February 3, 2010

Girl Power

me, with hair that is in between bleach and blue, brushing up on my knowledge of the 90's and feminism and cool people.

Girl Power is a book by Marisa Meltzer, co-author of How Sassy Changed My Life, that traces how bands like Bikini Kill led to female artists from Miley Cyrus to the Spice Girls to Avril Lavigne to Alanis Morisette (who Courtney Love is not so hot on, or was not so hot on as of nineteen-ninety-five:)
Despite the somewhat cheesy title -- which Marisa addresses, and after reading the foreward, you kind of realize it is the only phrase that works -- it's definitely not a sugar-coated version of the (r)evolution. It's a quick read, about 150 pages, but chock full of information as well as insight, divided up by the phases of (chapter names) Riot Grrrl, Angry Womyn, Girl Groups, Pop Tarts, Ladies First, and Girl Power. Doesn't it make sense when put in that order? It contains years of extremely well-organized and informative research -- do you know what the David and Goliath discount code they offered women to compensate for a sexist t-shirt slogan happened to be? Well let me tell you: GIRL POWER! How that came from Bikini Kill is explained in the book. And amongst all this wonderful information are wonderful stories of Marisa's own experiences with the Riot Grrrl movement, like living upstairs from Kathleen Hanna and frequently asking her if she had any sugar to lend. Despite her obvious love and sentiment towards the movement, she covers the downsides to it as well as the good and offers different opinions from different people (Marisa: I AM SO JEALOUS YOU INTERVIEWED AMY RAY.)

For me, personally? The book was seriously eye-opening. Despite my having not listened to a vast majority of the music mentioned in the book, I was frowny-sad-face upon reading about how Riot Grrrl faded and maybe shed a tear at the part where Sleater-Kinney broke up (during home ec. class, nonetheless.) I HAD NEVER EVEN LISTENED TO SLEATER-KINNEY.

Never before had I felt that feminism was something I could be so much a part of. It sounds like I'm talking about being part of the Riot Grrrl movement itself, but really, just the history of it, and the fact that it even existed, makes me very excited, and proud, to be a girl, and to be who I am.

Reading about how differently women in rock were treated in the early 90's was actually shocking to me, and I guess that speaks for how far it's come since. At the same time, reading about Liz Phair's lyrics and behavior also surprised me, as the songs I hear now that are so blatantly and graphicly about sex are sung by men, and women have to keep quiet (similar to the Edward Cullen underpants conundrum! Look at that! However, we were just talking about a very good book, and now we are talking about Twilight, so I must get back on topic.)

And perhaps you are saying, "But Tavi! You didn't know about this stuff, and I do! I know about all of these people! I was even there! I made zines and wrote on my belly and everything! In fact, I am actually Kathleen Hanna! I've already donated anecdotes from this time to museums! So this is old news for me, and I already know all of it!" I still recommend it because it links it all together, which was the writer's goal. And if you ARE Kathleen Hanna, I also recommend that you call me and be my best friend.

I'm not saying this because Marisa and I are currently in the midst of emailing about going shopping for clogs and having tea and her letting me borrow her baby barrettes the next time I visit New York, but because I really do think it's something everyone -- whether or not you were there, whether or not you identify yourself as a feminist, whether you're a boy or girl -- should read. It's something I'll remember maybe the way Marisa remembers her first issue of Sassy. The day after I finished, I proposed the idea of a feminists' club to our grade principal, and after writing up a formal proposal I hope it gets going.

ETA: This review on Bookslut pretty much sums up my feelings, only it sounds smartyer than me and all that.


laia. said...

fuck yes tavs.

aandhblog said...

ROCK ON, I say! ROCK ON!! *dons plaid shirt and headbangs to 90s girl rock*

50two said...


Initials.CC said...

Waaaaa ! Ça te va superbement bien ! Trop jolie :) i'm fallait oser ;)



Maddie said...


Trey Taylor said...

how quixotic

Aria said...

from one riot grrl-loving feminist to another, i cannot fucking TELL YOU how happy this post makes me feel.

Petya K. Grady said...

I am so excited for you for discovering feminism. It's such a powerful tool to have at your disposal... to critique not just music, but art, fashion, life... Do some google-searching on "the politics of fashion", you will find a lot of feminist-inspired commentary on fashion and style (not just the usual booo, models are too skinny kind of thing). My favorite intellectual fashion blog is http://threadbared.blogspot.com/ You'd love it! Let me know if you would like me to send you more references to books and blogs of that sort. I'm in the process of starting a feminist fashion blog... will see how that goes. :)

Flo(rence) said...

i recommend: http://jigsawunderground.blogspot.com/

by tobi vail.

Olivia said...

it took me 20 years and a college course to realize i was a feminist. this post makes me so happy because you're so young and YOU ALREADY GET IT. keep being inspired and keep being YOU. love.

reeder said...

go, Tavi, go!

wish i could be in your feminist club.

Michelle Detorie said...

It is so great to read a post like this; it makes me feel hopeful and happy, and it makes me excited to think of other young women and girls discovering feminism. Keep on keeping on. YOU ROCK.

Birthday Girl said...

girl power bebes!!!



ita darling. said...

I can't even describe what the early 90s were like. Running around walmart and putting stickers on products that said "this promotes violence towards women" and organizing take back the night events. and listening to sleater kinney (!) and tilt and team dresch and bikini kill and excuse 17 (precursor to sleater kinney) and slant six and addicted and so many other bands!

OH my dear Tavi Mc Taverson! I am loving that you are learning about this era and loving it as I loved it, and still do! It was joyous and mind opening and great, and now i am waxing nostalgic and remembering it all!

