The Etsy Blog

Girl Power, DIY Culture and the Age of the Riot Grrrl

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lbutterworth

Lisa Butterworth is a writer and editor soaking up the eternal sunshine in Los Angeles. When she’s not on the hunt for the latest and greatest in girl culture as the West Coast editor of BUST magazine, she’s flea marketing, taco trucking, and generally raising a ruckus. 

I have very few prized possessions, but my collection of Sassy magazines is one of them. As a teen, devouring each and every issue when it arrived in my parents’ mailbox marked the beginning of my long and storied love affair with the ’90s. I wore flannel. I had multiple pairs of Dr. Martens. I wanted to be Kathleen Hanna when I grew up. As it turns out, none of these things have changed, and what’s really awesome is the number of teenage girls today who are reading, wearing, and wanting the exact same things. DIY culture, the Riot Grrrl movement, and the third-wave feminism of the 20th century’s final decade not only shaped the way I live my adult life, but also influenced a huge facet of today’s pop culture, from ’90s nostalgia (you guys, My So-Called Life is totally on Netflix instant watch) to the handmade/craft explosion, to the ubiquity of blogs, which are really just like ’zines with an Internet connection. So what’s it like being old enough to see the major elements of my coming-of-age years being celebrated by a whole new generation? Well, it’s complicated. And immensely gratifying.

I had just turned 18 the first time I saw Hanna’s group Bikini Kill, one of the cornerstone bands of the Riot Grrrl movement. They opened for Sonic Youth at a show in L.A. which I had to lie to my parents to attend. The year was 1995, and officially speaking, the Riot Grrrl movement was already over. In 1991, a group of badass girls in Olympia, WA — Hanna, fellow Bikini Killer Tobi Vail, and Bratmobile members Alison Wolfe, Molly Neuman, and Jen Smith — got fed up with the male-dominated punk scene and decided to do something about it. Not only did these ladies create bands and play their own instruments, but they also Xeroxed ’zines, screenprinted T-shirts, made art, and espoused a type of feminism that fought for modern-day women’s rights (reclaiming insults was imperative and Riot Grrrls started with the word slut, scrawling it across their bodies with lipstick and Sharpies). They kickstarted a lady-powered DIY movement that broke gender barriers in the music world, popularized third-wave feminism, and laid the groundwork for this decade’s craft revolution. But it ended as abruptly as it began. Once the mainstream media got hold of the story, the Riot Grrrl message was ignored in favor of features about short skirts, baby barrettes, and cute, angry girls. The core of the cause began to erode, and by 1994, it had run its course. But its legacy had just begun to take shape.

Despite the movement’s dissolution, girls all over the country were starting to listen to Riot Grrrl music, pour their hearts out onto stapled, black-and-white pages, and get their hands dirty with all kinds of DIY projects. In 1993, using Sassy as inspiration and the Riot Grrrl movement as motivation, BUST magazine (full disclosure: I’m on their masthead) was born. By 1997, it was one of the first women’s magazines to cover DIY culture in its new incarnation, taking the idea of reclamation and extending it to so-called “feminine” activities like knitting, sewing, and embroidery. In 1998, Jean Railla launched GetCrafty.com, the first online haven for what Railla coined “the new domesticity”: crafting infused with Riot Grrrl feminism. In 2003, BUST’s editor-in-chief Debbie Stoller spearheaded the knitting revolution with her book Stitch ‘n Bitch. The first Renegade Craft Fair was held that same year, and Etsy launched in 2005. It was also around this time that artist/documentarian Faythe Levine began producing Handmade Nation, a film (and now book) that illuminated the growing DIY scene and profiled some of its coolest makers, including stitchmaster Jenny Hart and illustrator Nikki McClure.

By the mid-2000’s, craft culture — overwhelmingly populated by women and with obvious roots in the DIY ethos of the early ’90s — had exploded. Crafting quickly moved from the realm of pastime to serious business, as books like Meg Mateo Ilasco’s 2007 Craft Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby Into a Successful Business demonstrated. And the popularity of DIY culture has continued to grow. As Levine modestly writes in the introduction to the 2011 book Craft Activism, “Our generation’s interest in the resurgence of craft started as a grassroots phenomenon, though now I think it’s safe to say it’s leaked into mainstream culture.”

The culture of the ’90s and the influence of Riot Grrrl can also be seen in today’s blog world. In addition to being a largely lady-fueled realm, blogs support the same sense of connection and shared experiences as the early days of ’zines, albeit in a much more immediate nature. They’re also where neo-’90s reverence has proliferated. Teen media phenom Tavi Gevinson even created Rookie.com to sate her desire for Sassy, which, incidentally, folded the year she was born.

So yes, being able to vintage shop in my own closet for the first time in my life makes me feel old as dirt, but I’ve been happy to dust off my eight-hole Docs, get my ’zine reading on, and incorporate DIY and handmade goods into nearly every aspect of my existence. Yet what really thrills me about the comeback of my most formative decade is the utter girlness of it. In 2010, Kathleen Hanna hung out with Gevinson and gave the teen an incredibly symbolic gift: her iconic “feminist” sweater. And while I’m tempted to call it a poignant passing of the Riot Grrrl torch, that would insinuate that the generation Hanna originally inspired has hung up its combat boots. But the opposite is true: we’ve simply doubled our ranks.

Lisa Butterworth is a writer and editor soaking up the eternal sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not on the hunt for the latest and greatest in girl culture as the West Coast editor of BUST magazine, she's flea marketing, taco trucking, and generally raising a ruckus.

4 Featured Comments

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  • riversongrapture

    Karn from RiverSongBeads says: Featured

    Oh man! thanks for the memories! Totally interesting article and a fun read. The riotgrrrl movement in the 90s had a powerful impact on me. I was a teenager at the time and It helped me realized that you could be tough and still be feminine and really shaped the kind of woman I wanted to become. It was fun thinking back about all those crazy times. And seeing bikinikill in concert is still one of my most vivid concert memories!

