Friday, June 7, 2013

You're from the Seventies, But I'm a Nineties Grrrl

You're from the Seventies, But I'm a Nineties Grrrl

First, let me introduce myself! I'm Jennie, one of the new summer Archives and Special Collections assistants. I'm a Gender Studies major in the class of 2015, and I can usually be found gardening, in the discus circle at Mount Holyoke, or drinking tea and talking about social justice with friends. I'll be writing monthly blog posts about topics ranging from athletics at MHC to some of the amazing things in the Archives having to do with feminism. Today, I'm going to write about a set of zines (if you don't know what a "zine" is, don't worry!) I stumbled across in the stacks. I'd love your comments and critiques- let me know about your experiences with the riot grrrl movement, zine making, or the 90s at Mount Holyoke College!
One of the pages from Margaret Rooks' "Quit Chumping" Zine, 1993 

In the early nineties, right at the beginning of what is typically called the third wave feminist movement, punk rock women had had enough. Whether it was sexism in the lyrics of popular punk rock songs or increasing reports of violence and assault at concerts, the punk scene was in no way a safe space for women, both physically and otherwise. Then, in 1991 in Washington, DC, a group of girls started riot grrrl, a punk rock feminism dedicated to a "Do-it-yourself ethic of self-empowerment and independence from authority." The founding members used the term "grrrl" to reclaim what many use as a derogatory term (girl) with an added growl (Rosenburg 1998).

The movement took off at Mount Holyoke College as well, with the help of Margaret Rooks. She was influential in organizing meetings on campus, inviting "all interested grrrls and wmn" to discuss "punk rock feminist issues, creative endeavors, vegan cooking, and sharing of knowledge." One of the "creative endeavors" included zine making. A zine is a magazine/fanzine, often handmade, that includes some original work and has a small circulation. During the riot grrrl movement, zines were incredibly popular forms of dialogue and Rooks herself traded and made her own. Today, zines are gaining popularity again and Mount Holyoke even has its very own Zine Club. Check out their tumblr here: Mount Holyoke Zine Club!

Another page from "Quit Chumping"
To find out more information about Margaret Rooks' zine collection and see her handmade originals, come visit us on the ground floor in Dwight or explore our online resources.

Works Cited:
Rosenberg, Jessica, and Gitana Garofalo. "Riot Grrrl: Revolutions From Within." Signs 23.3 (1998): 809-41. Jstor. Web. 6 June 2013. <>.

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