The Sexist

Give Us Your Riot Grrrl Memories


Does the legacy of Riot Grrrl live on in your District of Columbia? Tell it to Sara Marcus and Cat Tyc, currently planning a video installation on riot grrrl called "Girls to the Front" to accompany Marcus' upcoming book of the same name. Marcus and Tyc are looking for people of all genders and ages whose lives have been changed by riot grrrl and "punk-rock feminism." "The point isn’t to wax nostalgic," they write. "It’s to acknowledge and celebrate the countless ways that the legacy of Riot Grrrl is still very much alive in all of our lives." Here's how to contribute a video to the project:

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. If you don’t have access to a real camera, you can shoot it on a cell phone or a laptop.* And short: 1–3 minutes is plenty.

In the video, tell us some or all of these four things:

1. Who are you?

2. Show us your life. (This means whatever’s important to you: art, work, family, home . . . anything.)

3. How did you first hear of Riot Grrrl (or punk feminism, or whatever)?

4. How has it shaped who you are today?

Camera tips:

Feel free to use different shots and angles for different questions. Make sure you’re well lit—natural light (like sitting by a window or outside) is always best—and make sure there’s minimal background noise. Have someone else hold the camera if possible, so you can just concentrate on telling your story.

*If you don’t have any way to shoot video, just send us a photo of yourself that portrays something important about you, and email us your answers to the questions. We’ll fit you in.

Technical stuff about how to send the video to us:

Don’t worry about editing the video before you send it to us, unless you really, really want to, because we’ll be editing it on our end.

Before sending, you need to export the file into a Quicktime file. In iMovie, you can do this from Share – Export using Quicktime. In Final Cut, you Export – Using Quicktime Conversion. A box will pop up and you should click options to adjust the codecs to these specs: H.264 video setting at 640x480 pixels. You can find where to adjust these settings in the same box that asks to name the file & where you want to save it to under Options.

If you don't have Final Cut or iMovie, you can also just record your testimonial on your web cam (using Photo Booth on a Mac, or your computer’s built-in camera software on a PC—look in the Programs list for something that looks like the name of a camera, for instance on my Dell it’s under “Dell Webcam”) and upload it directly.

After it’s done, please send to via YouSendIt ( which is a free and easy way to send files.

You can find this call online, and pass it around, by going to the book’s Facebook page:

  • Northwesterner

    I'll tell you my Riot Grrrl memory- the completely sexist and male-focused writers at the City Paper (And this includes women who worked there but were in love with Velocity Girl) refused to cover it and the first paper that wrote about it was the terrible CrackDC. The City Paper has NO legitimacy to talk about Riot Grrrl given their refusal to cover it that summer. This is a paper that gave Adam West and Esmirelda more coverage than Bikini Kill.

  • Amanda Hess

    Maybe because this is a newspaper about Washington D.C.?

  • Northwesterner

    Um, Amanda, are you a feminist or not? Your comment is HILARIOUS!

    Bikini Kill lived in Mt Pleasant in case you didn't know. Apparently you didn't know this.

  • Northwesterner

    wow. I'm stunned. You really don't know women's history. simply, wow.

  • Northwesterner

    Do you think some national movement is going to come out of a college town 90 minutes south of Seattle or going to come out of the Nation's Capital? wow. wow. [shaking head]

    You do know Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill is from Bethesda, MD, right? Please tell me you know this.

  • Amanda Hess

    What's Bethesda?

  • TJ

    Amanda, your snarkiness is a pleasure on this hot Friday afternoon...

    So does me not knowing who these people are make me the biggest non-feminist ever? That I have never heard of punk feminism until this article? Should I just cut my losses and join Palin's camp?

  • NewsCat

    I don't know if this is RiotGrrl but how women were treated during Woodstock '99 became a huge moment for me. I know I must have been a feminist before that, but that issue was what made me want to smash walls.

    In 1999 ROCKRGRL Magazine published on its cover a photo of a girl going topless at the concert and a hand is reaching out to grope her. I found it powerfully arresting (and angering) and never forgot it. When ROCKRGRL closed shop and started selling old editions I asked the publisher Carla DeSantis for a copy of that issue. It sits framed on my wall.

  • KJC

    "Do you think some national movement is going to come out of a college town 90 minutes south of Seattle or going to come out of the Nation’s Capital? wow. wow. [shaking head]"

    -What difference does the location make? Chapel Hill had quite the scene in the early to mid nineties and is in fact a college town.