Below is an email I replied back to in February 2007. It is an online riot grrrl and feminism interview. Lucy was doing interviews for a book she was writing about feminism. This is the very first riot grrrl/feminism interview I’ve ever done.
Hi Lucy! Thanks for the email and the reply! I’m going to warn you…I’m not good at interviews. lol I will try my best to answer ALL of the questions. My answers are in capslock, so you can tell my answers from your questions. If I’m not sure what your trying to ask in your question, I will capslock it and ask you what you mean by your question. If I need to go into further details on some of the questions let me know and I will do so.
~do riot grrrls exist today? YES, I BELIEVE THAT RIOT GRRRLS EXIST TODAY. EVEN THOUGH THE MOVEMENT HASN’T COME BACK SINCE THE 90′S, I FEEL THAT THE MOVEMENT MIGHT COME BACK ONE DAY. I THINK THERE ARE LOTS OF RIOT GRRRLS THAT STILL BELIEVE IN THE WHOLE RIOT GRRRL CONCEPT OR THAT ARE JUST NOW LEARNING ABOUT IT. I’M SURE IF YOU ASKED OTHER RIOT GRRRLS IF RIOT GRRRLS EXIST TODAY, THEY WOULD SAY YES.
-if not, do punks, metal heads, grunge kids? PUNKS, METALHEADS, AND GRUNGE KIDS STILL EXIST TODAY. (IF I NEED TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION MORE, LET ME KNOW.)
-if so, why can these groups transcend past ‘thrash-pit equality’ code set
for girls by
grrrls? I’M NOT SURE WHAT YOU ARE ASKING IN THIS QUESTION. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS QUESTION?
~what constitutes a female musician as a ‘riot grrrl’? FOR A FEMALE MUSICIAN TO BE CLASSIFIED AS A RIOT GRRRL, THEY WOULD WRITE SONGS THAT ARE ABOUT WOMEN’S ISSUES SUCH AS: RAPE, ABORTION, ABUSE, MURDER, AND OTHER ISSUES THAT AFFECT WOMEN. THE SONGS WOULD BE EMPOWERING AND DIFFERENT. THE SONGS WOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO TAKE A STAND AND SPEAK UP ABOUT WOMEN’S ISSUES. THE FEMALE MUSICIANS WOULD NOT HAVE TO BE STRICTLY PUNK ROCK, BUT THEY WOULD BE CONSIDERED “ALTERNATIVE” MUSIC AND NOT THE POP MUSIC YOU HERE ON MTV. THE FEMALE MUSICIANS WOULD NOT BE ALL ABOUT THE SPICE GIRLS AND THEIR SO-CALLED “GIRL POWER”. THEY WOULD NOT BE POP DIVA WANNABES SUCH AS BRITNEY SPEARS, JESSICA SIMPSON, ETC.
-can a female songwriter NOT necessarily be feminist? YES, FEMALE SONGWRITERS CAN BE NOT NECESSARILY FEMINIST. THERE ARE FEMALE SONGWRITERS AROUND THAT ARE NOT FEMINIST.
-is a feminist always riot grrrl? A FEMINIST IS NOT ALWAYS A RIOT GRRRL. SOME FEMINISTS HAVE NOT HEARD OF THE TERM “RIOT GRRRL” AND OTHER FEMINISTS THINK OF THEMSELVES AS FEMINIST AND NOT RIOT GRRRLS. HOWEVER, I DO THINK THAT FEMINISM AND RIOT GRRRL HAVE THE SAME PHILOSOPHY, IDEAS, AND PRINCIPLES.
~can a “real” riot grrrl call herself a ‘riot grrrl’? Would this make her a
poser? YES, A “REAL” RIOT GRRRL CAN CALL HERSELF A “RIOT GRRRL”. MOST OF THE TIME A “REAL” RIOT GRRRL WILL CALL HERSELF A RIOT GRRRL BECAUSE SHE SUPPORTS THE MOVEMENT AND AGREES WITH THE IDEAS OF THE MOVEMENT. IF SOMEONE SAYS THEY ARE A “RIOT GRRRL”, BUT DO NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE MOVEMENT OR THE IDEAS OF RIOT GRRRL, THEN YES, THEY WOULD BE CONSIDERED A “POSER”. THEY SHOULD DO THEIR RESEARCH BEFORE CLAIMING TO BE A “REAL RIOT GRRRL” OR A “RIOT GRRRL” IN GENERAL.