From my high heeled sneakers and vintage bell bottomed levis and baby barrettes and polyester shirts and baby doll dress *don't mock!*

you warm ye ol' cockles of my heart by your own waxings of this era. Long live the breeders and my ex boyfriend who banged Kim Diehl and long live the Liz Phair lyrics that take me back to being on the tokyo subway when I was 18- and long live singing with my sister and harmonizing on indigo girls lyrics when we were 16 and long live the feeling I got when I was idealistic and not in my 30s...

i am still somewhat reconciling the girl i once was with the woman i now am who was once in her college chapter of NOW, once in the peace corps, and now lives for prada and the next season of junya watanabe.

I read your blog to live in your moments.

honestly it feels weird sometimes watching your blog, but also very gratifying.

somewhat creepily and with thanks,

emma said...

sleater-kinney's The Woods changed my life. the album isn't one of my favorites now, but it just sort of opened the floodgate of s-k and riot grrrl and feminism and punk rock.

also i want to point out that yes, we've come a long way from the incredible sexism of the nineties, and women are very powerful in the popular music world (though not without the aid of a good dose of some kind of sex appeal) but the indie community is still rather sexist, but in the way that seems to think it is above sexism. female bands are still talked about in terms of their looks and still seen as a novelty (which, yes, they are, because there are far fewer female bands than male bands), but because in that world everyone is a freak, everyone is the high school outcast, something as dated and un-progressive as the issue of sexism isn't addressed.

so i think we can still call for revolution girl style now.

thanks for the book review, it has been on my reading list for a while.

The Puritan Impulse said...

I'm SO HAPPY (I could die?) obligatory Gaga ref. But, no seriously, there needs to be more feminists. Thanks for the book rec. I'm 22 and in a mostly girl fashion design program and only 2% of my class identified as feminists. There's something wrong with that picture. I think our generation (and younger) have been taught feminism is a dirty word. It's not! It's so nice to be reaffirmed that feminism is still relevant!

S. said...

It's quite insightful i must say, i read a little bit of it at my cousin's and unfortunately, i stopped there.

It touches almost all of the issues our gender used to face in the past, but somehow i know that it's still happening in some other parts of the world. It's sad how so many have given up. we need more of that fighting spirit we once held so fiercely, and passionately.

Great post tavi!



maedchenhaus said...

the first one is great!!!

LORRAINE. said...

Girl power!! ;*

Diane said...

Pardon me while I say:


Amelia Anne Flores Ireland said...

I can only repeat what so many have already said, yes! I've never left a comment but was compelled today. This seems to be a discovery that just might shape who you are and who you will become...and, you are and were already on such a path of awesomeness that I can only imagine what this kind of inspiration will lead to. I am so glad she wrote this book, if only for women like you to discover it. Welcome, and hoorah!

Princesssabina said...

By your description the book sounds good..I'll try to find it or at least borrow it from the library...I'm not a feminist but I like to hear about important roles woman had in the past.

Stitch Sista said...

Big love for Sleater-Kinney. For some current girl power go have a listen to Spinnerette.

Diane said...

Hy, thanks so much for this review. Sound great.

I actually did a post earlier today on my blog about the 90s. Check it out if you want and give us your opinion!

Have a fun day


lorax said...

90s girl rock and unabrasive feminism? I'm down.


Tegan said...

"I had never"
I think you should spend some more time in the classroom and less time at the shows. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

at 4minutes and 30seconds a shot is made at you

Tegan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michele said...

Awesome! I'll certainly try and find this book, as I have been looking for something good to read for a while now.

Diana said...

Great post Tavi. Those bands totally helped launch my own feminism. I'd love to read the book. I hope your club gets off the ground.


Helen said...

It is so great to read a post like this; it makes me feel hopeful and happy, and it makes me excited to think of other young women and girls discovering feminism. Keep on keeping on. YOU ROCK.

Helen Neely

Susan said...

Haha, excellent. (Wow, Courtney Love was, and perhaps still is, sort of semi-literate.) I was too OLD for Riot Grrrl -- I was more about Patti Smith circa 1975 -- but I did like the first Le Tigre record. Sorry I never saw a Bikini Kill show. Good luck with the feminist club. <3.

www.pantsandtea.com said...

AMAAAAAAAZING! Love the post. I'll have to track down the book. Reading through so many supportive comments has made me too too happy. Feminism is cool and we all know it. I love that you are sharing it in a positve way and that it can, as it should, be fused with your love of style and design. Keep us updated on your feminist club. Big love. X

Emily said...

it sounds so so cool. i'm definitely going to check it out. good luck with your feminist club!!


kier said...

this post makes me so happy!

-a boy feminist

mila said...

I wanna read it! Can I be best friends with Kathleen Hanna too? Love her.

follow me?:)

Break said...

i can't wait to read it :)

O Whit said...

Tavi! I Loved, loved, loved this post.

I am mmm waaay older then you, and my eyes were just opened to the entire movement.

Now I blog about it, check it out.

Love your stuff! Keep it up

BetseyJ said...

Congratulations on your new love affair with feminism and the riot grrrl movement. It was/is something that changed my life upon discovery. There are so many amazing books and documentaries about the movements that are out there. So, I hope you get a chance to really immerse yourself in the movement. Kathleen Hanna is absolutely amazing and I'll never forget the first time I met her. I think I almost fainted. haha.

It's so amazing that you're also taking action within you school as well. I was just discussing with a friend about teenagers today and who they have as female icons. Do girls know about Kathleen Hanna, Alison Wolfe, or Erin Smith.

This week I've actually been re-watching "Don't Need You: The Herstory of Riot Girl"

It's a beautiful thing to discover and you're very lucky to have found it at such a perfect age. It's about the same time as I did.

I hope to hear more from you about you feminism club. Also, in the book Manifesta they talk about how they had these "dinner parties" that were like a feminist club that they couldn't have in school. So in case your principal doesn't go for it, you could always have some sort of after school club just to get discussion going and awareness.

ok this was very long. I'm just very excited for you, and this really brightened my morning and started my day amazing.