    2 years ago

  • csburdick

    csburdick from callmebrazen says: Featured

    I, too was entrenched in the RiotGrrl culture. I tied the flannel around my waist and slapped on dark red lipstick when my mom wasn't around. Secretly listened to rocking ladies on cassettes in my walkman. I wasn't allowed to watch "My So Called Life," because it was deemed "too depressing." Now, I rent the episodes from my local video store and find them equally as gratifying and appropriate as the idea and ethos behind them were then.

    2 years ago

  • birdshaveflowers

    birdshaveflowers from birdshaveflowers says: Featured

    I loved this whole time in music and crafts ! The power it gives young women to explore and create is amazing ! When my band landrest got to open for Alison Wolfe's newer band Partyline, I was so struck that one of my teen idols were talking right back to me and telling me in person I have quite the voice. Kelly Deal taught me know to knit and it was so cool to meet her as well ! Etsy is the perfect stage for people who wish to create and be a part of the big picture and these bands were a great inspiration ---Becca

    2 years ago

  • shaej7

    shaej7 says: Featured

    "So yes, being able to vintage shop in my own closet for the first time in my life makes me feel old as dirt. . . " It's fun though, isn't it? Thank you for such a great article. I miss those times. Frozen Embryos, my moc Docs, Courtney and her crazy genius, rocking my male family members' flannel, ritualistically listening to my "Little Earthquakes" & "Under The Pink" cassettes on the school bus, and endless brainstorming & contemplation sessions with girlfriends on sleepy Sunday evenings. It was so much more than a babydoll dress fashion trend. Thanks for reminding me. It's amazing Riot Grrls finally got some credit in the straight world. Rock on, crafters xo

    2 years ago

  • havelovewilltravel

    Rebecca from havelovewilltravel says:

    Also saw Bikini Kill open for Sonic Youth. In my case, it was a San Francisco show. I see a direct lineage between the Olympia scene, and what takes place here on Etsy...Though I've grown and my tastes have changed, I see what a critical time the 90s were for women, and I'm proud to have been part of it. Proud of my Sassys & Bikini Kill/Huggy Bear split! xo- Rebecca

    2 years ago

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny says:

    Yay for girl craftiness :) But I hung up my boots a long time ago and am so glad that I can either rock my crocs with confidence or be hardcore in my heels. Either way, it wouldn't be the same without the girl power of the 90's. Rock on :)

    2 years ago

  • woods2010

    Michelle Woods from PaperFolkGlasgow says:

    We didn't have Sassy here in the UK but i think we all identified with My So-called Life's protagonist, Angela, rockin out in her bedroom, dyeing her hair red and wearing DMs! It was this idea of daring to be individual that got me into creating my own jewellery and clothes as a teenager- something i've carried into my adult life as well. Michelle x

    2 years ago

  • jessiestar Admin

    Jessie Star Kelley says:

    Grrrl Power!!!

    2 years ago

  • dieseline

    dieseline from Dieseline says:

    I have recently discovered the "girly" side of feminism. I will wear an apron and sew and bake if I want to!

    2 years ago

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace from VintageMarketPlace says:

    Oh my lord, all those memories just came flooding back to me. I saw Bikini Kill at a very small venue at Wash U in St. Louis. AMAZING!!!

    2 years ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    Am I to understand that American young ladies didn't wear DMs, dye their hair outrageous colours or customse their clothes until they saw it on TV in the 90's? I find that very difficult to believe, as the culture of feminist punk individualism was alive & kicking in the UK from the early 80's onwards.

    2 years ago

  • saffronandspice

    Jen Schroll from saffronandspice says:

    Oh, how I loved my Sassy magazine subscription! It was a nice reprieve from the superficial fluff many other teen mags of the day were spewing out. And I confess that I still rock a pair of Docs to this day - best footwear EVER.

    2 years ago

  • VoleedeMoineaux
  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake from IcingOnTheCupcake says:

    This brings back memories!

    2 years ago

  • cheepcheep

    Lucille from cheepcheep says:

    I'm actually working on a case-study about third-wave feminism & music! I wanted to include DIY culture as well, but only have a few minutes to present. Hah. I'm going to make a small site with some interviews, videos and history. If anyone would like to interviewed for my project please let know! I would greatly appreciate it. I also did a project about DIY culture & it's connection to ecology as well. Here's the site I made: http://cheepcheep.org/handmaderevolution

    2 years ago

  • ElectronicGirl

    ElectronicGirl from ElectronicGirl says:

    i loved "My so-called life" so freakin much!!!!!! yay for this article!

    2 years ago

  • HelloMountains

    Audrey from HelloMountains says:

    ♥ !!!

    2 years ago

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld says:

    It's fantastic to live in an era where there have never been so many choices available to women. We've gotten beyond a rejection of femininity and are embracing and reviving long-denigrated crafts like knitting, embroidery and quilting. I love that my daughter and I can play a rough-and-tough game of neighborhood street basketball, then come inside and make felt animals. It's men and boys who still have so far to go when it comes to enjoying both “masculine” and “feminine” pursuits.

    2 years ago

  • everythingok

    everythingok from everythingok says:

    YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH this gives me hardcore 90s nostalgia. That was, in many ways, a really fierce and interesting time to spend my formative years, even though my Docs gave me blisters and I donated them to Goodwill after wearing them twice. There was this exciting feeling like we could do anything, and even though now as a fully-fledged grown-up, I struggle with still feeling like I can, but I still haven't given up.

    2 years ago

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom says:

    I like My So-Called Life! But I wasn't even a teenager in the 90's, lol.

