Riot Grrrls Usage of Music

Riot Grrrl refers to a feminist movement, which started in 1991 in Olympia Washington when girls from Bratmobile and Bikini Kill came together to address their interests. The music band decided to address the issues that affected women through the use of music, which mainly comprised of punk rock. The girls had several things in common, which motivated them to articulate issues that affected women through music. The things that they had in common included the fact that all of them had faced molestation during their childhood years, all of them used to be vegetarians, and they opposed the use of drugs (Marcus 10-250). A number of factors motivated the group to latch on music as the most effective tool for expressing their feminist agenda.

Why the Riot Grrrls latched on music as the most effective tool for expressing their version of feminism in the United States in the 1990s

The Riot Grrrl movement can be associated with the third wave of feminism as the group manifested this wave. The movement decided to use music to come up with feminist ideologies, which could reach a large number of people in the U.S. and other countries. This movement had the motivation to use music because they wanted to express their resistance to sexist ideals, which used to be phenomenal in the United States at that time.  Riot Grrrl also decided to use music in order to react against the music scene eminent in the north-west Pacific, which used to be dominated by men. The movement believed that, through music, girls could start a revolution, which would change how the world viewed women (Marcus 10-250).

Riot Grrrl also chose to use music as a way of expressing their feminist ideals because music helped the movement to express the plight of women in a society. As for the group, music helped them to highlight the experiences of women in the American society and other societies worldwide. The lyrics, which the group composed, portrayed the position of women in society. With the use of music to express feminist ideals, the group believed that the dominance of men in a society could be reduced and that women would have their rightful place in a society. The members of the group started using musical instruments that used to be regarded as male instruments in the past. For example, some women in Riot Grrrl band played the electric guitar, which used to be seen as an instrument for males during that time (Marcus 10-250).

“Riot Grrrls” also latched on to music in order to portray that women should have equal treatment with men. With their music, the group decided to show the world that women should be treated as people who have the capacity to do what men can do. Through the use of music, the group expressed its dissatisfaction with the stereotypes in televisions and magazines, which portrayed a negative image of women. The group thought that women should also be given a chance to do things just like men. The movement decided to use music because it helped them express the wrong stereotypes, which men had about women. Riot Grrrl also  used the music as a way of expressing their disinterest in the representation of women in the popular culture (Marcus 10-250).

With the increased popularity of music as a part of the popular culture, Riot Grrrl saw it as a perfect opportunity to articulate the views of their movement. According to the Riot Grrrl, the participatory and constructive use of popular culture would play an immense role in helping women to gain knowledge on personal and cultural issues. During the 1990s, music became an essential tool of communication in most parts of the world, and especially in the United States. As such, use of music by the Riot Grrrl helped the group to reach many women who used to be oppressed by male dominated societies (Marcus 10-250).

The strengths of the music as a way of expressing the agenda

The use of music by the Riot Grrrl can be considered to have had significant impacts and notable strengths in addressing issues of women. First, the message expressed through the music helped articulate and portray the everyday issues that afflicted women in the American society and other parts of the world. This way, women were associated with the music of the movement and this encouraged them to fight for their rights. Secondly, the music can be regarded as strong as it helped young women deal with issues such as eating disorders and emotional problems that emanated from sexual harassment. The other strong side of the music manifested in the fact that the music acted as an inspiration to many women. For instance, they developed the courage and brevity to speak against oppression (Marcus 10-250).

Fourthly, the music played by Riot Grrrl can be regarded as strong since it helped girls get together as one community and overcome alienation from society. The music composed by Riot Grrrl also helped in organizing meetings and conventions, which helped them to talk about issues that affected women (Marcus 10-250).

Primary weaknesses of the music used by Riot Grrrl

Despite the strengths of the music that Riot Grrrl used to express their feminist agenda, the music can also be said to have had some weaknesses. One of the primary weaknesses of the music is that it could not address most women’s needs. This emanates from the fact that the movement used to be dominated by white women. Moreover, most members of the group comprised of middle class youths. The other weakness of the music is manifested in the fact that the music did not succeed in accomplishing some changes such as improvement in laws of sexual harassment, as well as abortion rights (Marcus 10-250).  


In conclusion, the inspiration to seek equal treatment of women in the American society motivated the Riot Grrrl to use music in order to express their notion of feminism. The advancement of the popular culture in the 1990s, among other factors, encouraged the Riot Grrrl to articulate feminism through music. The music used by the movement had strengths such as encouraging women to articulate their rights. Some of the weaknesses of the music emanated from the fact that the group mainly comprised of white women.

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