-do particular [new] bands classify themselves as R.G.s? YES, THERE ARE SOME NEW BANDS THAT CLASSIFY THEMSELVES AS RIOT GRRRLS. THERE ARE QUITE A FEW NEW BANDS THAT CONSIDER THEMSELVES RIOT GRRRL ON MYSPACE. I THINK THIS IS A GOOD THING. I THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE MORE RIOT GRRRL BANDS AROUND. THESE BANDS DO HAVE SONGS ABOUT WOMEN’S ISSUES AND ABOUT TAKING A STAND.
~so darling, are you a riot grrrl? I WOULD CONSIDER MYSELF A RIOT GRRRL, BUT I REALLY HATE SAYING THAT I’M A “RIOT GRRRL”. I DON’T FEEL THAT I SHOULD LABEL MYSELF OR SOMEONE ELSE AS A RIOT GRRRL, EVEN THOUGH I WOULD THINK IT TO MYSELF. I WOULD CONSIDER MYSELF SOMEONE THAT AGREES AND SUPPORTS THE MOVEMENT. I AGREE WITH THE WHOLE RIOT GRRRL IDEALOGY.
-who turned you on to it? NO ONE TURNED ME ON TO RIOT GRRRL. I FOUND OUT ABOUT IT FROM VARIOUS WEBSITES I USED TO FREQUENT. (A LOT OF THEM BEING RIOT GRRRL WEBSITES) ALSO, I HEARD ABOUT IT THROUGH LOOKING AT HOLE WEBSITES AND BIKINI KILL WEBSITES. MOST OF THOSE RIOT GRRRL WEBSITES ARE GONE NOW, BUT THERE ARE NEW RIOT GRRRL WEBSITES SPRINGING UP.
-how old were you? I WAS 14, WHEN I FIRST HEARD ABOUT RIOT GRRRL. IT WAS BACK IN 1997, WHEN I FIRST HEARD ABOUT RIOT GRRRL. I’M 23 NOW. (I’LL BE 24 ON MARCH 4TH OF THIS YEAR.)
-which band took your viriginity? HOLE: THAT’S PART OF HOW I LEARNED ABOUT RIOT GRRRL, THEN I STARTED HEARING ABOUT BIKINI KILL.
-anything else you’d like to add, hun? NOT THAT I CAN THINK OF.
~do you think the scene died? I DO THINK RIOT GRRRL DIED. HOWEVER, I HAVE READ ABOUT OTHERS WANTING THE MOVEMENT TO COME BACK AND WANTING TO START IT UP AGAIN SOMEHOW. LIKE I SAID EARLIER, THERE ARE STILL RIOT GRRRLS AROUND.
-may I ask why, either way? I THINK THE MEDIA TALKED TOO MUCH ABOUT RIOT GRRRL IN THE 90′S. THE MEDIA MADE IT SOUND “SCENE” AND REALLY PORTRAYED RIOT GRRRLS DIFFERENTLY THAN RIOT GRRRLS PORTRAYED THEMSELVES. IF THE MEDIA HADN’T TALKED ABOUT IT AND KEPT IT AS AN UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT, I DO NOT THINK RIOT GRRRL WOULD’VE DIED.
~ why did we need a third-wave? I THINK THAT THE THIRD-WAVE INCLUDED YOUNGER WOMEN, UNLIKE SOME OF THE OTHER “WAVES”. THIRD-WAVERS WANT TO CONTINUE THEIR FIGHT FOR EQUAL RIGHTS. I THINK DEFINING FEMINISM (AND RIOT GRRRL) RAISES PROBLEMS. FEMINISM AND RIOT GRRRL MEANS SOMETHING INDIVIDUAL TO EACH FEMINIST AND/OR RIOT GRRRL.