    2 years ago

  • RivalryTime
  • HoneyThistle

    Wei from HoneyThistle says:

    this sent chills down my back - super cool!

    2 years ago

  • L2Country

    L2Country from L2Country says:

    When you mentioned the TV show " My So-Called Life", it sure brought back good memories....Anyhow, fun article...fun read!...TXs for writing this for us!..."L"

    2 years ago

  • TrashThings

    TrashThings from TrashThings says:

    What a brilliant read! I Love Being a GRRRL

    2 years ago

  • Augenblickphoto

    Rebeccah Dean from Augenblickphoto says:

    Thanks for this. I haven't thought about Sassy in years. I loved that magazine and am sure I once owned the issue posted here. It disappeared along with the Docs I wore when I got kicked in the face in a mosh pit of a Ramones concert. Was I proud later when I realized one of my teeth got a little (ok, barely) chipped. I also never put two in two together with the DIY movement and the Fimo bead baking/friendship bracelet weaving/necklace beading crafting of the early 90s that I was very much a part of. Thanks for putting the two of them together. Makes me proud to be 38 and remember way back when. ;)

    2 years ago

  • TheCottageCheese

    Marsi from TheCottageCheese says:

    Super-fun article. I loved Sassy!

    2 years ago

  • cakeeater

    Natali from cakeeater says:

    Wow, thanks for featuring my heart pin!! RIOT GRRRL 4 EVR!

    2 years ago

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth says:

    ♥♥♥ fan-flippin-tastic article. ♥

    2 years ago

  • octopusmoon

    octopusmoon says:

    I'm so glad to see a Riot Grrrl article on etsy! I just got into Bikini Kill.

    2 years ago

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket says:

    So much fun to read!

    2 years ago

  • tasticlife
  • LoveYourBling

    Ruthie from LoveYourBling says:

    all this talk about the 90's is making me feel old :)

    2 years ago

  • yourauntiespanties

    Genevieve F from YourAuntiesPanties says:

    this is amazing! (revolution grrl style now!)

    2 years ago

  • lovinganvil
  • viciousthreads

    Jennie Vicious from viciousthreads says:

    i have some VEry riot grrl inspired babydoll dresses in my shop. i was there the 1st time! LOL :)

    2 years ago

  • 1AEON

    1AEON from 1AEON says:

    yesss! get 'em!

    2 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    Kathleen from myvintagecrush says:

    Sassy mag, totally! I love being able to relive the 90s through today's younger generation, and I agree about the evolution of blogs as a forray from 90s zines :) Great read!

    2 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    Love :)

    2 years ago

  • TheStampAct
  • 1AEON

    1AEON from 1AEON says:

    yess! go get 'em girl!

    2 years ago

  • cutiepiecompany

    milly from cutiepiecompany says:

    Yes, loved Sassy! The Fales library at NYU, which houses Special Collections, has a Riot Grrrl Collection, http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/research/fales/riotgrrrltest.html A couple of years ago I donated my entire collection of zines, LP's and cassettes from those days to Fales. They have my collection there, under my name, as well as collections from all those ladies themselves, including Molly Neuman and Kathleen Hanna. All the collections are open to researchers (by appt.) They are also accepting donations to the collection, if anyone's interested. That link should have more info. It is kind of amazing to think that some of these artifacts are now being conserved in a library! I never would have imagined at the time.

    2 years ago

  • madebymidge

    Midge Blitz from ModernGirlBlitz says:

    Hey, there's my blue fist! Awesome!! Yaay!

    2 years ago

  • slathered

    Sharon Moores from slathered says:

    It was a wonderful time to come of age -- the message I got was that it was OK to be girly AND powerful, that it was necessary to stand up for yourself if you wanted to be genuine. I think certain men got a bit of a shock this year when their personal agendas went too far and some middle-aged ladies let their riot grrrls come back out into the open. It was a reminder that, individually and collectively, women need to remember they have power. And while we're straightening the world out, we should bring back Sassy magazine. :-)

    2 years ago

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom says:

    I'm 38 this year, so was of an age to participate in Riot Grrrl had I been in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately I was rockin' combat boots at the time rather than Docs. I remember Sassy though. :)

    2 years ago

  • aymujer

    Yreina Flores Ortiz from AyMujer says:

    I saved my 20-hole Docs for my daughter but she grew up too fast and I missed the 2-month window when they would have fit her! How I wish I would have saved my slip dresses for her... Who wants to text when you can make a zine instead??? Anybody know how to explain this to an 11 year-old?

    2 years ago

  • yqsl66

    Ada Ada from idajewelry66 says:

    Love :) go get 'em girl!

    2 years ago

  • collageoscope

    Sonja Smith from collageoscope says:

    Right on.

    2 years ago

  • jmayoriginals

    jean from jmayoriginals says:

    go girrrl!

    2 years ago

  • messinabella

    messinabella from BandBEstate says:

    Loved Sassy - great post!

    2 years ago

  • 12345mary

    Mary from MarysHobbyHouse says:

    I miss those days. mini skirts, fishnets and combat boots! purple lipstick and platform sneakers!! Heavy metal concerts and funky hairdye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now i have a bunch of kids and am building on my entertaining serveware. i do still love heavy metal music though!

    2 years ago

  • HeyHarriet

    Tracy from HeyHarriet says:

    I LOVE this article! I remember seeing Bikini Kill play in a tiny little venue here in Brisbane, Australia & it was the best gig ever! Kathleen Hanna still continues to rock my world!

    2 years ago

  • piecakeprimitives

    Lorraine Gerbi from PiecakePrimitives says:

    Wow..what a totally awesome article!! Thank you! Now, where did I put my combat boots?..:o)

    2 years ago

  • grimmlynn

    Jeni from grimmlynn says:

    I love the nostalgia associated with this article. It made me wish I still had all my shoes from the 90s, especially my combat boots. It is good to know that the 'I can do it' attitude and feminism are alive and kicking in today's generation.

