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Writing a Riot

Riot Grrrl Zines and Feminist Rhetorics


Rebekah J. Buchanan

Riot grrrls, punk feminists best known for their girl power activism and message, used punk ideologies and the literacy practice of zine-ing to create radical feminist sites of resistance. In what ways did zines document feminism and activism of the 1990s? How did riot grrrls use punk ideologies to participate in DIY sites?

In Writing a Riot: Riot Grrl Zines and Feminist Rhetorics, Buchanan argues that zines are a form of literacy participation used to document personal, social, and political values within punk. She examines zine studies as an academic field, how riot grrrls used zines to promote punk feminism, and the ways riot grrrl zines dealt with social justice issues of rape and race. Writing a Riot is the first full-length book that examines riot grrrl zines and their role in documenting feminist history.

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I have to start by thanking all the riot grrrls who wrote zines. As I read through these zines, there were times I forgot where I was. Instead, I was back in my college illegally smoking cigarettes in my smoke free dorm, listening to Morrissey, and sitting on my bed reading zines. Thank you for being writers, for sharing your stories, and for being so open about your lives and experiences in your zines. I know that the zines I read are all over twenty years old, and many of you are not part of the zine community anymore, but please know that your words mattered.

Thank you to all the zine librarians and zine libraries. In particular, I could not have done this work without the Riot Grrrl Collection at NYU’s Fales Library, the Sarah and Jenn Wolfe Collection at The University of Iowa, and Barnard College Library. Thanks to Barnard’s zine librarian, Jenna Freedman, for all the wonderful work you do in collecting and cataloging zines. Thank you to the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association for awarding me the Marshall Fishwick Travel Grant to Popular Culture Studies/American Culture Studies Research Collections and Western Illinois University’s Summer Stipend for grants that allowed me to visit these libraries and collections. ← xv | xvi →

Thank you to Joan Orr for handing me a stack of riot grrrl zines when I first came to WIU and you knew I did work on zines. Those zines were my...

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