Betsey Jennifer

mariska said...

wow,thx for share,,
it sounds really cool..
gotta get it!



silence sweetheart said...

Ah thanks for the heads up, I got huge into Sleater-Kinney and other riot grrrl bands a few years back - but this book seems really awesome for interweaving the connections between it all - wish-listed!

Isabel said...

I just got mine in the mail today and it sounds nothing short of excellent! Can't wait to read it.


I can't wait to see your new hair style! "I don't know much about love, but my hair loooks fieerce!"

kr said...

I, too am finally leaving you a comment. I love your blog, writing, clothes and passion.

I love this : And perhaps you are saying, "But Tavi! You didn't know about this stuff, and I do! I know about all of these people! I was even there! I made zines and wrote on my belly and everything!

Yay! I did this shit. I loved Kathleen Hanna & Bratmobile in high school in the 90s! Keep the dream alive Tavi! I happened to just met Kathleen Hanna for the first time last week. Kathleen wrote the foreward to a book about Joan Jett I'm working on. (I design books) Rock N Roll!

kr said...

I, too am finally leaving you a comment. I love your blog, writing, clothes and passion.

I love this : And perhaps you are saying, "But Tavi! You didn't know about this stuff, and I do! I know about all of these people! I was even there! I made zines and wrote on my belly and everything!

Yay! I did this shit. I loved Kathleen Hanna & Bratmobile in high school in the 90s! Keep the dream alive Tavi! I happened to just met Kathleen Hanna for the first time last week. Kathleen wrote the foreward to a book about Joan Jett I'm working on. (I design books) Rock N Roll!

Florence, England. said...

This has made me really want to read this book. And I'm strictly a novel kinda gal. Kudos Tavi


Li Xiaoli said...

feels like a good book

glad that it democratized feminism / made it more accessible for you. that's what its all about.

Dixneuf said...

congrats! I started a feminist club in high school - it coincided with everything that goes on in this book (which I have not read). I say do it! I'd warn you that you'll be given a hard time but I think you're past that point already. Just remember the sad fact that people will be AFRAID to join.

But I am forever amazed at how fast things changed. When I was in high school in the 90s kids never came out of the closet, ever. Now there is a LBGT club! Awesome.


Catherine said...

Yes all true.

also, you have promise as a writer :D

Melba Toast said...

You must read Cunt by Inga Muscio.

BetseyJ said...

Also you might want to check out Amelia Bloomer's 2010 Project Book List.

Michel said...

Help to fight hungry around the world, please see this video:


And sorry if i disturb, but its important to help the world


Jacqueline said...


lori said...

Tavi- always remember that girls have so much strength and power naturally. It's just mastering the power and chaneling it in the right direction. You have realized your potential and are doing exactly that. You have a brite future and have inspired my 2 daughters to pursue their individuality in fashion.

Wishing you much success,


empressmess said...

I have an actual Hole baby barrette. It sparkles & says Hole on it. In fact, I have 2 ..

WendyB said...

I am actually Kathleen Hanna! Or Spartacus. I forget.

pumpkinhaus said...

This is so awesome Tavi!! Ha ha!! I am geeking out on the comments as much as the blog post!!! I so badly want to send you a mix tape... on a taped over cassette... with all the info blacked out in sharpie... and a rad xerox cut-and-paste-used my typewriter-to-type-song-titles-and-lyics!!!

dani ~ I lived in a Betsey Johnson pink mini and baby tee with combat boots... <3 ( saved them for my girl)

Freaky Fancy said...

Soo Cool!!

slanderous said...

This is incredibly heartening, as someone who was "in the scene" in the early 1990s when riot grrrl interrupted punk and popular cultures, and as someone who teaches gender and women's studies at university. (So much so that it inspired me to comment for the first time! And, by the way, I co-write a feminist politics of fashion blog called Threadbared that is probably too theory-heavy for anyone new to it, but you might find some new punk rock lady style icons if you do visit!) You might be interested in exploring further all the amazing punk rock feminisms that came before and after riot grrrl, too -- fierce and incredibly creative with their aesthetics and politics.

Also, Kathleen Hanna has had you on her blog roll for almost the entire time she's had one, FYI. :)

tetra said...

i'm reading the french vogue . wow, you impressed me ;)

[my english is .. ghastly ]

tetra said...

i'm reading the french vogue . wow, you impressed me ;)

[my english is .. ghastly ]

moll said...

I'm 23, and grew up stealing my sister's Sassy mags and Hole CDs. They really influenced me during my formative years, and even now as a feminist law student. I think in many ways it's harder for girls today than it was even a decade ago when I was your age, and I'm so happy there are books like this and girls like you to bring feminism to a new group of teens. Good luck on the club!

MAGA said...

how cute you are !

Veronica said...

Sleater-Kinney. Oh yes, you should listen to their music!

You might enjoy Jessica Valenti's 3rd wave feminism book "Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters". You can find it for free on Google books, or via Amazon.

Great post!

Hanna said...

If you think the Riot Grrrl movement is interesting, you should delve even farther into the past as well.Pretty In Punk by Lauraine Leblanc is a great look at women in a largely male subculture. Also, I would recommend all of Jessica Valenti's books for a look at very modern feminism as well as feministing.com.

miakodo said...

I agree with Olivia above: AWESOME that *all the crap* I had to go through as a young woman before I discovered feminism can be shortened in this next... next generation. :) Good to know it's not for nothing. Good for you!

Tavi said...

Thank you guys so much for all the book, music, and blog recommendations. And especially for sharing your experiences and stories that warmed my heart! (I never use that expression!)

emma-Oh, definitely a long way to go. And did you see this?
It's like, WE'RE NOT SHALLOW BECAUSE WE LIKE GIRLS THAT DON'T SING POP MUSIC! But it's like what you said, that doesn't compensate for the way they're still crediting these women for their looks more than their talent.