    2 years ago

  • bmakemake
  • elizasteindesigns

    Eliza Stein from elizasteindesigns says:

    I miss my zine-makin' days! If nothing else, as a semi-shy person it gave me an excuse to approach interesting people and ask them personal questions: "I'm a magazine editor, see?" It always worked, hardly everyone ever turned me down. I haven't had the same luck with any blog I've tried to start, probably because you can't give a free copy to someone. And zines are just cooler, they were the real underground, getting passed from one set of hands to another. Anyway, thanks for digging up some happy memories!

    2 years ago

  • CrazyDaisyDesigns

    Melissa Noor from CrazyDaisyDesigns says:

    Talk about memories! Loved this article. I miss the '90s to an exhausting degree, even though my memories of it are a haze of flannel, armpit smells and music... ah, the music! Who cared about dieting when Heavens to Betsy were screaming in your ear???

    2 years ago

  • tbtcwedding

    Riezl Morgan from tbtcwedding says:

    Once a riot grrrl, always a riot grrrl. I realized I haven't changed so much. Most of the times, I still love wearing doll dresses and every once in a while, digging in my old casette tapes and enjoy listening to L7 and Babes in Toyland's raw record quality! Sometimes, I just have to go back to my roots...it's memorable and refreshing. Glad to know there are still a few out there like you guys who share the same interests as I do. Grrrl power!

    2 years ago

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage says:

    Interesting! I seemed to have missed it.

    2 years ago

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle says:

    Great article!!

    2 years ago

  • smallpackagess

    Stephanie N' George from smallpackagess says:

    i love everything about this. EVERYTHING! & i think i still have a lot of my old stuff too... hmmmm...

    2 years ago

  • sallydarity

    sallydarity says:

    Nicely done. Period.

    2 years ago

  • TickledFancies
  • pinksnakejewelry
  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    Great post! Thanks!

    2 years ago

  • shopdahling

    Gretchen Seel from DahlingAccessories says:

    This is so timely...I have been on a total 90s nostalgia kick this past week- listening to The Breeders and Luscious Jackson, watching Reality Bites and taking a trip down memory lane with My So Called Life. It's empowering to remember where we started and focus on where we are going. Thanks for writing this!

    2 years ago

  • NicoleNicoletta2

    Nicole Nicoletta from MintMarbles says:

    my so called life...best.

    2 years ago

  • Radicalroles

    Cheyenne Barr from DeconstructionCrafts says:

    SO WONDERFUL to have this on etsy! Great piece Lisa! I for one believe that crafting is inherently radical and is a source of all sorts of juicy opportunity! That's why I created my website, DeconstructionCrafts.com (for the rupturing of what is, and the creation of what's to become!). Feminism is deep in my heart and I so acknowledge what Bust has done, what Bitch has done, what so many of these millions of zines have created and how much bigger, louder, stronger, and more vibrant it can only be when we're all gettin' down in DIY.

    2 years ago

  • wallflower152

    Sarah Camacho from wallflower152 says:

    Also related: Geek Girls Untie: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World by Leslie Simon. Read it recently, I think lots of Etsians would like it. : )

    2 years ago

  • HandmadeIsAllAround
  • Belka808

    Belka808 from BisforBelka says:

    Zines and blogs are NOT the same! Unfortunately, my old Sassy collection has been gone for some time, now. Someone seriously needs to publish a book containing all the issues of Sassy (well, the ones from before they got taken over and started sucking)!

    2 years ago

  • Thinque

    Thinque Design from Thinque says:

    Awesome! Woman Waves, Feminist, Art of DYI. I was thrilled to read through this- and been writing www.beingwoman.blogspot.com The subtitle: what did women do in the olden days and why don't we know about it? Start in June '06. Fem spirit of creating: Like Lady Lovelace or Ada Byron (yes, Lord Byron's daughter) was the first person to concieve the concept and then wrote the very first ALGORITHM. The idea of what a computer could be- the year? 1842. Blog date: Dec 10th, 2010. Thank You!

    2 years ago

  • RetroStash

    RetroStash from RetroStash says:

    Oh sooo glad to see this on Etsy !!! This movement changed my life RIOT GRRRL here forever. I have not changed my groove since 1994

    2 years ago

  • guiltycubicle

    Alex Kittle from guiltycubicle says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was too young to appreciate riot grrrl when it was a big thing but I love it and believe in it today! Great to really see the connection between riot grrl/DIY and blogging/crafting.

    2 years ago

  • PunkSmut

    Althea from PunkSmut says:

    Apparently I just never grew up since I'm still wearing boots (Fluevog and Gripfast, no longer wearing Docs) and I'm still dying my hair crazy colours! Why I never made the connection between the DIY going on then and the handmade movement now, I don't know. It seems like such a reasonable progression. Politically, I've been missing the mid-90s more than ever lately so thank you for this little bit of nostalgia (and do I ever wish I could have seen Bikini Kill play!).

    2 years ago

  • BurkeHareCo

    Erica from BurkeHareCo says:

    AWESOME!

    2 years ago

  • Made2Impress

    Made2Impress from Made2Impress says:

    You go Girl!

    2 years ago

  • goodbeads

    goodbeads from goodbeads says:

    Wow!Lovely.

    2 years ago

  • PomegranateSeed

    bahar from PomegranateVintage says:

    memories .

    2 years ago

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink says:

    Grrrl Power rocks! I like this topic!

    2 years ago

  • viols

    Violetta S from viols says:

    I miss that!

    2 years ago

  • sianykitty

    Siany from sianykitty says:

    YEAH!