-was riot grrrl inevitable? YES. IF YOU WANT ME TO SPEAK MORE ABOUT THIS, LET ME KNOW.
~what’s the difference (if there is one) between ‘grrrl fucking power’ and
Spice Girls ‘girl powuh’? THE SPICE GIRLS ‘GIRL POWER’ IS DIFFERNT FROM ‘GRRRL POWER’. THE SPICE GIRLS DIDN’T HAVE ANY SONGS THAT WERE ABOUT WOMEN’S ISSUES OR WOMEN’S RIGHTS. I’M NOT SURE HOW THEIR TERM OF ‘GIRL POWER’ CAME ABOUT. ‘GRRRL POWER’ IS ABOUT STANDING UP AND FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHTS, RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT WOMEN’S ISSUES, AND TRYING TO ACHIEVE WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND EQUALITY.
MILD POKING: WORD ASSOCIATION
First thought-descriptions for the following: (3-4 words if you can) I’M NOT SURE WHAT YOU ARE ASKING, LET ME KNOW. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS?
-masculine: STRONG, PROTECTOR, WORKER
-feminine: GRACEFUL, SWEET, GENTLE
-feminist: OUTSPOKEN, ANGRY, POWER
PRODING JUST A LITTLE DEEPER
My focus points were the fifth and sixth paragraph (connecting states’
internet access to rape cases) and the eighth. But again, you may respond
to any part of this article
I DO NOT AGREE WITH ANTHONY D’AMATO’S VIEW IN THE “PORN UP RAPE DOWN” ARTICLE. I THINK THAT A LOT OF RAPES ARE NOT REPORTED. I AGREE WITH GAIL DINES VIEW. PORNOGRAPHY DOES NOT CAUSE RAPE. RAPE HAS MANY CAUSES. MOST RAPES HAPPEN BECAUSE THE MAN THAT DOES THE RAPING, NEEDS TO FEEL POWERFUL AND IN CONTROL OF A SITUATION. RAPE IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT SEX AND IN MOST CASES, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX.
CLOSER LOOK AT PORN
-Are you familiar with the Suicide Girls’ name?
“With a vibrant, sex positive community of women (and men), SuicideGirls was
founded on the belief that creativity, personality and intelligence are not
incompatible with sexy, compelling entertainment, and millions of people
agree. The site mixes the smarts, enthusiasm and DIY attitude of the best
music and alternative culture sites with an unapologetic, grassroots
approach to sexuality…. With hundreds of thousands of subscribers, over a
thousand models, a succesful book and DVD in stores and a new clothing line,
there’s no telling what diabolical plan SG will next come up with to
seperate you from your hard earned money.” (http://suicidegirls.com/about/)
with this in mind, what are your thoughts of these girls? “all for” or
I SUPPORT THE SUICIDE GIRL MODELS, BUT I DO NOT SUPPORT THE SUICIDE GIRLS AGENDA, IN GENERAL. I HAVE HEARD LOTS OF AWFUL STORIES FROM FORMER AND CURRENT SUICIDE GIRLS. I HAVE HEARD THAT THE GUY THAT RUNS SUICIDE GIRLS IS MEAN TO THE MODELS. I HAVE HEARD PEOPLE COMPARE THEM TO PLAYBOY. I DO NOT LIKE PLAYBOY, AT ALL. I HEAR THAT THE SUICIDE GIRLS ARE PARTNERS WITH PLAYBOY. I THINK THE SUICIDE GIRLS AGENDA IS A MEDIA CORPORATION, JUST LIKE PLAYBOY.
-Is there a difference between the models of the S.G. line and say,
I THINK THE SUICIDE GIRLS MODELS ARE DIFFERENT FROM PLAYBOY’S, FOR THE FACT THAT THEY ALL LOOK “ALTERNATIVE”. HOWEVER, MOST OF THE SUICIDE GIRLS LOOK THE SAME, JUST LIKE THE PLAYBOY MODELS. I THINK THE SUICIDE GIRLS LOOK REAL, COMPARED TO PLAYBOY MODELS. THE PLAYBOY MODELS SEEM TO HAVE BOOB JOBS, AMONG OTHER THINGS AND LOOK ALL SUPERFICIAL. THE SUICIDE GIRLS LOOK MORE REAL AND MOST DO NOT HAVE BOOB JOBS. I DON’T THINK YOU NEED TO HAVE A BOOB JOB JUST TO BE A MODEL.