Tegan-"I had never"...I hadn't, and it's unfair to decide that it's because I missed a few days of school to go to Fashion Week. None of my teachers have ever touched base on feminism. When we watched Rear Window in class, and Lonelyhearts' date tries to force her onto the couch against her will, half the guys in our grade whooped and cheered. And the teachers didn't say a thing.
Not to mention that you don't know what my teachers think about my missing school, or how my grades look.
(This goes for pretty much all the YOU SHOULD BE IN SCHOOL! comments, not just Tegan's, of course.)
Anyways, thank you for that link..I had no clue! Crazy!

BetseyJ-YOU MET HER?! Girl..

kr-YOU MET HER AS WELL? Is everyone just meeting Kathleen Hanna and talking about how they'll rub it in my face? Anyway that's awesome that you're designing that book!

slanderous-I HAD NO CLUE! OH MY GOD! hyperventilation THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME KNOW!

graciela. said...

I think every girl and woman, has one of these realizations in their lives. Where they see the world differently and how it relates to being female. You're growing up, like a lot of us have, or may still be growing up even. We open our eyes whenever we do.

For you, it's riot grrrl. But we've all got a movement, an idea, a scene we wish we could've been a part of but it's not our fault about when we were born. Would've loved to be part of the 1st wave or the 2nd wave of feminism but I got exposure to the movement you're talking about here. Your generation will cultivate its own movement that is relevant to your experiences and the cultural specifics of your generation (like, sexting wasn't around when I was a kid). That'll have nothing to do with me and mine. You'll pave your own way. :-)

Verhext said...

So, in 1988, Sassy sent out trial subscriptions to a group of girls. I have no idea how they got our addresses, but everyone I've met since who was in this trial is awesome. Anyway, I was 12, and it was a lifesaver (no internet! no knowing in the tiny town where I lived that there were others out there!)

In 1994, I saw Bikini Kill and Team Dresch at a punk house in Philly - another life changing experience.

It's been strange to grow up with that, and then see all these now blogs and teenage girls who don't seem to care, or have the same camaraderie or passion that we did - it's sooooo refreshing and amazing to read something like this and to know that SOMEONE is keeping it going.


makemoremistakes said...

Fuck yes Tavi!! What you mentioned about how men can sing blatantly about sex made me think about Lady Gaga, and why I love her so much (aside from her wackiness in general)- her lyrics are so in your face. She sings so blatantly and refreshingly about sex, and money, and fame, and I love her for that.

Awesome post!

kmhersoninireland said...

This feminist was feeling a bit depressed about the state of the world today, but this post and the clear enthusiasm running through it make me feel infinitely better. Thank you.

kmhersoninireland said...

This feminist was feeling a bit depressed about the state of the world today, but this post and the clear enthusiasm running through it make me feel infinitely better. Thank you.

Jem said...

I admire you for creating a feminist club at your school, not everyones going to like it, but don't listen to the haters. I think its a great idea, its important to carry on the feminist tradition!

K.M. said...

i read this book recently too! gotta love riot grrrl. and well done for the feminists' club proposal, people dont talk about this stuff nearly enough anymore.

(always)alanna said...

sad you're changing your hair, happy you shared this, and inclined to go buy it.
well said tavi

Natacha said...

Hello Tavi, I saw a picture of yourself in the French press (Dior haute couture). Many of fashion magazine have talked about your presence and your node. Good idea (bonne idée)

JulienMonster said...

haha, i love the photo of you on top of this post :D

Shiloh Sukkau said...

Recently allot of Universities have been changing their Feminist programs because of lack of student enrollment and interest in the subject matter. It would be great if people could get back into it and make it relevant again because it is.

stephanie said...

Tavi, as a 34 year old, I came of age in that time period. It's fun to see you discovering this stuff freshly.

You will discover :
Feminism became a dirty word that women did not want to be associated with (somehow it became aligned with the image of shaved headed butch lesbian-types who hate men - not that there's anything wrong with those types, but as people mentioned it was a different time of acceptibility)

You should listen to :
(3) JANE JENSEN's album Comic Book Whore


Melanie Wagner said...

tavi. you've made my day.

anyone who embraces feminism after realizing it isn't quite the stigma it is made out to be experiences something great :)

Melanie Wagner said...

tavi. you've made my day.

anyone who embraces feminism after realizing it isn't quite the stigma it is made out to be experiences something great :)

Sarah (Buzz) said...

love the photo.


Anna said...

I just so must tell you how happy this made me. Just happy. To remember that feeling-- that exact feeling!-- when I was, well, about your age. I feel so inspired. Old, but inspired!

Kionon said...

You know, honestly, the 90s were pretty much a blur for me. I remember the 80s, and I remember the decade from hell, but I was your age during the 90s, in fact, pretty much all of my education was during the 90s 1988-2001.

Unlike you, I didn't really have an outlet for my various musings. I turned to writing fiction (bad fiction) and showed it to only a few people.

All in all, I think I kind of ignored the 90s in general. I miss the 80s. I don't miss the 2000s. Not one tiny bit.

I'll look into getting a copy of the book. It might fill in the gaps in my memory.

Music wise, if I may make a suggestion: Le Tigre. I was wild about them, and I still like them very much.

madeleine said...

i never really thought that i would get involved with feminism myself but it's wierd after reading books like girl power you realize this is a BIG issue. and yeah, older people are like "this is old news" but they have to inderstand that a whole new generation of girl power is being born and we need to do our homework and read up on our facts so we are prepared for later life.
paris?! LUCKY i'm going to europe this summer for the first time eva that should be fun. wishes from the states! smooches

Shannon said...

where to even start. we would've been bffxinfinty in HS girl. if, you know, things were like that.
but yes!