    2 years ago

  • viols

    Violetta S from viols says:

    I miss that and all underground movement of the 90's, so onest and cool at that time...

    2 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    Great article, really puts into perspective the kind of feminist movement that happened here in the UK about the same time. I think its a shame these sort of heartfelt movements eventually get wrapped up in PR and spin by marketing bods but at their heart theres always a good message!

    2 years ago

  • bittybaby

    bittybaby from bittybaby says:

    Awesome read. I remember making my own zines, loving Bikini Kill, and the Riot Grrrl movement shaping me into a take no shit kind of girl at a young age!!

    2 years ago

  • emleehandmade

    Michelle Hill from emleehandmade says:

    i was a riot grrrl and made zines and had a band. now i'm 40 married with a child. but i still think about the "old days". loved riot grrrl for its community. maybe that's why i love making things now. thanks for sharing!

    2 years ago

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice says:

    Think this movement passed me by, but it was fun reading all about it! Thanks for sharing :)

    2 years ago

  • thenosuchdisco

    Dave from thenosuchdisco says:

    really cool read! i wasn't clever enough in the 90's to understand it, but now with the benefit of hindsight i can put it into context more. cool items too :)

    2 years ago

  • riversongrapture

    Karn from RiverSongBeads says: Featured

    Oh man! thanks for the memories! Totally interesting article and a fun read. The riotgrrrl movement in the 90s had a powerful impact on me. I was a teenager at the time and It helped me realized that you could be tough and still be feminine and really shaped the kind of woman I wanted to become. It was fun thinking back about all those crazy times. And seeing bikinikill in concert is still one of my most vivid concert memories!

    2 years ago

  • inapigsear

    Maria Corey from sowsearjewels says:

    Great article! I loved it all, but I think my favorite part was the last two sentences. Given all that's going on politically these days, that geve me the hope I desperately needed. Thanks.

    2 years ago

  • csburdick

    csburdick from callmebrazen says: Featured

    I, too was entrenched in the RiotGrrl culture. I tied the flannel around my waist and slapped on dark red lipstick when my mom wasn't around. Secretly listened to rocking ladies on cassettes in my walkman. I wasn't allowed to watch "My So Called Life," because it was deemed "too depressing." Now, I rent the episodes from my local video store and find them equally as gratifying and appropriate as the idea and ethos behind them were then.

    2 years ago

  • importeyedea

    Kt from ImportEyedea says:

    Irony is this article. I got on this morning with the intention of finding some crafty related biz books and here's this perfect article about a thing I love (the 90's!) and smack dab in the middle of it, the gem I really needed, Craft Inc. Superb, thanks for a great read and the good advice!

    2 years ago

  • MissHildebrandt

    Hildebrandt from MissHildebrandt says:

    Oh Sassy...how that mag taught me all about lipstick. THANK GOODNESS!

    2 years ago

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 says:

    You go grrrl!!!

    2 years ago

  • hannahgreatorex
  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop says:

    You have more than doubled your ranks because you have joined with feminists who have been at it since the dawn of time. It takes a number of years to realize that true feminism doesn't need a label, or a group to exist. We women carry the capacity for feminism within ourselves. It may manifest itself in a pair of Doc Martens but you truly step-up when you can also wear an apron, which is not only NOT at odds with feminism but augments it.

    2 years ago

  • meganmccarthy5

    Megan McCarthy from SisterMadeIt says:

    Great article, gives me lots of memories of the rockin 90's! GO GIRL POWER!

    2 years ago

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    memories, memories

    2 years ago

  • SunshinejDesigns

    Jade from SunshinejDesigns says:

    Girl power - Brilliant article <3 http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MTQ4NTgzMjF8MjYwMTU5NTA3MA/rebel?ref=pr_treasury RIOT GIRL - REBEL Treasury.

    2 years ago

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from LoveButtons says:

    Respect and have confidence in yourself and be whoever you want to be! Interesting article - I had not heard about this movement in the US.

    2 years ago

  • oldworldprimitives

    Stephanie Baker from oldworldprimitives says:

    I still wear one of my old riot grrrl t-shirts! And I still have my zines and 7" records from back then... and this article just made me realize that some of them are now "vintage." It feels like just yesterday though!

    2 years ago

  • FiliGraceJewelry

    FiliGraceJewelry from FiliGraceJewelry says:

    Thank you, thank you for this article! We didn't have Sassy in Poland, I also listened to other bands, but I totally feel the girl power inside me everyday! And I loved my DM and stitched jeans. :)

    2 years ago

  • MetalMindCircuits

    Metal Mind from MetalMindCircuits says:

    I write zine, book, and movie reviews for Razorcake Magazine and luckily enough through them I was introduced to this documentary, From the Back of the Room: http://www.fromthebackoftheroom.com/home.htm You'd probably find it really interesting. It looks into the whole spectrum of women in the DIY scene, not just Riot Grrl, which many people believe is the penultimate contribution of women to punk music (Hey Poison Ivy was playing guitar in the Cramps in the late 70's!).

    2 years ago

  • NicolaHall

    Nicola Hall from NicolaHall says:

    Great post! Its a bit naive on reflection but I took 'girl power' and the freedom of the 90's as a bit of a given - I was in my teens and it was the norm. I do miss rocking the denim mini with chains and bright red hair.... good times! Thanks for the article Lisa! x

    2 years ago

  • birdshaveflowers

    birdshaveflowers from birdshaveflowers says: Featured

    I loved this whole time in music and crafts ! The power it gives young women to explore and create is amazing ! When my band landrest got to open for Alison Wolfe's newer band Partyline, I was so struck that one of my teen idols were talking right back to me and telling me in person I have quite the voice. Kelly Deal taught me know to knit and it was so cool to meet her as well ! Etsy is the perfect stage for people who wish to create and be a part of the big picture and these bands were a great inspiration ---Becca

    2 years ago

  • kmwatkins

    Karen Watkins from kmwatkins says:

    Great article. It was a great time to be a teenage girl! Love Sassy!

