How Punk Influenced Third-Wave Feminism

How Punk Influenced Third-Wave Feminism

Punk Wave Feminism

Almost as soon as the Third Wave movement began, its punk extension, Riot Grrrl, came to fruition.

The origins of the movement, can be traced back to Olympia, Wash. in 1991 with the members of Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and other local all female and female-fronted bands taking to the stage with the event "Love Rock Revolution Girl Style Now," shortened to "Girls Night."

These women caused a stir in the early- to mid-1990s. What began as a movement in the indie-label punk community quickly became mainstream news following Joan Jett’s collaboration with Bikini Kill. The media went into a frenzy, associating the movement with any female-fronted band in the early 1990s. Any famous woman was bound to be asked the "feminist" question. Many women of the time rejected being associated with Riot Grrrl, including Courtney Love, who often appeared at the forefront of the movement to mainstream media. According to her, the Riot Grrrl movement did not embrace her as a feminist figure and said her feminism "came in a weird brand."

Central to the Riot Grrrl movement was the utilization of the zine. The word zine originates from the term magazine, and, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as, “a noncommercial often homemade or online publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter.” While the origination of the zine is hard to pinpoint, zine culture exploded during the 1970s and 1980s in the punk scene due to the popularity of DIY aesthetics.

In the realms of Third Wave Feminism, zines have been used to express opinions on numerous topics and are directed to politically charged females. In many ways, zines were the precursor to the Riot Grrrl movement, with prominent women such as Tobi Vail, creating zines before or in conjunction with starting a band. Riot Grrrl zines, such as Vail's Jigsaw gave light to many issues surrounding the Third Wave movement such as violence against women, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Zines were often filled with quotes from famous feminists but offered a personal side to the movement as well. Many women came forward to share stories of sexual violence within their pages. As a zine writer of the 1980s, Stephen Duncombe saw the Riot Grrrl movement and its use of zines as the “bringing together [of] the radical critique of patriarchy and desire for female community of past feminist movements, and the in-your-face, rebellious individualism of punk rock.”

While the bands that created the Riot Grrrl were, for the most part, disbanded by the end of the 1990s, the attitude of the movement continues today. On Jan. 24, 2011 Police Officer Michael Sanguinetti of Toronto, Canada, according to the BBC, stated at York University, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

Such a statement sparked backlash, his words were not only highly unacceptable but simply inaccurate. The aggressor should always be the one at fault for their own actions, not the victim. This incident inspired the Toronto SlutWalk which was co-founded by Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis. Both were enraged by the officer's comments and used their various skills in gender studies and social activism to rile up participants.

On April 3 that year, over 1,000 people took to the streets and participated in the world’s first SlutWalk, wearing anything from religious garb to pasties and thongs, many bearing resemblance to Kathleen Hanna who was known for scrawling derogatory words such as "slut" across her body for performances with Bikini Kill. The message of this movement was clear, to prove that no matter how a woman looks she deserves respect and the right to say no to sexual advances, much like the messages in Riot Grrrl zines. As these walks spread across the world, they proved that punk is more than a genre now, it's an attitude.

Cover Image Credit: bikinikill

Popular Right Now

I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit:

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.


This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

Related Content

Facebook Comments