1. YES pj harvey
2. YES YES YES kathleen hanna <3
3. YES courtney love
4. YES contradictions
5. kim gordan <3 YESH

1. julie ruin
2. rid of me - pj
3. the red aunts
4. babes in toyland

I am Khatu said...

When you say "GIRL POWER" it makes me think of the Spice Girls...

Becky said...

Yay, Tavi!

Sophia said...

Oh my god, you should go to Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls!!! It sounds perfect for you! It is exactly like this, you have a zine making class, and you start a band in a week. It is AWESOME!!!!!!!! You would love it. Haha, you should really look it up. Williemaerockcamp.org

Sophia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
emma said...


I'm just trying to navigate eighth grade for now and do my fashion at the SAIC.
Check out blog:

Kerensa said...

I love that you are going to start a feminist club. Feminism, I truly believe, is a life changing thing to be involved in. Also, you should start listening to Bikini Kill/Le Tigre a whole bunch. Seal Press has a series of Feminism and ... books out. Feminism and Pop Culture by Andi Zeisler is really great. Someone else also commented that you should read some of Jessica Valenti's book and you should! and read Feministing.com as well.
There is not that much in the way of feminism/fashion, but it seems like there is more coming out. Check out the book Fresh Lipstick by Linda M. Scott which looks at feminism's history with fashion. I think you would enjoy it.

Tavi said...

I am Khatu-That's kind of the point! But the book explains how the phrase is suiting for summing up the revolution as a whole.

goldminetrashvintage said...

Another great book on the Riot Grrrl movement is Revolution Girl Style Now, which came out a few years ago >


A great read as well!

And yes, I was one of the people 'who was there', as I was around your age and living in Portland (and then Seattle) throughout the 90s.

Babes In Toyland's 'Fontanelle' album was THEE record that changed my life. It was the first time I'd heard women expressing such blatant rage, and it was very empowering to me! I haven't looked back since.

I've always been in that L7 camp of not labeling myself a feminist though, just a humanist who believes in fair treatment of all people regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, etc. As much as I believe in continuing the advancement of women, the *femi-nazi* extremes make me shy away from the label.

For example, a downside to the riot grrrl scene was the blatant misandry. There was a big group of grrrls who cruised around in an old car w/ RIOT GRRRL painted on the side. They'd cruise Broadway (a main hangout in Seattle) and look for random men to jump. Sorry, but I can't justify violence on random strangers like that! Reverse sexism doesn't advance anything.

Additionally, while the riot grrrl movement preached a female solidarity philosophy, a lot of so-called riot grrrls were quick to judge anyone who bore ANY resemblance to commercial/traditional beauty standards. I'm 5'9" and was (naturally) stick thin back then, and would get heckled and glared at at riot grrrl shows. How was that any different from being told by men to lose weight? On an emotional level it's the same.

REGARDLESS, I'm still glad riot grrl existed, as it was great to see so many SELF MADE bands that were't trying to be sexy. These women were about being HEARD, not SEEN.

The decade we just exited was one of the worst for women, imo! I feel bad for girls who came of age then; their main role models were celebrities leeking sex tapes, camgirl myspace whores, Suicide Girls (a once good idea gone horribly wrong), and Girls Gone Wild. Aka bimbos!

I'm glad young girls like yourself are discovering the 90s, as there were much better female 'icons' then! And I hope you'll take your cues from them instead of the bimbos.


I've been on a 90s nostalgic kick and have been meaning to do a big blog post on it. I should scan in some old magazines and post mp3's for ya.


messy said...

sleater-kinney, bikini kill, team dresch, etc got me through my teenage years -- and it sure wasn't the 90s then so i missed the boat too.

if you don't already, listen to the organ-- canadian all-girl band from the 00s who produced one self-titled album. its delish. *hint* one of the instruments they play is an organ.

Liz said...

Feminism is awesome, but unfortunately people are afraid of the word because they think being a feminists means they have to be hairy and hate men (some do, but not all). A lot of women and girls hold feminist beliefs and ARE feminists without really knowing it.

FEMINISM AND POP CULTURE by Andi Zeisler (who helped found Bitch magazine--a great mag) is a great overview of the past century of feminism in pop culture. Pretty quick read and REALLY interesting.

If you want to learn more about feminism, my blog http://our-turn-feminism.blogspot.com/
is aimed at educating girls on how feminism relates to their lives. In a fun way!

Fabi Talavera said...

tavii, i love you you are so crazy
I wish I could dye my hair, but they wont let me, even do im 14


HAL said...

I saw Sleater-Kinney live about 7 years ago. They're definitely in my top 5 best bands I've seen live. They're amazing. Try "One Beat" for your first Sleater-Kinney album.


Audrey said...

ZAPP (Zine Archive and Publishing Project) in Seattle has Riot Grrl zines including Bikini Kill, Jigsaw, Grrrl Trouble, and original issues of Bust and Bitch. If you're ever in town, come by and experience the 90s zeitgeist! ZAPP also has tons of other zines and comics about pretty much everything...very cool.


zoomslow said...

The Edward Cullen Underpants Conundrum = !!!! :-)))

origami said...

I completely agree with Messy - If you haven't already done so you should check out The Organ. My all time favorite song has to be Brother.

SisterMash said...

Thank you for blooging about this -you have such a wide readership, it is great that more young girls will realise that feminisim is relivant to them - even more now than ever. My sister and I have been blogging about this co-incedentally with reference to Spice Girls in 90's, and womens rights at sistermash.blogspot.com earlier this week. AND British Vogue this month has an article about Women in Power and dressing stylishly being taken seriously. Equality issues are all around us.

Emily said...

The best thing about not having listening to those bands before is that you get to listen to them all for the first time.

A short while ago the New Yorker wrote about how the Riot Grrrl Manifesto is going into NYU's library: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2010/01/quiet-riot.html
The Bikini Kill zines really affected me, and they still get me het up when I read them

style baro said...

