Video Reviews
don't need you: the herstory of riot grrrl
by Kerri Koch
Urban Cowgirl Productions (2006)
7 / 10
Fifteen years after the inception of Riot Grrrl, the history of the movement has been giving scant attention despite its powerful cultural impact. Riot Grrrl catalyzed a generation of young feminists, brought women and their issues to the forefront of the punk and indie underground, and unwillingly caught the attention of the national media, resulting in a frenzy of coverage that would ultimately fracture the movement. don't need you aims to preserve this history, through interviews with key figures at the genesis of the movement, from well-known band members like Kathleen Hanna, Corin Tucker, Allison Wolfe, and Madigan Shive to zinesters and organizers such as Ramdasha Bikceem and Sharon Cheslow. The film fares well when detailing the spontaneous origins of Riot Grrrl, highlighting how zines networks and cross-country trips led to dual, bi-coastal capitals in Olympia and Washington D.C. The documentary traces the origins of the movement to the late 1980s increasingly aggressive and sexist hardcore punk scene, where women were left to hold their boyfriends' coats on the edge of the pit, and the resulting frustration of the original Riot Grrls that led to the initial women-only gatherings and DIY show spaces that fostered the stripped-down sound and cut-and-paste aesthetic that is synonymous with Riot Grrrl. Where the film falls short is exploring the long-term effects of the movement, instead ending on a deflated note, chronicling the fracturing of the movement after heavy media attention and white privilege ripped through the scene. Still, it is an important archival document, with extended bonus interviews and a digital gallery of Riot Grrrl ephemera, including show flyers, original zine mock-ups, and photographs. Hopefully more films and books will follow in its wake, preserving a pivotal, if brief, time when women took the stage and took back the pit, empowering young, radical feminists to this day.

this review originally appeared in Girlistic
Posted by: R. Baker

Video Reviews (May 1st, 2007)