Saturday, February 25, 2012

Riot Grrrl and design as a way of communication.

 Riot grrrl is a movement that is located mostly within the punk scene of the 90's and during the third wave of feminism, it's a movement that used art and music to show their ideas to the world, and a way of communicating with each other from one woman to another. The movement started in Olympia, Washington when a few women formed bands and held women-only meetings in which girls could discuss the ways sexism controlled their everyday lives. A large part of the movement was the DIY (do-it-yourself) philosophy, in music as well as in art and design. One of the best examples is there way of using zines as their way of communicating.

What is a zine? Zines are do-it-yourself (DIY) magazines, but not necessarily how you think of magazines.  They are independently published little booklets, often created by a single person or by contributions by people without he same opinion. These booklets are often put together by gluing together words and pictures onto pages that are then photocopied, folded and stapled. They're a quick and easy, not to mention cheap, way of publishing and getting your idea out there.

“BECAUSE we girls want to create mediums that speak to US. We are tired of boy band after boy band, boy zine after boy zine, boy punk after boy punk after boy… BECAUSE we need to talk to each other. Communication/inclusion is the key. We will never know if we don’t break the code of silence…BECAUSE in every form of media we see us/myself slapped, decapitated, laughed at, objectified, raped, trivialized, pushed, ignored, stereotyped, kicked, scorned, molested, silenced, invalidated, knifed, shot, choked and killed. BECAUSE a safe space needs to be created for girls where we can open our eyes and reach out to each other without being threatened by this sexist society and our day to day bullshit” Erika Reinstean, Riot Grrrl NYC#2

Riot Grrrls used zines as their way of fighting back against the mainstream media that wasn't portraying females in a very positive light at that moment in time, telling rape victims it was their own fault, objectifying women left, right and centre, and those who didn't have the 'normal' appearance, like the riot grrrls, were portrayed as a negative influence for women and girls all over the world. 
Riot Grrrls believed that there should be zines out there by women for women, talking about female health, female music, women's rights, women's hygiene … anything could be communicated within this platform, a zine is a way of speaking freely against mainstream ideas.

Being a zinester myself I've heard that riot grrrl is dead, it's not dead it's just more integrated now through bands like the gossip, BETTY, ….  and zines haven't been as popular anymore as during the punk rock revolution, specially not in the mainstream media, they're a forgotten way of communicating, but one that still thrives in the big cities think London, New York, Berlin… all these cities still have a growing zine base and the internet is not the enemy of zines, but an ally, the internet has a way of internationalizing zines more and more through the use of communities like 'we make zines' or distros like 'click clack distro' A lot of zines these days are still written by and for women, and still have a feminist undertone to them. But maybe even more importantly zines are still a great way to use design as a way of communicating.