have been strong women in music, from Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Sia, and Iggy Azalea in the recent years paving their own way. Yet, there is still a missing piece where women within the rock genre are still dominated heavily by masculinity and dude rock stereotypes.

Since the Canadian Juno Awards have come to Hamilton Ontario I’ve thrown myself head first into Canadian music artist scene again and have been listening to some awesome music that have women first and foremost that rock out.

Lights
Lights is not heavy metal rock, but she can certainly rock out live in concert. (I have been following her since her start in 2006.). From Timmins Ontario, Lights Poxleitner is a female Canadian Electro Pop artist with powerful female sound.

An advocate for her fans to sponsor kids in Haiti, and playing concerts at local middle schools to create awareness of the charity the 30 Hr Famine. Lights is a strong women with a powerful voice and strong musical sound. Her music is just as hard-hitting as many other electro pop artists in her genre category. Radio play of her song “Up We Go” has been on heavy rotation since her release of her new album “Little Machines” late last year. There’s no stopping her bit-crushed keyboard, subby kick drum and bass-lines and powerful harmonies from making waves in the Canadian music scene.

Check out Lights recent video, “Running With The Boys

Ironically, there are no boys in this video, but it’s a great anthem!

With her combat boots, plaid shirt, black high waisted jeans and epic shaggy hair comb-over Lights will be performing at the Junos on Sunday March 15, 2015!!!

The Mohrs
I cannot get over this band, The Mohrs, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Jackie Mohr, this harder rock sound with strong vocals is definitely a band to look out for in the next few years.

I love her style, her strength, and her passion for music. Originally from Winnipeg, from my families hometown, The Mohrs radio ready rock sound is showing the way that strong women can be the front(wo)man of a band without having to be severely feminine or overtly masculine!

Check out their song “Perfectly Sane” here,

Love this band. Check out them out and see what you think. I hope they are recognized for a Juno in the near future.

Vag Halen
The next band I stumbled upon this week is a band called Vag Halen, (their name says it all doesn’t it) who is a Toronto all female queer cover band. HOW AWESOME IS THAT, RIGHT?!

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Lead sing Vanessa Dunn, doing what she does best on stage! http://www.vaghalen.com/media/

These girls rock extra hard and look like they are having fun subverting sexuality by performing on stage both music and performance art. These girls exude sexuality so fluidly with their shaggy hair, fishnet stockings, and knee-high boots reminiscent of Riotgrrrls Bikini Kill and Hair metal bands of the 80s. I literally cannot get enough of this group and their female empowering performances.

Here is a recent interview with the lead signer Vanessa Dunn, (Rated PG)

I love what she has to say in this video, it is inspiring to see women be strong with their own voice in the music scene.

The landscape for women artistry is changing and women are taking back both sound and instrument. Strong women, who can play and rock just as hard as their counterparts is certainly long overdue! Seeing powerful Canadian women permeate the radio waves with their music is where genres are changing and I cant wait to see what all these artists have in their arsenal in the years to come.

Now I’m off to watch the Junos! Strong women! Go team!

Further Reading

Juno Nominees 2015

Lights Past Albums Listen here

The Mohrs tour dates

Girls to the Front: The Egalitarian Role of Audiences and Musicians Within the Riot Grrrl Genre

As we have written in our recent blog posts, audience interaction is an integral part of the Riot Grrrl movement and genre within the context of musical performances and off-stage interactions. Just as Riot Grrrl entails a community focused on production, a set of ideals, and a means of transmission, the exchange between artist and community is another key facet of this genre. This post will explore the importance and role between musician and audience in defining Riot Grrrl through DIY Zines, social inclusion, and involvement from both artist and audience.

Retrieved from http://www.worldaccordingtomaggie.com/photographyylms/bikini-kill-poster

To preface, the dichotomy that usually exists between performers and consumers of music is rendered almost non-existent within this genre. The term ‘audience’ becomes potentially problematic when applied to Riot Grrrl music culture. So, the term ‘audience’ will be used lightly. The normal juxtaposition of the performer as a figure that is to be looked at and the audience as people who “look” cannot always be applied to this genre. We view this genre as an exchange of power that is egalitarian between performer and audience member. Performers and audiences move fluidly between roles, and their gaze is never focused on one another, but at common goals and aesthetic values. Elke Zobl describes in her article, Revolution Grrrl and Lady Style, Now! that the encouragement of audience members to actively participate along with the artist “merged the distinctive (and hierarchical) roles between audience and performer” (Zobl, 446) and in the process has helped create participatory culture among Riot Grrrls and the musician.

DIY Culture
Participants in the Riot Grrrl movement have been seen as the “third wave” of feminism, resisting male dominated punk hegemony by creating a supportive environment for female interaction. Zines such as Girl Germs and Chainsaw, helped establish the culture of both the community and the bands influencing cooperatively the message of what Riot Grrrl would become. These zines have created an atmosphere for young women to address issues like anorexia, body image, rape, sexism, and racism. Since the early 1990s these ideas dispersed internationally through “Revolution Grrrl and Lady Style, Now!” Zines were largely self-published self-distributed magazines made for young women and queer youth creating an informal network of friendships within the Riot Grrrl scene. This movement relied on an “expansive and shifting networks of clubs, labels, record stores, zines, and zine distributors (“distros”)” (Zobl, 446). Zine writing and publishing became a method of empowerment by subverting standard patriarchal mainstream media without being censored.