-this is a long site, so copy and paste:
THIS WAS TAKEN OFF THE PLAYBOYSITE.
“They’re the sexy girls next door…who rock. Playboy Cyber Club members can
now see nude pictorials of the hottest pierced, tatted, wild and wonderful
alterna-girls on the Internet, courtesy of our new partner,
SuicideGirls.com.” -have your thoughts changed at all?
I STILL DO NOT LIKE PLAYBOY OR THE SUICIDE GIRLS. I DO SUPPORT THE MODELS OF THE SUICIDE GIRLS, BUT I THINK THEY ARE BOTH AFTER MONEY. THEY ARE BOTH “MAINSTREAM” AND “WHAT’S IN” WITH SOCIETY RIGHT NOW.
-Are you a believer that Suicide Girls, as stated earlier, are all about
“sexual freedom” and gaining equality in the bedroom in a safe, yet sexy
way? In Pamela Paul’s book ‘Pornified’, “Missy Suicide, the founder of the
female-operated pornography Web site Suicide Girls, explains, ‘sex and
sexuality is nothing for a woman to be ashamed of… I think the women on
Suicide Girls are brave in saying, ‘I’m confident, I’m intelligent, and I
don’t have a problem sharing my sexuality to the world. This is what a real
body looks like, and it’s beautiful.’ This is what should be celebrated.’
Of course, it is unclear… that their message is getting through amid the
barrage of male-oriented pornography out there.” On the website
a blogger comments on pictures taken from various
I DO THINK THAT THE SUICIDE GIRLS SEND A SOMEWHAT POSITIVE MESSAGE IN SAYING THAT THEY ARE ALL ABOUT SEXUAL FREEDOM. I DO AGREE WITH WHAT MISSY SAID. AS FOR THEM GAINING EQUALITY IN THE BEDROOM, I DON’T THINK THE SUICIDE GIRLS, HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH FEMINISM OR EQUALITY. I THINK IT IS A MONEY HUNGRY CORPORATION.
-Now I’d like you to open the attachments;
*image 1 came with this description: ““I love a little lesbo thigh biting in
the morning. …right before a nutritious breakfast of pussy!”” *image
2 came with: “These lesbo Suicide Girls would be such cute welders! They
give me a hard hat. ” *and image 3 with: “Punk Rock Lesbians who would
kick your ass in real life have nasty lesbo sex for your enjoyment.”
do you see any female empowerment showing through those pictures, or was
the ‘Pornified’ excerpt correct (“it is unclear… that their message is
getting through amid the barrage of male-oriented pornography out there”)?
I THINK THE IMAGES ARE UNCLEAR OF WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SAY. THE IMAGES DO NOT SCREAM “FEMALE EMPOWERMENT” TO ME. TO ME, IT LOOKS LIKE THEY ARE HAVING FUN. IT SEEMS THAT “LESBIAN SEX” SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING MOST MEN LIKE TO WATCH/SEE. IT SEEMS THAT NOWDAYS “LESBIAN SEX” IS IN AND THERE ARE GIRLS THAT DO IT WITH OTHER GIRLS JUST TO MAKE GUYS HAPPY. IT’S GROSS. IF THEY REALLY ARE LESBIANS, IT’S FINE, BUT IF THEY AREN’T, THEN THEY’RE JUST DOING IT FOR THE ATTENTION.
DRAWING SOME BLOOD NOW
This is that “especially long” article; in short, the writer cites “xtina”
as the new Bikini Kill, in her sexual rebuttle to popular culture beliefs of
feminity and sexuality. I have my own thoughts on this, and it’s hard not
to rant myself, but I don’t think I’m supposed to do that. If you aren’t
interested in reading the entire article, I’ll send a few paragraphs that
“It was last year, when Xtina released the single “Can’t Hold Us Down,” from
her 2002 album Stripped–that’s when she upset the clockwork. It was an
inspirational anthem of girl-strength that called out the double standard.
