Feminism Friday: How To Start A Riot Grrrl Chapter In Your Area
Posted by grrrlriot on March 28, 2008
I got this from an OLD riot grrrl website that’s no longer up anymore. I used archive.org to find the old website. It’s taken from here: The X-Womyn Collective and it’s from their DIY guide. Some of the information below might not be something you want to try, but the main point of a riot grrrl chapter is to hold meetings and connect with other riot grrrls.
Put up flyers announcing the formation of a riot grrrl chapter in your area. Include contact information like phone numbers, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses if you have them, and a website URL if available. Leave them in coffeeshops, record stores, hand them out at shows, and if you have the nerves, get up and announce that you are starting a chapter at shows and public events. You may also want to decide if you will allow men in your meetings. Some chapters do, some don’t.
Wait for people to contact you. Make sure you get all their contact information, like name, address, phone number, e-mail address, etc. Once you feel you have enough people, get in touch with everyone and plan a meeting.
Meetings can take place almost anywhere. You can do it in a public place like a coffeehouse or a park, but there may be a lot of outside distractions and people will find it hard to stay focused. You can also have meetings in people’s houses, if everyone is comfortable with the idea. Have people bring snacks to munch on and drinks. Tell them to bring a friend who might be interested.
The first meeting is always a little slow and you don’t do many activities. It’s good to go around and introduce yourselves, like name, where you’re from, how you got involved with riot grrrl and what you hope to get out of the group. You may also want to explain why you are starting a chapter in the first place. You may then want to discuss what you’d like to do, whether you want it to be just a discussion group, or if you’d like to do other outside activities. If you are in a public place you might want to collect donations and give them to the people who run the place as a thank you for letting you meet there. Some places might even require that you do it. You also might want to ask people to donate money to the chapter so you have spending money if you need it. But be sure to put it in a safe place and don’t spend it on anything except what’s agreed on as a chapter.
Some ideas for things to do as a chapter are to hold a convention featuring girl/queer-positive bands, workshops and speakers. This takes a lot of planning though. You should hold off on this until you get things really organized. You can also have slumber parties and dance parties, as a way of bonding and getting to know each other. You can hold workshops in meetings about topics like self-defense, abortion, sexism, the media, equality, rape/sexual assault, girl love/sisterhood, racism, classism, gay/lesbian/bisexual rights, eating disorders and the internet. These can also be topics for workshops in your convention if you decide to hold one. You can put out a chapter zine and distribute it through your area and let people know what your chapter is all about. You can print up pamphlets on rape statistics, eating disorders, etc. and give them out. You can volunteer in women’s shelters (providing that you are the proper age, it all depends on the shelter). Some other ideas would be to write in bathroom walls (if you’ve seen Girls Town, this is just like that), girl-positive messages and lists of rapists in your area. You can place flyers in fashion magazines and diet products like “Is this how you measure your self-esteem?” See below for a list of things you can put in them. You can have spoken word nights where people just get up and read stuff they have written, and you can even record it and sell it. If you notice some people are more talkative than others, you may want to hand out cards (5 per person?) and everytime someone speaks they have to give up a card. That way everyone has a chance to talk. Consider helping out other local organizations like the Anti-Racist Action and Food Not Bombs. It will help bring all the groups together.
There are endless things for chapters to do, all of which can help promote the idea of riot grrrl and do something good for the community.
Here are some things you can put inside fashion magazines and diet products:
“This product contains unrealistic images”
“This product is nothing more than an attempt to cash in on your fantasies”
“Diets deprive our bodies of healthy food and our minds of healthy thinking”
“FACT: Every year, the U.S. spends more money on trying to lose weight than we do preventing child abuse, where are YOUR priorities?”
“If diet pills really work, why are there so many overweight people?”
“Diets starve the body of healthy food and the mind of healthy thinking”
“The Diet Industry: Sex, Thighs, and Measuring Tape”
“Intelligence never goes out of fashion: BOYCOTT STARVATION IMAGERY”
You can put these in dressing rooms:
“these clothes are made to fit you, not the other way around”
“don’t weigh your self-esteem”
“don’t judge your personal worth on your dress size”