Through this feminist network, listeners were able to take and assert themselves as cultural activists for their own gender. The creation of art became a revolutionary act to counter the mainstream. Bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Heavens to Betsy helped offer a gateway into the subculture that is Riot Grrrl. Instead of accepting mainstream representations of the female body, and removing themselves from popular (corporate) culture, young women, feminists, and band members have used these tools of cultural production for themselves. Listeners and audience members have assumed the role of do-it-yourself-ers (DIY) creating their own personal symbols, style, cultural system, and images of self-representation in which to show their own political resistance. Zobl states in her article, “They simply do not want to be part of the establishment and mainstream culture; instead they want to provide an alternative to the dominant culture“ (Zobl, 445).

As we have noted, Riot Grrrls have created a deep-rooted punk feminist community and helped evoke young women and girls’ sub cultural resistance through an exploration of radical political individuality. Examples like Bikini Kill have declared a “Revolution Girl-Style” in their manifesto:

“They called upon young women to form bands, to mutually learn and teach the playing of instruments, and to publish zines.” (Zobl, 446).

This radical cultural resistance and alternative to the dominant culture is a way for these women to assert themselves among a male oriented music culture. By publishing zines, the community was offered a way of collective empowerment by voicing their opinions against, sexism, and gender based discrimination. By encouraging audience members to actively participate during shows and through their acts of DIY culture. Through the genre, a message of revolution was created, “for young women: namely, self-empowerment through the method of DIY” (Zobl, 446). By doing these actions, many Riot Grrrls liberated themselves from restrictive (male) notions of control by empowering one another through these DIY methods.

‘Grrrl Love” and audience participation
Riot Grrrls recognized young women who have been conditioned to be competitive, envious, and resentful of one another. Communities within the movement decided to remedy this damaging social construct and female on female bullying by creating and advocating for “grrrl love.” Allowing for a space where women should be supportive and encourage their fellow grrrl. Bikini Kill’s Riot Grrrl anthem “Rebel Girl” entails this ‘grrrl love’ transforming the genre and the audience through acts of inclusion and camaraderie.

Take a listen here, Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill

This “Rebel Girl” anthem teaches grrrls to stand up for each other in the face of rumor and gossip. For example in the lyrics, “They say she’s a slut but I know/she is my best friend” shows the way in which women can deflect gossip and remain in solidarity. As well, “That girl she holds her head up so high/I think I wanna be her best friend” offers a way in which womanhood exudes a state of confidence and high self-esteem.

Lead singer of Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna is a prime example of exuding confident womanhood in the face of opposition. In this clip, you will see her address the crowd and bring the girls to the front. Specifically from times 0:40-1:04.

The Punk Singer- Bikini Kill, Girls to the Front

The way in which Hanna uses her body to subvert ideals of the female body, and pushes for the females to stand at the front (with loud cheering from the crowd) shows the way in which the community and the singer are actually purposefully connected, breaking the barrier between performer and the crowd. This pushing of boundaries between performer and crowd become intertwined with one another to create a live experience that incorporates everyone involved. The hierarchy of artist/performer over the audience is removed through the connection and merging of audience and performer participation. The advocating for girls to come to the front and the “boys to chill out for once” is a way in which Hanna has attempted to gain control of the space where women are supported within the room of the club.

In the name of “grrrl love,” Riot Grrrl artists have encouraged young women to entwine feminist art, activism, music, and politics. Notoriously Bikini Kill is known for stopping in the middle of their shows to confront violence or sexist comments from the male audience. Hanna shared in an interview,

“At a show, as the person with the microphone I feel like I have a certain responsibility, because I can communicate to everybody in the room. So if I see a woman being fucked with, I might say, ‘You—outta here now!’ and make the community accountable for removing that person.” (Lesbian Histories, Angry Women in Rock, 90).

This act of participation from both the lead singer as well as crowd creates a culture of inclusion and a way in which to stand up against oppression. Hannas democratic participation and responsibility over the audience creates a place of safe exposure among the crowd. This encouragement for an audience to keenly participate along with the performer is a way in which the Riot Grrrl genre has influence and has been influenced by their audience cooperatively. Through DIY Zines, social inclusion, and participation artists like Bikini Kill have incorporated their audience to empower and create a place of subculture through inclusion and solidarity within the genre.

Further Reading:

“Bikini Kill LIVE!”

This video shows Kathleen Hanna engaging with her fans on stage about body image.

Bikini Kill- The Singles

There’s something about this album that gets me all fired up! Take a listen!

Want to see more cool zines? Here’s a new take on them! These girls have tapped into their inner punk rock feminist and made an anthology inspired by Riot Grrrl and zine culture that is worth a look!

References:

Brittanie A. “Lesbian Histories: Browse the Essays.” Lesbian Histories: Browse the Essays. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

Brockes, Emma. “What Happens When a Riot Grrrl Grows Up?” The Guardian. 9 May 2014. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.

Rosenberg, Jessica, and Gitana Garofalo. “Riot Grrrl: Revolutions from within.” JSTOR. The University of Chicago Press, Spring 1998. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.

Zobl, Elke. “Revolution Grrrl and Lady Style, Now!” Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 16.4 (2004): 445-52. JSTOR. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.

“Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl [The Singles].” YouTube. YouTube, Web. 05 Mar. 2015.