Hello Tavi!!!!!!!!!!!
I love your blue hair!

taminoa1 said...

I love your blog, been lurking for a while. Non-creep. This post is exceptional!

jonnytrrrash7 said...

it's all about Bikini Kill!

quartzneptune said...

Feminism + fashion is the next wave, and you reflect it in a way that is kind of magic. When women embrace fashion as an aspect of vital, personal and creative self-expression and not as "something you buy", that is feminist fashion.

Elizabeth said...

J'adore all the pictures of you on the stairs. Skirt is great, Proenza is magnificent : )

cookies&andthecity said...

Hi ! :)
I don't understand that thing about twilight .. Was that a good thing or not. I'm sorry but my English is not so good .. xx

Ivy | Vero said...


OMG - can I send you shoes????

Ivy | Dolce Vita

danniekate said...

in english, we've been reading a tonne of feminist literature, and my class all hated it at first; it seemed ANGRY, not constructive. and i guess that's true, but it's still so difficult for women to succeed without being pigeonholed into roles and stuff. i think there are still double standards; a guy is a player but a girl's just a slut. i think women are wildly misrepresented in politics; sarah palin, margaret thatcher...
we should be grateful for the pioneers of SENSE =]

Ingunn said...

I love cool people too...
(You're pretty cool yourself!)
Your blog = awesome!


Judith said...

I just finished my essay about feminism today. People nowadays see feminism as something scary and weird. I don't know why actually.


anna said...

Hey Tavi! So I have a ridiculously funny story to tell you.... Last spring my friends skipped prom and went to spend the weekend in Chicago. I was going to go with them, but at the last second this socially awkward boy (whom I had never spoken to and had a major crush on me) asked me to prom (he had his mom ask my mom because he was too scared to ask me..yeah it was a mess). Anyways..I didn't go to Chicago! So my friends had this WONDERFUL idea of making me feel even worse than I already did and decided to make up a story and tell me that they had met someone famous in the fashion industry. After brainstorming models, celebrities, designers..they finally thought, "TAVI!" So they came back and told me an elaborate tale of how they saw you in at H&M on Michigan Ave (I should have known you wouldn't have been there as you live in the Suburbs), they started singing your "H&M Rei Kawakubo" rap, said hi and you just smiled and sort of walked away.>(That small detail being your reaction was always foggy). So, naturally, I freaked out! Over the past few months as you have quickly risen from anonymity into a fashion icon, I have mentioned you and your accomplishments and said things like, "You guys are so lucky you saw her! Tell me the story again!" With the exception of one girl, they aren't into fashion at all so they didn't show any genuine interest.
The other day I started talking about how you died your hair blue and how you have been the target of some petty controversy. I wouldn't shut up about you and your creativity and writing skills (I don't stalk you-I swear!) and then they broke the news to me..."Anna we never actually saw Tavi..we just made the whole thing up" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ummmm... well..at first I was shocked but then I laughed because I was played like a fool for almost a whole year!!

Well then! Now that I released my inner creeper for the day! Hopefully you aren't eternally frightened/ got a good laugh out of it!!


içimden geldiği gibi ~~~ said...

very nice:)

christie ! said...

YAY! The feminist book I read that made me realize how AWESOME feminism is was Feminism is For Everyone. (wow, how many times can I say that word in one sentence?)

But seriously, I'm so excited that you are actually interested in this stuff in grade-school because I didn't figure it out until college! Sexism and racism still exist and young people need to know this!

Chloe said...

Riot Grrrl ZINES are my favorite form of the drug..love em

(Especially the Hannah Neurotica/Jolie Noggles split zine..amazin' dose of RG.)

Kelsey said...

your skin is so clear. how do you do it?

Kelsey said...

check out my blog ill put posts up later. haha

meredith said...

I just found your blog and I have to say- You rock my face off!! Awesome! : )

Domino said...

Your so right.
I have always wanted to read that book, i probably should. thats one thing you and I have in common procrastination ( or maybe thats not the right word. ha).

Thanks for the inspiration,


prashant said...

I don't understand that thing about twilight

fashion articles

Katrin said...

Ahh I want to read it!


Katrin said...

Ahh I want to read it!


Kelsey said...


Stephanie said...

So I didn't grow up with riot grrl music in the 90s...I'm too young for all that. I actually got my introduction to this music from the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, haha! I loved the movie and its soundtrack. There are lots of riot grrl gems in there, so if you want an awesome intro like that, I suggest you watch and listen :)

Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose said...

sleater-kinney is so fabulous. highly suggest listening to them and starting with "one beat." they're amazing.

nonewclothesforoneyear said...


Tavi, you really need to read "It's So You" edited by Michelle Tea, about gender, fashion and feminism. The title sucks too, but the book is pretty awesome and it ties together ideologies and how fashion may express them.

cheers! (And for real, you MUST read this book.)

Katie said...

thanks for sharing yr discovery! i just ordered myself a copy! anything for those riot grrrls.

Kitty said...

They had that amazing kinderwhore look down, babydoll dresses with a helping of hard, amazing!

Gillian said...

u should check out two books on zines from the time: A Girls Guide To Taking Over The World and The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order. Also the Tiger Beatdown blog, which reminds me of your writing style. :)

Fashionista in Training said...

you are so incredibly pretty in that polaroid. eyeliner is definately for you xx

Festy said...

wooow, your outfit is amazing!!! I love it!

Matilda said...

I adore the red dress #2 down. I can't wait for the summer wardrobe to take presidence. However, Britain doesn't see a summer- the eternal autumn has seen its make or break with snow, all very epic, but no sun. RIGHT, I am going to ferme ma bouche right about here.

Love it Tavi!

Matty xxxxxx

cookies&andthecity said...

hi guys
Aigain: I really don't understand that twilight thing
And I'd like to understand !!
Can somebody help me please??
And Tavi , I found your blog very good !! Bravo xx

Stellanova said...

