BRB, going to Boston to celebrate Riot Grrrl Day
I hope you still have a Bikini Kill concert tee stashed away in your dresser — because starting today, April 9 will forever be celebrated as ‘Riot Grrrl Day‘ in Boston! Oh, glory be.
The day was dubbed in honor of Bikini Kill frontwoman and riot grrrl pioneer, Kathleen Hanna. When asked why the new holiday exists, Chief of Policy Joyce Linehan simply replied, “Because we can do that sort of thing here.” And you know, to inspire young women!
Signed by Mayor Marty Walsh, the Riot Grrrl Day proclamation was adapted from Kathleen Hanna’s own “Riot Grrrl Manifesto.” According to Pitchfork, part of the Boston proclamation reads, “The riot grrrl philosophy has never felt more relevant, with misogyny still rampant in many cultural spaces . . . Riot grrrls redefine the language used against them and continue to fight the newest incarnations of patriarchy. In doing so, they ironically confirm one ex-congressman’s accidental wisdom: ‘the female body has ways to try to shut that down.’ It sure does: women’s voices telling their stories can shut that down.”
It also highlights what a true inspiration it can be to see a woman like Kathleen Hanna doing what she does. As the declaration states, they day exists “Because: Our young women can’t be what they can’t see. Girls need to see other girls picking up drumsticks, basses and microphones. They need to see other girls picking up paintbrushes and pens, and telling their stories . . . [It should] inspire grrrls everywhere to shake up the status quo and create.” Right on.
For a little background: The riot grrrl movement rose to prominence in the early 1990s as a response to the male-dominated world of punk rock. Due to its artistic and activist nature, the riot grrrl movement encouraged women to create on their own accord. Not to mention, riot grrrl gave us legendary bands like Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Team Dresch, and Pussy Riot (just to name a few).
Boston’s Chief of Policy, Linehan (who is credited with this day), is what you’d call a devoted fan of rock and roll and she and Hanna have known each other for decades. Linehan even campaigned to have “Roadrunner” by the Modern Lovers made the official rock song of Massachusetts. Even though that idea didn’t get put into effect, we’re definitely pleased to see that her love for rock has helped inspire our new favorite holiday, Riot Grrrl Day.
Aside from its noble cause and support for creative young women, Riot Grrrl Day serves as a reminder of the social changes that still need to be made. Now, roughly 25 years after the riot grrrl movement began, the feminist ideals that drove riot grrrl to mainstream attention are still so pertinent.
As for today, Kathleen Hanna will be speaking and performing with her current band the Julie Ruin at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre. Of course, she will be introduced by Joyce Linehan. Even though we’re envying you Bostonains right now, we’ll be (in spirit) celebrating Riot Grrrl Day right along with you!