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Women We Love: Riot Grrrls

Posted on 04 September 2019

Growing up in the 80s and 90s I was lucky enough to be exposed to Riot grrrl music which profoundly inspired me as a young woman, shaped my world view and how I saw fashion. As a young girl who refused to go along with the status quo I couldn't help but fall in love with the underground feminist hardcore punk movement that originated in the Pacific Northwest. This subculture movement combines feminist consciousness and punk style and politics; all of my favourite things. Riot girl music often addresses issues such as domestic abuse, sexuality, racism, patriarchy and female empowerment. The badass women in bands like Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and Bratmobile have profoundly shaped feminist culture to this day.

But before these groups formed, they found inspiration from the women that came before them. During the late 1970s and into the 80s there were many female punk and rock musicians that laid the groundwork for these third-wave feminist, like Siouxsie Sioux, The Slits, Patti Smith, The Raincoats, The Runaways, ESG, Kleenex/LiLiPUT, Lydia Lunch, and Kim Gordon. One of my favourite and least known groups that came out of this era is Delta 5, an English post-punk 3 girl/2 boy band from Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Combining feminist politics with a two-bass funk-punk sound, they released their debut single in 1979, "Mind Your Own Business." Delta 5 is one of those genius bands that never got the recognition they were due. Their lyrics mock relationships and gender roles, discuss creepers and stalkers and the objectification of women, and their sound truly unique.



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