As a 34-year-old journalist who was a teenage riot grrrl and Sassy fan, this post made me really happy. It thrills me to see young women really getting into feminism and excellent bands for the first time. Hooray for you, and good luck with the feminism club!

bryonyb said...

never commented before butttttt this is exactly what should have happened next in your story; amazing. s'only gonna help serve as sharp tools to easily discredit the naysayers.

its great that you are totally chill about recognising when things are new discoveries for you, even though you appear to have 'got it' more than most - reading back on my age-15 livejournal from 1999, it is sadly less, how can i say, deftly graceful about the bombardment of new ideas/music when speaking to people who love to think they know more. the essence/impact of riotgrrl is immediate and infinite if you'll let, you've got it nailed, lady.

i REALLY want to send you a mixtape of current feminist/lady bands from the uk and all over but i guess having your address out there might be a bit dangerous which is why i cant see it! i run a 7" punk label in the uk, let me know if theres a way i could get some records and a tape posted to you?

love from london, uk xo

newspapersky said...

Thanks for the book suggestion! I have to pick it up. Riot Girrl bands like Bikini Kill, Veruca Salt, and Sleater Kinney are the reason I started playing music. In the music conservatory where I go to school there are tons of fabulous talented women, but I feel like they stereotype themselves and stick with their acoustic guitars and pianos. I was never like that! I wish more women would fall in love with this stuff, because in the music industry there is still incredible sexism if you are someone not going for that sexy popstar image.

metalwhite said...

oh i am so buying that book now :)

gg said...




Brandy said...

I would recommend you read 'Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now'.

mariam said...

haha i read how sassy changed my life. so good you should check it out. http://littlevoguette.blogspot.com/
i just startedd

frl.zucker said...

hi tavi, that book RULES. i saw you featured on kathleen hanna's blog and just needed to tell you that the world needs more girls like you! YOU GO GRL!! best, maren

Paloma Ramone said...

Kathleen Hanna actually wrote some nice things about you on her blog.

gemiwing said...

What an amazing post.

You haven't missed Riot Girl- you're doing it right now. That feeling of the world expanding, realizing your power and learning how to stand strong- that's what Riot Girl is all about.

You may never get to see the bands at a show- but tons of us never did. Especially those of us who weren't in the North West or a major city.

So when you sit in your room and dance around your personal flotsam and jetsam while singing at the top of your lungs- you're doing exactly what we did. It's all connected.

Stay strong, stay true and turn up the volume.

pamcakes said...

I'm thrilled to see that women your age are open to the idea that feminism still matters and is useful. I wish you much luck in starting your club. Many of the books and zines recommended above are absolutely amazing. There are so many great third-wave writings out there and I look forward to seeing what comes out of newer wave writers. If no one else mentioned Sister Spit: The Next Generation, I'd look into trying to see them when they're on tour. So inspiring, especially for someone with writing aspirations. Michelle Tea's autobiographical writings are also amazing.

Like you're not already busy enough and with a to-read list I imagine is quite long, I highly recommend Kate Bornstein's My Gender Workbook (not just because it's really good, but because it is indeed fun to shock people sometimes and this should do it) and Feminism Is For Everybody by bell hooks.

Revolution Girl Style Now!

Kristi said...


Alyson said...

Ahhhh you are a breath of FRESH AIR.
People will tell you that you are in the wrong for being a feminist, but laugh in their face.

Yes, Feminism was relevant in the 90's, but we still need it now more than ever because people think its done its job.

Keep it up Tavs!

JLG said...

go tavi! you're definitely on the right track to having a great impact in the world.
it is true that as long as there is inequality in the world the movement should continue, you can only hope the word will be spread.
apathy is not a value which should appeal to anyone on this site i should think.
actually, since i am being recognised for my political "ability" at my school, of which i have not a whit, and always having felt feminist, maybe i should set one up at my already feminist high school as well. if anyone thinks it's weird i can always say it is to somehow promote it in other continents. i know plenty of girls who would join.

Sarah said...

You have to listen to Sleater-Kinney, you will melt. Seriously. Your knees will wobble and Corin and Carrie's voices will shake you to the core, and then you will melt. Best band ever. Thanks for the book recomendation!

Fatima-Zahra said...

Your blog is amazing ! you have a good taste and your future will be so funny :)


paulina said...

OK so my mind was exactly a mirror of this post when i was 15 (6 years ago, also too late to live out the glorious Riot Grrrl days) and Kathleen Hannah was my absolute hero.

You should read She's a Rebel: the history of women in rock & roll
By Gillian G. Gaar

(just in case you aren't already overloaded with suggestions. it is basically the book you read but longer.)

lol said...

坐月子餐 ,到府坐月子 ,產後護理 ,新生兒 ,孕婦 ,月子餐 ,更年期 ,玻尿酸 ,婦產科 ,醫學美容 ,月子中心 ,坐月子中心 ,美白 ,飛梭雷射 ,水餃 ,台北素食餐廳 ,吃素 ,素食 ,素食水餃 ,素食餐廳 ,健康飲食 ,團購美食 ,包裝設計 ,伴手禮盒 ,紀念品 ,茶葉 ,禮品 ,茶葉禮盒 ,雷射雕刻 ,伴手禮 ,禮品公司 ,贈品 ,玫瑰花束,花店,盆栽

lol said...

氣球佈置,婚禮佈置,情人花束,新竹花店,會場佈置,網路花店,蘭花,木柵動物園,台北民宿,台北旅遊,坪林,坪林茶葉博物館,宜蘭民宿,真情民宿,深坑老街,貓空,太平山,宜蘭民宿,宜蘭旅遊,水餃 ,團購美食 ,水管不通 ,抽化糞池 ,洗水塔 ,消毒 ,馬桶 ,馬桶不通 ,通水管 ,通馬桶 ,上順旅行社,大興旅行社,五福旅行社,天喜旅行社,天福旅行社,日本自由行

lol said...

