To cap off Punk Week, we spoke to six modern punk acts about the riot grrrl artists who inspired them.
It’s been nearly 30 years since riot grrrl began to bubble in the Pacific Northwest. Sexism had long been prevalent in the punk scene, but riot grrrl was a way to validate women’s experiences in the industry. What erupted was a scene full of outspoken bands with feminist viewpoints and DIY zines that would transform punk as the world once knew it.
At the heart of the scene were bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobie and Heavens to Betsy, who would tackle trauma and adversity within their lyrics. The groups were also inherently political, speaking out about everything from abortion rights and sexism to equal pay. They were also credited with kickstarting third-wave feminism.
It wasn’t long until the riot grrrl ethos was adopted by the mainstream in the mid-’90s. The Spice Girls, for instance, built a pop career on “girl power.” Over the years, the spirit of riot grrrl has found its way into more modern acts, as the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have grown.
And while the inception of riot grrrl was criticized for focusing on white women and not being intersectional, today’s feminist punk acts embrace and promote diversity.
Here, a range of modern punk acts heavily influenced by the riot grrrl movement speak about the artists that inspired them to make music.