    2 years ago

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 from Parachute425 says:

    What a great history lesson for someone who completely missed the 90s. My children were using my brain as a bouncy ball for most of that decade so I missed the Riot Grrrl movement. The influence on today’s pop culture is facsinating - must read more. Thanks.

    2 years ago

  • BeatriceCLaNore

    Brittany Hodgson from BeatriceCLaNore says:

    I love this article! Reminiscing in the good times. Go girl power!

    2 years ago

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy from worksofwhimsy says:

    I feel old.

    2 years ago

  • CandidaEtc

    candida pagan from CandidaEtc says:

    YES! i love this article! I recently missed (unfortunately) a lecture and exposition of the riot grrl zine collection at the University of Iowa. Luckily I can visit any time and be reminded that women can and do have a strong voice and play a large role in cultural shifts.

    2 years ago

  • HoneyBeeHolistics

    Melissa from HoneyBeeHolistics says:

    How awesome to be a girl and be strong to stand up for what YOU want to do with your life! It was always college this, college that......I went for 2 years and found it wasn't for me! Starting my own business was where I found my niche! Creating and selling those creations is how I am able to be a Mom, Artist, and Entreprenuer all in ONE!!

    2 years ago

  • stylesbychanel

    stylesbychanel from OnnyWear says:

    Love the 90's. Brings back some great memories! Thanks for sharing!

    2 years ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations says:

    Aaaahahaha. The cover of that "Sassy" magazine kills me. Teenage murderers, armpit hair, and relationships! All in one convenient place!

    2 years ago

  • sadiedesignsca

    Sarah from CAMPandQUARRY says:

    I was just talking yesterday about the resurgence of '90s goth style and, of course, its close relative, '90s Riot Grrrl. It takes a lot of style and guts to pull off baby doll dresses and doc martens (a favourite of mine in Grade 8) and floor length floral skirts, etc. It does make me feel old to think that I experienced round one of all of this firsthand. Had I held onto things like my electric blue 8 hole docs and my Courtney Love-inspired baby doll dresses I could be super in style right now. Now I find myself making jewelry that is often inspired by the '90s culture that shaped my adolescence, and rewatching/listening to classics from that era, like the movie The Craft and a Team Dresch album I pulled out the other day. Good times!

    2 years ago

  • shaej7

    shaej7 says: Featured

    "So yes, being able to vintage shop in my own closet for the first time in my life makes me feel old as dirt. . . " It's fun though, isn't it? Thank you for such a great article. I miss those times. Frozen Embryos, my moc Docs, Courtney and her crazy genius, rocking my male family members' flannel, ritualistically listening to my "Little Earthquakes" & "Under The Pink" cassettes on the school bus, and endless brainstorming & contemplation sessions with girlfriends on sleepy Sunday evenings. It was so much more than a babydoll dress fashion trend. Thanks for reminding me. It's amazing Riot Grrls finally got some credit in the straight world. Rock on, crafters xo

    2 years ago

  • glitzglass11

    Glitz Glass Pop Shop from Glitzpops says:

    Girl Power All The way! xo

    2 years ago

  • loralyn1

    Laura King from LoralynDesigns says:

    Wow, completely relate!

    2 years ago

  • isewcute

    June from isewcute says:

    Very cool!

    2 years ago

  • chrisndan0202

    Chris Contri from chrisndan0202 says:

    OMG, I loved Sassy! I still have pages and pieces that I cut out of my issues. Thanx for this great piece!!

    2 years ago

  • madamtartarsauce

    madamtartarsauce from FrostBrite says:

    i think it's sweet that we oldsters from back in the day are still thought about and still relevant, and that young women are reimagining and reinventing the things we cared about. you know, everything old is new again, and so it was with we twentysomethings back in the early 90s. there were people then who *very* much disliked riot grrrl and accused *us* of co-opting, imitating, stealing, attaching ourselves more to the aesthetic trappings of an ethos and less to its actual message, and being incognizant and derisive of our own feminist forerunners. but it's kind of that double-edged sword of loving your underground movement, and then being dismissive of it when it emerges aboveground. it might be aggravating to oldtimers who did the heavy lifting that "these kids today" have it so much easier, but really, isn't making things easier for future generations what feminism and humanism is about? shouldn't it be? don't get me wrong, there was a time when i was irritated myself by what i thought was conflation and bastardization of ideals, music, art, missions. but as i prepare for entry into the old punks' home (where we will have music wars with the old metalheads' home across the street, and all our crafts will involve safety pins and fire), i've definitely come down on the side of youth. youth is perpetual, and if digging up mom's old zines and auntie's old mixtapes, what have you, inspires action and creativity and a likemindedness, i will take that respect and give it back times a million. :)

    2 years ago

  • empapers

    Eleanor Mayrhofer from empapers says:

    Ahh the memories! Thanks for this :-))))

    2 years ago

  • PinesVintageClothing

    Pine from GoodOldVintageOnline says:

    Oh Bikini Kill!...to be young and half bald again. Brings back fond memories of hoodies with bottle caps and smelling like rotten chicken soup

    2 years ago

  • OleanaJewels

    Yanina Faour from OleanaJewels says:

    The joys of changing from a riot girl back then that made us the strong women of today! It´s nice to take a look back. Thanks for this post!

    2 years ago

  • tweal

    tweal from tweal says:

    What a great article! Riot grrrl was a big influence in my life and I'm proud of how it has shaped me. If only I had embraced my crafty nature earlier in life but at least I am going it now.