It was a revolt against the life-sucking notion that for a woman to do as a
man does is impermissible, and punishable by scarlet letter.”
“I hadn’t felt this deliberately included in such a personal/universal
statement since hearing Bikini Kill for the first time. During my brief
imprisonment in a Cheyenne, Wyoming high school, Bikini Kill verbalized the
things I knew to be true, but what the male punks in my record collection
had neglected to name. That band split my world open like a geode; 11 years
later, speaking from the anonymous corridors of corporate FM radio, Xtina
Aguilera did the same.”
“Xtina’s persona, her lyrics, personal action and participation–and, most
importantly, the ways in which she self-identifies and lives her
message–are parallel to those of Bikini Kill. Xtina’s girl-might embodies
the collective mentality of riot grrrl, with all its confrontation and
self-determination. Spouting lyrics that could have been ripped from the
pages of Bikini Kill fanzine, Xtina Aguilera takes Riot Grrrl ideals to mass
market, promoting revolutionary concepts through traditional means of the
capitalism so hated by RG.” Do you think this concept makes sense: that
“revolutionary” riot grrrl views could truly still be anti-captitalist
coming from a mainstream radio, that feeds off of the same culture that
devours capitalism whole?
“As Hanna wrote in the “riot girl” manifesto, printed in 1991 in issue two
of Bikini Kill fanzine: “We hate capitalism in all its forms and see our
main goal as sharing information and staying alive, instead of making
profits off being cool according to traditional standards.” While Christina
profits from “Can’t Hold Us Down,” she’s sharing information to stay
alive…Stripped has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.”
“I’m not too bothered if some people get upset about what I wear… with my
videos and my pictures of me, I am not an object. I am in control. I’m in
the power position. I decide who I am and it’s too bad if you don’t get
it… or want it.” – ‘X-tina’
- is it odd to you, or is it perfectly normal that cited in this article,
for all the interviews held with X-tina, were the following ‘feminist’
magazines: Blender, Australian and American Cosmo?
I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE X-TINA ARTICLE. I DO NOT THINK SHE IS “RIOT GRRRL” AT ALL AND SHE’S DEFINITELY NOT THE NEW “BIKINI KILL”. TO ME, SHE IS A BIT FEMINIST, BUT NOT ALL THAT MUCH. I DO NOT LIKE HER MUSIC OR HER. I THINK IT’S GROSS THAT THESE MAGAZINES CALLED HER A “RIOT GRRRL”. I THINK THESE MAGAZINES HAVE NO CLUE WHAT AN ACTUAL RIOT GRRRL IS. I THINK THAT BLENDER, AUSTRALIAN, AND AMERICAN COSMO ARE NOT FEMINIST MAGAZINES. I PREFER BUST, MS., AND BITCH MAGAZINES. A LOT OF MAINSTREAM MAGAZINES WILL WRITE ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE ICONS, SUCH AS X-TINA, AND WILL GLORIFY THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE THE “IN” THING. I THINK COMPARING HER TO BIKINI KILL AND RIOT GRRRL WAS AN ERROR ON THESE MAINSTREAM MAGAZINES PART. APPARENTLY, THEY HAVEN’T READ MUCH ABOUT RIOT GRRRL OR BIKINI KILL.
SEXY BLOODY RESEARCH
the following is an excerpt from Pamela Paul’s Pornified. It will cover, in
short, a male chatroom on a particular pornographic site.
“By commenting on women as a group, men keep women at a distance, parading
their masculinity and proving their potency to one another, and to
‘Bjoobies!! I love dem Asian features,’ exclaims one man in a bulletin board
of responses to a series of online photos showing a
half-Asian,half-Caucasian woman, dubbed ‘Kitana,’ frolicking naked in a
bathtub. ‘Damnit,’ writes another man. ‘I thought it was Kitana Baker… oh
well this chick is still decent enough. She has a weird midriff though.’
