RIOT GRRRL MANIFESTO
By Kathleen Hannah (lead singer of Bikini Kill and feminist activist)
BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways.
BECAUSE we wanna make it easier for girls to see/hear each other’s work so that we can share strategies and criticize-applaud each other.
BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own moanings.
BECAUSE viewing our work as being connected to our girlfriends-politics-real lives is essential if we are gonna figure out how we are doing impacts, reflects, perpetuates, or DISRUPTS the status quo.
BECAUSE we recognize fantasies of Instant Macho Gun Revolution as impractical lies meant to keep us simply dreaming instead of becoming our dreams AND THUS seek to create revolution in our own lives every single day by envisioning and creating alternatives to the bullshit christian capitalist way of doing things.
BECAUSE we want and need to encourage and be encouraged in the face of all our own insecurities, in the face of beergutboyrock that tells us we can’t play our instruments, in the face of “authorities” who say our bands/zines/etc are the worst in the US and
BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t.
BECAUSE we are unwilling to falter under claims that we are reactionary “reverse sexists” AND NOT THE TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS THAT WE KNOW we really are.
BECAUSE we know that life is much more than physical survival and are patently aware that the punk rock “you can do anything” idea is crucial to the coming angry grrrl rock revolution which seeks to save the psychic and cultural lives of girls and women everywhere, according to their own terms, not ours.
BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-heirarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.
BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.
BECAUSE we see fostering and supporting girl scenes and girl artists of all kinds as integral to this process.
BECAUSE we hate capitalism in all its forms and see our main goal as sharing information and staying alive, instead of making profits of being cool according to traditional standards.
BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.
BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors.
BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.
This post isn’t about rationality or about knowing something is wrong. It’s about emotion. It’s about how things make me feel. While I know to ignore words about how I am only valuable if I’m pretty, or how being mentally means I should just shut up and get on with life.
It makes me doubt myself as a woman, it makes me feel dis-empowered and it makes me feel depressed.
I know people troll for their own selfish reasons, or to get kicks.
There is how-ever one thing I know even more strongly which is, late at night tonight. I’m going to lie in bed and I’ll think back to this random dude’s words and a little tiny weeny part of me will say ‘what if he’s right?’ and my whole self esteem will crumble and I’ll probably cry.
At the end of the day though, that’s while I’ll always win. While we’ll always win.
Because we can cry, because we can laugh and we can feel.
That’s what allows us to be better, to better ourselves, to be strong and to be informed.
And the troll themselves? They probably cry too.
But not because of what others do to them, but because of what they do to themselves.
A long time ago I was a poor kid who was lonely, so I decided hey! Look! The Internet! it will be fun!
The internet community has been my playground for over a decade, I’ve got accounts on Digg, Reddit, Deviantart, twitter, facebook etc etc etc I’ve been on irc netowrks such as freenode, austnet, dalnet, quakenet, hell if there was an irc network I’ve been on it.
On top of this, I play video games REGULARLY WoW, Star Trek:Online, battlefield (et al), tf2, on and on.
And everywhere I go I’m either forced to use a male nick to avoide notice, or if I do identify myself as female risk ‘Tits or GTFO’ ‘Omg a girl on the inernet’ ‘omg pics!’.
Can you imagine how this might make me feel? Hurt, isoltated and TOTALLY objectified.
This is not funny, it’s not a meme, it’s not ‘hilarious’ and i’m certainly not a ‘bitch who cant take a joke’ or who has a ‘’omfg pms much’ (got that one more than I can count).
I’m sick of memes about racism, I’m sick of guys in vent saying ‘OMG RAPED!’ when they kill somebody easily in a game. I’m sick of gay slurs and guys calling each other faggots.
I’m sick of all kinds of this shit.
Now I could post logs of examples, or I could just tell you the story of what happened today.
I was in a regular Bad Company 2 match on one of the 3fl Western Australian servers (best ping, usually they are pretty okay in terms of people). I use the nick ‘Samanth0r’ when I’m online in games or on irc. Sometimes this gets picked up as female sometimes it doesn’t. My name is Samantha so it seemed appropriate.
now today, i get a private message in game with this guy sending me his phone number, asking about my body, and requesting sexual favours. I get angry and chastise him in open channel, he says ‘omg I trolled you so hard lol!’.
this isn’t cool. Trolling isn’t funny, It’s not respectable, And i’m over it.