    2 years ago

  • knitsbycaitlin

    Caitlin Edge from knitsbycaitlin says:

    Couldn't have summed it up better myself. Bikini Kill wil never quit being a staple in my life!

    2 years ago

  • XOCrossMyHeartXO

    Nicia Bell from XOCrossMyHeartXO says:

    Can I just way... I love My So Called Life

    2 years ago

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage says:

    Lisa great post! I was a young mom and career woman in the90s and missed RiotGRRRLs but you caught my attention and can't wait to find out more about this evolution and to encourage my now teen to explore her grass roots passions!

    2 years ago

  • lamarmota

    Cristina Escudero from LaMarmota says:

    This article has moved me. Love this underground story of the life of many of us, a story that isn't in the official books and some of us didn't know this well. Love the sense of DIY and riot grrrs, even more than before! Thanks a lot for sharing :)

    2 years ago

  • riotgrrrl

    riotgrrrl says:

    Wow! Takes me back and makes me fell young again! Thanks for the post, I really got a kick out of reading it, especially since I now have a daughter to continue the legacy of GRRRL POWER!

    2 years ago

  • vicethighvintage

    Molly McDermott from vicethighvintage says:

    This post made my day! :3 My shop is all too fitting.. http://www.etsy.com/shop/vicethighvintage

    2 years ago

  • vantiani

    Ika Vantiani from vantiani says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, Lisa. I started making zines in 2000 and wearing Docs since I was in Junior High, today I have been making art and doing lots of other DIY activities with the girls too. I think being a riot grrrl is something that we celebrate everyday in our own ways either being feminine, masculine or both.

    2 years ago

  • madamtartarsauce

    madamtartarsauce from FrostBrite says:

    if you haven't read "girls to the front" by sara marcus, do it now! just be sure to click the "indie bound" link on the leftand sidebar to find an independent bookshop near you who sells it. if you support DIY and riot grrrl, you should be buying indie! http://www.girlstothefront.com/

    2 years ago

  • silverlily786

    Fatema from SilverLilyJewelry says:

    Ahhhhh I so wore Doc's and lived in Flannel's ! which was so cool at home,the whole boyish look with goth make up but when I traveled to South Africa I was confused why all the girl's were wearing little tight top's with their jean's where were the flannel shirt's? I still rocked mine being "individual and all that" :-)

    2 years ago

  • MagpiesHaunt

    Kath Burrows from MagpiesHaunt says:

    I must admit I'm not familiar with the whole Riot Gyrl thing. I was brought up in Hong Kong though. I do remember protesting when my brother was allowed to go play and I had to help my mum make what felt like hundreds of spring rolls! Perhaps that's why I married my hubby - he decided the best way to get a girlfriend was to cook for 16 girls at uni. I don't think he was expecting to find his future wife though - ha ha! He's now the cook in our household and he's also a whole heap more patient with the sewing machine. I get annoyed with it when it chews up the thread in the bobbin! I now own a pair of gorgeous burgundy Docs and I teach Body Combat. I got 4 tattoos last year ( my mid-life crisis - LOL) so there you have it - feisty and feminine - it can be done. That's real Girl Power!

    2 years ago

  • rivahside

    rivahside says:

    I was firmly ensconced in the Farah Fawcett, Famolare, disco, punk, glam, post-hippie era, growning up. Does that count as a pre-cursor to Grrrl Power?!

    2 years ago

  • SassyStylin

    Lori O from SassyStylin says:

    Loved my Sassy & JANE magazines (still have a few copies) & my DETAILS magazine I used to love that writer Anka Radakovitch (she wrote the Sex column in Details) & a few books The Wild Girls Club: Tales from Below the Belt (read it, hilarious)Sexplorations: Journeys to the Erogenous Frontier (need to read it i'm sure it was funny as well) And Hello who didn't want to be friends with Ray-ann & Angela & make out with Jordan Catalano Hellio?? Thanks for awesome memories!

    2 years ago

  • SassyStylin

    Lori O from SassyStylin says:

    I loved Sassy & Jane magazine! I think i still have a few copies! Who wouldn't want to be BFFS with Ray-Ann & Angela (I had same color hair for years!) and make out with Jordan Catalano! Love him still!! :) I also dug Anka Radakovich from Details magazine (Sex column) & she wrote a few books. I only read The Wild Girls Club: Tales from Below the Belt! This was a great article! Thanks for the memories!

    2 years ago

  • SassyStylin

    Lori O from SassyStylin says:

    Miss My So Called Life on tv. Sure netflix but who wouldn't want to turn on tv & see that instead of some reality tv show? I used to read Sassy & Jane all the time (memories) still have some left I think! Was obsessed with Details magazine & loved the sex columnist Anka Radakovich. Read one of her books Thee Wild Girls Club Stories from Below the Belt! (I think she might've been the original Chelsea Handler Horizontal Life) Loved my Green Dr Martens. Miss Jordan Catalano!! What a great read! Thanks for the memories!

    2 years ago

  • SassyStylin

    Lori O from SassyStylin says:

    Miss my So-Called Life & Jane Pratt! Was obsessed with Details magazine & loved the sex columnist Anka Radakovich. Read one of her books Thee Wild Girls Club Stories from Below the Belt! (I think she might've been the original Chelsea Handler Horizontal Life) Loved my Green Dr Martens. What a great read! Thanks for the memories!

    2 years ago

  • InheritanceVintage
  • bluebirrrddreams

    Sarah Blue from bluebirrrddreams says:

    Loved scrolling through and seeing the band names L7, Babes in Toyland, Team Dresch! Don't leave out Babes in Toyland, Heavens to Betsy, Seven Year Bitch, The Gits, Evil Stig, Tattle Tale - they're all still near and dear in my heart. I don't know a lot of people now who even know what a Riot Grrrl was, but I'm still in touch some of those grrrls from my past. One is just finishing up her PhD! It's just awesome to see where we all are now.