He’s not alone in his opnion. ‘Looks like she’s had a few too many
sandwiches!!!’ exclaims another viewer. ‘or she needs to stick to light
beer!! She has no waistline– goes straight down from her shoulders!!!’ A
third man chimes in, ‘She does nuthin 4 me. Maybe the fugliness, i don’t
know.’ A man who calls himself ‘Drexel’ agrees. He writes:
I’m confused. Whose idea of beauty are we subject to? What are
ifications needed to get one’s boobies on [this site]? The
reason I ask, is that there doesn’t seem to be anything extraordinary
about this particular young lady. No shocking hair color, exceptional
beauty, fancy outfit, giant boobs, etc, etc, that seperate her from any
other bathing booty. She’s fine,
I’d hit it and all but, I’m sure I could find 50 more interesting
in a few keystrokes.
… Another Web site, another forum: a blonde peels off her white bustier,
French-cut bikini, and garters in a fram-by frame monstage, ending with her
legs spread wide. She poses from the front, and now from the back,
squatting, lying down, smiling. ‘I dunno, man, her face is screwy… The
eyes/eyebrow combination is off one way or another,’ writes one observer.
‘What’s up with the beaver rash?’ asks a second. ‘Nice granny panties,’
sneers a third, the self-proclaimed I Dig Chicks. yet another viewer piles
on: ‘This chick’s boobies are weird. how come her nipples aren’t somewhat
centered within her areolas? I don’t think ever seen that before.’ Nobody
seems to like the blonde very much… When one man complains that the others
are being unduly harsh, a debate breaks out on the baord. ‘Any skank who
appears naked on the internet automatically gains immunity from criticism?’
replies a poster. ‘I’ve seen plenty of nasty mean [online] that I wouldn’t
touch with a ten foot pole… Actually, now that I think of it, you’re
right, from now on I’ll commence heaping praise on every used up skanky
butterface implant ridden ho-bag that gets posted here.’
This isn’t quite the aesthetic appreciation that men make pornography
viewing out to be, nor does it seem to be about men loving women. Comments
in such porn forums generally fall into two categories: whether the viewer
would have sex with the woman depicted or not and whether the image inspired
him to masturabte, accompanied by a dissection of the woman’s attributes
that turned him on. The prettiness of her face, the curve of her ass,
whether she’s been too airbrushed or not airbrushed enough.”
(That was long, I’m sorry.)
-Any thoughts on the selected text?
I DO NOT THINK MEN SHOULD BASE WOMEN ON THEIR LOOKS. I THINK MOST OF THOSE MEN SOUNDED SEXIST. THEY WERE JUDGING THESE WOMEN BASED SOLELY ON THEIR LOOKS. THEY WERE JUDGING HER BY HER FACE, BODY, AND THE WAY SHE DRESSES. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY A LOT OF WOMEN GET OBSESSED ABOUT HOW THEY LOOK, THEIR WEIGHT, AND WITH THEIR BODIES. I THINK WOMEN SHOULD LOVE THEIR BODIES, NO MATTER HOW THEY LOOK. DO NOT LISTEN TO MYSOGYNISTIC MEN.
If you’re interested, there is a follow-up interview that focuses more on
pornography and media conceptions of the ‘feminine’ beauty. There would be
more images that would require your impression of them. Thank you so much
for helping as much as you have.
This next section of the interview would include pornographic materials,
so first I would need to know if
I. You are over 18
and II. You have no moral opposition to such content.
YES, I’M OVER 18. I’M 23, ABOUT TO BE 24 IN MARCH. NO, I HAVE NO OPPOSITION TO THE CONTENT.
YOUR WELCOME! IS THIS INTERVIEW FOR A CLASS PROJECT OR IS IT FOR A WEBSITE? LET ME KNOW. I WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN YOU REPLY BACK TO THIS EMAIL IF I WANT MY SITES MENTIONED. THANKS AGAIN! SO FAR, THIS IS AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW.
HOPE TO HEAR BACK FROM YOU SOON! TAKE CARE!