Riot Grrrl : a postmodern feminist initiative

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McDonnell, Emily
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Arts
Dublin Business School
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This dissertation is primarily concerned with riot grrrl as a postmodern, feminist initiative. In this introduction I present two interpretations of postmodernity and situate riot grrrl as an exemplar of Cixous' 'feminine' expression. Chapter one traces the genesis of riot grrrl in punk: rock. The chapter addresses the meaning of style incorporated by the punk: movement, and subsequently by the riot grrrl genre. The exploration exposes a dark interface of violence in relation to image in both movements. Chapter two queries the relationship between 'masculine' discourse, the male brain and receptivity towards the female and 'feminine', proposing an intrinsic link: between empathy deficiency, autism and masculinity as normative influences in western society. Chapter three further explores the implications of gender constructions in identity and expression. Chapter four examines the phenomenon of 'self-cultivation' and 'the body project' which is central to postmodern theory, paralleling an academic postmodern perspective, with an alternative understanding from a riot grrrl standpoint. The two sections of chapter five, deal 'with the reinvention and emergence of 'new' discourses, and examine the status of alternative expression. Chapter six discusses the negotiation of belongingness and interrogates the concept of community as an inclusive entity, with particular reference to the role of the media. The concluding chapter poses possible interpretations of the fate of riot grrrl as a subcultural phenomenon and comments on the current status of the genre.