    2 years ago

  • greatestfriend

    greatestfriend from greatestfriend says:

    I'm about to have a daughter and ever grateful for my nineties roots! although in new zealand where pop culture wasn't much of it, the riot grrrl scene hit hard through music and the wonderful kiwi dudes embraced it too. i eventually made it to the states and got to work with some of these incredible woman, making some of the best friends of all times. We are blessed to have been a part of such a "movement" one that is monumental and essential. thank you bikini kill, bangs, KRS - the music especially, and the fashion, the boots! the 'tude! - for encouraging me to be the woman I always was/am! they might be memories but im still livin it.

    2 years ago

  • luscioustwinkle

    Luscious Twinkle from luscioustwinkle says:

    Ahhhh! The days when I could run down to the charity shop and buy a vintage nightie for next to nothing on a saturday afternoon, team it with knee high DMs,over the knee socks,hold up stockings and fishnet tights, throw on my bottle green leather 60's biker jacket,scrawl on some makeup and party til sunday evening, and be young enough to carry it off!!!! My favourite time for fashion after the horrors of the 80's....

    2 years ago

  • Poozy4

    Poozy4 says:

    Thanks. I'm in the middle of reading "Girls to the Front" http://product.half.ebay.com/Girls-to-the-Front-The-True-Story-of-the-Riot-Grrrl-Revolution-by-Sara-Marcus-2010-Paperback/102919240&tg=info and it's bringing back so many memories!

    2 years ago

  • CarinL

    Carin Nigri from CarinL says:

    I love seeing this write-up here. So great to remember.

    2 years ago

  • Kosmika

    Laura from Kosmika says:

    Yes, great memories!! I was quite young (16) and far away, but I've been always fascinated by that. It was a great time for new ideas, new music and change. This stuff wiped out the plastic 'glamour' of the '80s. So good! :)

    2 years ago

  • FlatHarold

    Lawrence Eger says:

    The sensation of girls getting powerful self directed freedom is awesome. As a dad with an eleven year young craftworker that blowes me away with the creativity in her, when she gets to riot i am going to be on the wall telling girls to listen up and make a riot happen.

    2 years ago

  • janeeroberti

    Jane E Roberti from janeeroberti says:

    the dream of the 90's is alive...on Etsy I never stops playing my Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney and Le Tigre. Riot Grrl still lives in this house!

    2 years ago

  • BitsandBarley

    Maude from BitsandBarley says:

    This made me smile and say hell yeah at the time I most needed it! The Riot Grrrl movement in my teens made me feel liberated and free. Thanks for touching on that and bringing back that feeling :)

    2 years ago

  • LillieoftheValley

    LillieoftheValley from LillieoftheValley says:

    this was before my time, i was a baby then, but i remember reading old Fear Street series RL stine books, and in them the girls read Sassy, and at the time I thought that was a fictional magazine. so cool it is actually real, as Im a huge fear street fan. Im tryin to remember what i wore in the 90s and some floral leggings and keds come to mind..and hiking boots. Not sure why but I wore hiking boots even with dresses... hmm. also lots of mismatched colors. but i was never a 'tough girl'. more of your typical feminine traditional girl. Just with armpit hair and a hippie granola attitude.

    2 years ago

  • SweetCalentine

    Callie Boneck says:

    Loved this article, but....I think Tavi's website is actually 'www.thestylerookie.com'. Maybe someone has already mentioned this....? 'Rookie.com' had me wondering what I had missed....I recommend checking it out. Mwahahaha!

    1 year ago

  • BreakTheRecord

    Stacey Iden from BreakTheRecord says:

    Really great article! I loved it. Thank you for sharing.

    1 year ago

  • pinkpoppies1991

    Pink Poppies from pinkpoppies1991 says:

    I really identify with the riot grrrl movement. I would absolutely love one of those feminist sweaters.

    1 year ago

  • lovahandmade

    Jodie Rackley from lovahandmade says:

    This is such an awesome article! I would have to agree that the indie craft movement is a direct spawn of riot grrl/feminist wave from the 90's into the 00's. DIY was in our vocabulary back then from making sharpie t-shirts with offensive statements to learning how to make our way. Thanks for making this correlation! I definitely got those several different pairs of Doc's in the closet!

    1 year ago

  • iris756

    IrisLighting from iLighting says:

    Wow! so cute:)

    1 year ago

  • cvharquail

    cv harquail says:

    Lisa, thanks for such a terrific history lesson-- from the responses it's clear that the connection between feminism, 'handmade', and DIY still lives. One link that's missing, though, is the direct/indirect link between feminism and the founding of Etsy itself -- Jean Railla, the founder of GetCrafty.com who you mention above, is also the person who hired Rob Kalin (Etsy co-founder) to rebuild her website to accomodate e-commerce. While Kalin , Schoppik and Mcguire built the site that is Etsy, the politics and identity were provided by Railla. Over time, the story evolved to where Kalin is credited as being a crafter/maker himself, with his own need to sell, and with his own philosophy..... but this is a distortion that "disappears" Railla in a very not-feminist kind of way. This is not to say that Kalin et al. had no principles-- they did ask Railla if she wanted to be involved in the business -- but 'handmade' and changing the experience of commerce were not the guys' original idea.

    1 year ago

  • selkielassie

    Jennie from SelkieMum says:

    I never heard of riot grrrls until I was in my 20's, never watched My So-Called Life, but I was 14 in 1994 and I definitely wore combat boots and flannel. I also always loved the idea of being feminine but tough. I never thought this was from cultural influence, but the more I read, the more I think it was somehow...which is unnerving in some ways, to be honest. :D

    240 days ago