Latest bit for Campus Progress is up! Shoot, I love me some riot grrrls.

Riot grrrls were rougher, grittier, and more in-your-face feminists than their predecessors. Meltzer does a great job of cataloging the primordial stew from which riot grrrls emerged. She creates context for the grrrls by recapping the failures and triumphs of first and second wave feminists, and how their lives impacted their daughters. Meltzer writes:

“These women were reacting to issues within the relatively insular punk community, but also tapping into a larger cultural moment. The late eighties had been a particularly dark moment for feminism, and the decade became a kind of grab bag for feminist gains and losses. … The generation of women that followed the second wave had reaped the benefits but were coming of age on thier own and beginning to critique the past 20 years. Third wave feminist was both a resurgence and reaction to the second wave. Third wave feminism was about embracing the individual, and acknowledging that feminism could be different for everyone, and not some monolithic force.”

Meltzer handles this critical aspect of third wave feminism with aplomb. Many books on feminist theory and history tend to gloss over issues of class and elitism that plagued the first and second wavers. In 1992, the riot grrrl movement adopted a self-imposed media blackout, in which a majority of riot grrrl bands refused to speak with the music and mainstream press because they felt the media was distorting the movement’s message. But in its attempts to remain underground and avoid mainstream scrutiny, it remained elitist and exclusive. Meltzer doesn’t shy away from pointing out this downfall.

Advertisements