Celebrate “Riot Grrrl Day” with our Grrrl-Ruled Playlist

“Girls to the front.” It was that simple notion that inspired a generation of young women to create a music movement, that while brief, changed the face of music. Tired of being shoved to the back (and shoved around) at concerts, and not being taken seriously, female musicians like Kathleen Hanna, Sleater Kinney, Bratmobile and more decided not only to create a space for themselves, but to do it in a way that demanded respect from the male peers and audiences.  They called on the women at their shows to walk right to the front of the stage, and inspired others to take the extra step and pick up an instrument or microphone and create their own legacies. Because it embraced the LGBTQ community as well, many queer women and bands like Team Dresch, Tribe 8, and The Butchies made important contributions to the riot grrrl movement, with some playing a subset of the music called Queercore.

Sleater-KinneyCarrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, and Corin Tucker of Sleater Kinney. Old school.

Today, April 9th, has been declared Riot Grrrl Day in the city of Boston, and we are celebrating it from New York City to Los Angeles. Mayor Marty Walsh has dedicated the day to riot grrrl pioneer, Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, The Julie Ruin) and hopes that it will inspire young women to create art and make waves. Hanna will also be participating in An Evening with Kathleen Hanna tonight in Boston.

Kathleen Hanna

The entire proclamation (which you can read here), is rad as hell, but here are a few choice bits.

“Riot girls redefine the language used against them and continue to fight the newest incarnations of patriarchy. In doing so, the ironically confirm one ex-congressman’s accidental wisdom. ‘The female body has ways to try and shut that down.’ It sure does: women’s voices telling their stories can shut that down” (swoon!)

“A $10 Bikini Kill record isn’t worth $7.70, and a woman should not make 23% less than a man.” (Amen!)

“Our young women can’t be what they can’t see. Girls need to see other girls picking up drumsticks, basses, and microphones. They need to see other girls picking up paintbrushes and pens, and telling their stories, loudly.” (Marry me, Boston!)

That last part is so true and important. I taught one summer at the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, and within the span of a few days, I saw dozens of girls become rock stars on stage and in their own hearts. The confidence they gained, was invaluable. Let’s spread Boston’s message across the world. It’s time for a new uprising.


To celebrate Riot Grrrl Day, we’ve put together a playlist of some of the most quintessential riot grrrl bands, and a few recent additions that have the feel and ferocity of their predecessors. While this is a free Spotify list, we also encourage you to purchase any of the 19 songs or albums that inspire you. It costs money to make music, and supporting female musicians by purchasing their music, will help make sure that they can continue to do so. So Happy Riot Grrrl day, and enjoy dismantling the patriarchy.