It’s no better than grade school teasing and it’s being acted out by so called ‘responsible’ adults online everyday in most every community.
Every day, being a woman online in male dominated communities I get chastised for being a woman, or at least I feel like it because whenever I assert myself I either get called a bitch or told to shut up.
When I call out guys on behaviour I think is really offensive, I get shouted at.
Online I am under constant threat of being turned into an object.
I’m tired of it.
I can’t do it anymore.
I’ll keep up my blogging, I’ll be on msn, I’ll be on the places you would expect to find me, but irc and gamming communities I’m out.
Now you can tell me that this is behaviour that should be ‘put up with’ and that ‘its the internet’ but let’s be honest here, i don’t have to put up with that in my daily life in REAL LIFE why should I or WANT TO put up with it online? Why should I even need to?
You’re asking me to accept that I’m an object and that I have no voice.
That’s a breach of everything I hold dear to myself and the human race.
Maybe it’s time a lot of internet communities re-examine their behaviour, many of them wonder why they can’t get female members? Is it do hard to realise why when the first thing you ask for is a picture of our breasts? or for ‘proof’?
Why can’t we just be members of a community known for our knowledge, our abilities and our own voices?
Why internet communities, where so many of you value equality, justice, liberty and the right to choose, suddenly shout down women’s voices? Make sexist jokes at the slightest urging? Berate women’s opinions when we stand up for ourselves and then claim biological determinism as an argument for your hatred (I’m looking at you reddit and digg).
I’m tired, I’m sick of fighting just to have a voice and I’m sick of being treated like a second class citizen. But not just me, I’m sick of womens treatment online, the treatment of minorities, GLBT people, women and men of colour, hell I’m just tired of the unaccepting attitudes that are so dominant among even the smallest irc channels top the largest networks.
Why do you hate us? Why is it fun to make fun of us?
I’d love an answer if you’ve got one.
In peace, Samantha Davies
And one last thing, to those of you who do think as I do (I know there are even some men out there who do in these communities) why are you often unwilling to stand up against the crowd? It just hurts yourself and others if you stay silent.
Gender is a fickle thing immediately obvious to all and yet invisible to most, only to be revealed when boundaries are pushed and certain taken for granted assumptions challenged.
How would it be best to define gender? With sex?
Or should we choose something even simpler, something more concrete than simple chromosomes?
I say we start with genitals.
Vaginas and Penises, those things on our bodies which determine who we are and some would say even how we should interact and behave.
But there’s something not quite right with that.
It really doesn’t cover all the bases.
After all if penises and vaginas make us male or female, then how come we do not display them all the time. Who’s to say that cute androgynous guy you saw walking down the street last week didn’t have a vagina.
You never looked.
‘But surely our genitals are what define us! And how we behave and how we act! They make men and women what they are! You can never change that!’ cry the likes of Janice Raymond.
Oh Janice, I’m afraid these things just don’t work that way; no matter how hard you agree that biological determinism makes us men or women, It simply isn’t so. You can argue social constructs to if you like, but then you’d be arguing in favour of the very thing you’ve been trying to change, which is that idea that men and women have to act a certain way!
More recent respected gender theorists such as Julia Serano and Kate Bornstein discuss what is known as ‘Gender Identity’ also sometimes called ‘Subconscious Sex’. This is the concept that gender is something far more complex linked to both biological status (our DNA) and our subconscious mind.
When you were born a girl, you were brought home from the hospital and you were dressed and given the things which girls should have. You were bought Barbies and dresses, your room was painted pink and you went on with your life. You considered this normal.
But where did you get the idea you were a girl? Nobody told you.
It’s not like somebody said to you one day ‘you are a girl, here is how you are’ and then handed you an instruction manual.
No nobody ever did, this was just something you knew. It seemed correct. The way of things.
And that is gender identity, that distinct inner sense of knowing who we are.
That certain je ne sais quoi of our identities.
The inner sense of knowing deep down if we are male, female, both, neither, other or just fluid.
Gender is a complex topic that you can’t define as easily as you might first imagine. I hope this brief intro encourages you to think more every day about how you perceive gender and the world.
So ea games has decided to run a competition at comic-con where you get your photo taken with as many ‘booth babes’ as possible.
Women are more than sex symbols.
The only reason ‘booth babes’ exist in the first place is to sell products.
Stop objectifying us please.