日本訂房,日本機票,CI設計 ,FPR大型公仔製作 ,大圖輸出 ,空間設計 ,活動行銷 ,展場設計施工 ,會場佈置 ,節慶佈置 ,道具製作 ,櫥窗佈置 ,水管不通 ,包通 ,抽化糞池 ,抽水肥 ,洗水塔 ,馬桶 ,馬桶不通,清水溝 ,通水管 ,通馬桶 ,二手車,中古車,抽水肥 ,通水管 ,通馬桶 ,肉毒桿菌 ,玻尿酸 ,美容美白 ,健檢 ,淨膚雷射 ,電波拉皮 ,韓風整形 ,醫學美容 ,體檢 ,加盟

lol said...

加盟創業 ,早餐店加盟 ,創業 ,創業加盟 ,禿頭 ,玻尿酸 ,美白 ,減肥 ,痘疤 ,雷射溶脂 ,電波拉皮 ,皺紋 ,醫學美容 ,104法拍網 ,大台北法拍屋 ,台北法拍屋 ,房屋仲介 ,房屋買賣 ,板橋法拍屋 ,法拍 ,法拍屋 ,法拍屋查詢系統 ,信義房屋 ,肉毒桿菌 ,抽脂 ,玻尿酸 ,飛梭雷射 ,淨膚雷射 ,植髮 ,微晶瓷 ,雷射溶脂 ,電波拉皮 ,醫學美容診所 ,truss,

lol said...

slot game machine ,slot machine cabinet ,slot machine manufacturer ,barcode reader ,barcode scanner ,barcode scanners ,handheld scanner ,laser scanner ,室內設計 ,裝潢 ,上海旅遊,韓國旅遊,北京旅遊,杭州旅遊,九寨溝旅遊,旅行社,旅遊網,廈門旅遊,團體旅遊,桂林旅遊 ,Disposable plastic cups ,Biodegradables ,Biodegradable plastic ,Plastic manufacturer ,PLA

lol said...

Plastic Cup ,polylactic acid ,ECO products ,Plastic Drinking Cups ,Disposable products ,室內設計 ,室內裝潢 ,桃園室內設計 ,室內裝潢設計 ,室內設計裝潢 ,裝潢 ,裝潢設計 ,室內空間設計 ,台北室內設計 ,舊屋翻新 ,水晶,結婚金飾 ,鑽石 ,鑽戒 ,GIA ,鑽石戒指 ,賓士,Bmw,sum,benz ,保時捷,法拉利,二胎 ,工商融資 ,支票貼現

desparapluies said...

That's funny you like this book. I'd just found your blog this evening and thought of how you would fit so well in riot grrl times, back then when people made paper zines.

desparapluies said...

PS, who is this "lol" character spamming your blog with chinese keywords?!

hunter mars bars said...

hello wow your blog is cool

La La Vasquez said...

Tavi! fear not, riot grrrl is not dead, not at all. check out these bands -
love your blog xx

bernd said...

what i like most about this entry on your blog, is that the discussion or better commenting about it still continues, and like me, so many grrrls love what you wrote
and love your blog.
i think you rock!!!

Miss Mauve said...

I can't wait to get this book! I love the way feminism can be incorporated into almost anything. Although some girl groups can get a little too "You Go Girl!" I still strongly believe girls KICK ASS! Check out Classy by Derek Blasberg... awesome book. XD

Blog da Leka said...

Adoro seu blog mesmo eu sendo do BRAZIL eu senpre estou dando uma olhada...
Você é muito boa(não sei se ai se usa esta expressão mais quer disser que sou tipo sua fâ)Te adoro!

Blog da Leka said...

Adoro seu blog mesmo eu sendo do BRAZIL eu senpre estou dando uma olhada...
Você é muito boa(não sei se ai se usa esta expressão mais quer disser que sou tipo sua fâ)Te adoro!

Luvz softball4 said...

TAVI!!! Hey this is Erin! The gal you sat next to at Doubt earlier this evening! Well, to be honest, I can't figure out how to put my thoughts into words right now... Hm. Okay. To start off, I was discreetly stalking your blog.....well, it's not discreet anymore because I just admitted it! Darn, my cover is blown. Anyway, your blog seems like common knowledge for everyone so I decided that I needed to check it out! And.... wow. Just, wow. Saying that I'm utterly amazed would be the highest form of an understatement. You began blogging when you were TWELVE?!??! And used a better vocabulary than I will ever use? And have been to so many different places? And have the SICKEST fashion sense in the WORLD?! By the way, I am in love with this piece up hurrrr that I'm commenting on the most out of a bunch that I've just been reading, even though they are all unfathomably incredible.It was very inspirational. As you may see from my whacked fashion sense, I like fashion but am definitely not a fanatic. Nonetheless, I find you blog neverending-ly interesting and entertaining. Gosh, you are FUNNAY!! You are a skilled photographer, also. Is there one thing that Tavi does not absolutely KILL at? It's difficult for me to believe how someone can be so awesome. Again, an understatement! You probably recieve praise more than often, judging from all of the comments on all of your pieces of writing. And I don't even know for sure that you'll read my comment. Probably won't. But that's alright! Just want my words to be out there so others can empathize with my feelings for all that you've done. Thanks for making me procrastinate my homework, also! Kidding. Well, hope that you see this and are reassured of your godliness. And I apologize for writing an essay. Tis better than homework.

From now on, a devoted fan,


anarcliit said...

I don't understand were ur teen angst is comming from. Your a gorgeous RICH pre teen who gets to meet woderful people and sit front row at prestigious fashion shows, so wtf do you got to be pisst about?

Calisto Alberto said...

You Belong to Vogue Paris. Wait and see... Sorry Anna is irreplaceable. you know it. Best wishes