How to Be a Riot Grrrl (or Boi)

Riot Grrrl is a subculture of underground feminist punk. It focuses on empowering women and facing issues such as domestic violence, rape, and the portrayal of women in the media. Music is a major part of the culture, but it also includes magazines, a do-it-yourself ethic, and activism. Are you ready to be a Riot Grrrl (or one of their male counterparts, a Riot Boi)?


  1. Image titled Be a Riot Grrrl (or Boi) Step 1
    Be prepared to live, breathe, eat, and sleep Riot Grrl. It isn't a fashion statement. You can't wear it for a few days. It isn't a music genre you can merely dabble in. You must devote your life to Riot Grrrl and live it. Sure, you are allowed to have other interests, but you can't "act" Riot Grrrl. It must be who you are.
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    Be a Feminist. How do you expect to be a Riot Grrrl (or Boi) if you aren't one? Stop worrying about what you look like. If you don't want to wear makeup, shave, wear dresses or heels, you don't have to. Doing these things though doesn't make you weak; fight against the media portrayal of feminine weakness by being who you are and who you want to be. Fight against rape, violence, and inequality. Attend a [defense course]. Don't let anyone walk on top of you or tell you that you aren't as good because you are a girl. Refuse to lay down.
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    Support everyone. So you're a feminist which means you support equality, but you aren't sure if you can embrace gays, lesbians, transgenders, pansexuals, bisexuals, or any of the like. Everyone has the right to live their life how they want and you must respect everyone. Stand up for your beliefs.
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    Embrace activism. Find a cause you support (whether it be women's rights or child labor in India) and go reveal it to the masses. You'll never get anywhere sitting on your computer all day reading about what others are doing. Get out there! You might just be on the forefront of cultural/political/social change. Anything is fair game, just go do something about it.
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    Live your life, not anybody else's. The world around us is full of images that tell us who we should be and what we should do. Ignore it. You'll encounter lots of people who will try to make you be someone, but you can't be anyone but yourself. Embrace what you have and do what you want. You are perfectly good as you are and you shouldn't change that to suit anyone else.
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    Read books and magazines. Books provide you with all sorts of information, as can newspapers. Keep up to date on the world around you. If you can find magazines, please read them. A lot of them will be garbage, but the good ones are invaluable. You'll get to read the work of your fellow Riot Grrrls and punks alike.
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    Listen to the music. Some good bands to start with are Hole, Babes in Toyland, Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, 7 Year Bitch, Heaven to betsy ,and the L7. Through these you can find others and at least some of them will be to your liking. After you've gotten into these acts, try to explore some of the lesser known bands. As much as we hate it, Tumblr can be a great source for underground bands. Every city has some kind of scene and, with a little research (either through the internet or asking around) you can find some underground concerts. Check your local music store or coffee shop for flyers.
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    Go to concerts. Recorded music isn't sterile by any means, but live music is definitely something to roll around in. Pay for your entrance and support your local acts. Even if you don't think they're all that good, you can feel great knowing that you supported real people and not corporate zombies who forgot the real scene years ago. Talk to the band members and encourage others to listen to them. They'll appreciate it. Keep in mind that, if you do some moshing, it is a good way to get yourself felt up and groped. Make sure you know how to do it properly and bring someone larger than you to keep you out of trouble.
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    Play an instrument. This isn't necessary, but why wouldn't you pick up something, whether it be guitar, bass, or drums, and get your own music out there? If you find that you have no talent or interest in an instrument, be the vocalist. Even if you can't sing like an angel, Riot Grrrl isn't all about talent. It's about the message and the energy. Grab some fellow Riot Grrrls and Boys and put together a band.
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    Don't dress for boys. If you want to put on makeup, go for it! If not, that's fine too. Do whatever makes you happy. All women should be treated equally, no matter what they look like.
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    Go live it! Embrace your new lifestyle and go forth to the world. Protest, rock out, and be yourself. You are beautiful and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!


  • Go out and rock the world! Do some good. Don't waste your time hating things; go out and change them!
  • Do what you want. Don't let anyone tell you what you should do. It's your life, not theirs.
  • Respect everyone choices unless they harm. Sure you might think someone is spilling BS, but when you counter and debate them, be polite and state your facts. Only use your middle finger as a last resort.
  • Feel free to mix in bits and pieces of other subcultures. Who says you can't be a Riot Grrrl with pink hair and a love of fluffy leg warmers? Riot Grrrl is just a label anyway.
  • Feminism means EQUALITY--it doesn't mean you hate men and it doesn't mean you have to be a lesbian.
  • Find friends in the scene (and others) who can support you and your ideas. Punks and Hippies usually get along great with Riot Girls.
  • See Sources and Citations for some handy things to read.


  • Equality should be the first thing you should think of
  • Be careful if you choose to mosh.
  • Drugs and sex do not have to fit into the equation.
  • You don't have to be a tomboy. Riot Grrrl can be as girly as you want it to be.
  • You are valuable. Take care of yourself in every situation.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Feminism and Sexism