I still won’t shut up.

manshirt 2
somebody recently said, while in a conversation about feminism that riotgrrrl was dead. now, i am an emphatic girl, and sometimes when i am excited, it might sound like i am defensive, but usually i am just being passionate. when this person said that, i actually got tears in my eyes. i simply do not agree. riotgrrrl for me was the perfect way
for me to be a feminist.

i come from poverty, abuse in every single way you can think of. i come from the streets. i come from an angry blistered world, a loud pulsating din of scuzzy raw deals. i had an insane father, who then joined the army and was more insane. he was a racist, a woman and child abuser, and a misogynist. i was a sensitive kid, a hair twirler, a voracious reader, a dreamer. i cried (and still do) when i saw dead
animals on the side of the road, when someone got hurt, when bad things happened to good people. in the world of an abusive man, i became a twisted thing, a strong thing, a dubious thing.

in the summer after I graduated from high school. In 1991. i was in a friend’s beat up volvo. her windows wouldn’t roll down and of course she had no air conditioner but it was a car and a couple of poor kids with nothing to do but drive was a pretty powerful thing, sweat and all. i had cut my black mohawk off and was growing out some semblance of a bob. i had started wearing short waitress dresses with white tights and thick black glasses. where i dressed overtly sexual and angry in high school, now i wanted to get in touch with granny chic, cover up sexuality, become more. i was a budding feminist, still struggling out of the construct of my southern upbringing. in this
hotbox of a car experience my friend popped in a mix that her pen pal in california had made her. the very first song was “suck my left one”. suck my left one? SUCK MY LEFT ONE! YEAH. in that fetid car something happened to the two of us, something massive. in that moment at a red light we heard the sounds of our future, a way out of anything we had previously experienced. one song can change everything. one line from a song can make a whole world swell from
flat and repressed to full and fat and free. in that moment, my friend and I pulled over, figured out how to get her windows down and we played that song over and over again, driving all around dallas with our hearts full, our lungs expanded, our voices loud. we pointed at men in the streets and hollered the lyrics to daddy’s li’l girl and i gratefully admit that cried with the sheer happiness of being young
and enlightened.

catharsis is in a musical note, in a heartfelt lyric, in a brief
window of respite. In these years of riot grrrl i found my voice. i found my voice so much that I became a teenage zealot. i studied feminism, women in music, women in history and more secretly I started studying about being queer. once I found my voice I couldn’t shut up. i still won’t shut up.

it only seemed natural that i would join the punk movement, the anarchist movement, the animal rights movement, and then, finally, the riot grrrl movement. i was so angry about injustice, i wanted to hold the world like a rubik’s cube, make the colors all match up, make everyone see what they were doing wrong. i marched, i helped form an anarchist column, i kicked guys in the pit in the name of the grrrl
revolution (it’s OUR TIME NOW MOTHER FUCKER), i poured nail polish in fur coats. i wanted and believed in change. i still want and believe in change, even if extreme measures aren’t how i go about doing business these days.

everything around me growing up had been male dominated chaos and once i discovered feminism (gloria and ms magazine in a women’s clinic waiting room as a teenager no less) i never turned back. i pored over books about feminism, read different theories on the whys and the hows
and the whats. that dirty penny taste in my mouth that i used to feel had subsided, was cleansed, and feminism and riot grrrl was the sweet spring. bikini kill was the fount in which my new life was poured forth from.

i don’t care who says that riotgrrrl is dead, or passe. i don’t care if it’s uncool and gauche to be passionate about being a lady (no matter what baby, if you identify it’s TRUTH), i stand solidly in my fight. i stand with my swords, my guns, my heart. i will always have capacity for women and their struggles, i will continue to help women get through their -isms and in turn help me recognize my own privilege
and internalized -isms, i will always speak out against misogynistic rhetoric, i will defend women, and try never to disparage them because i am bored, or someone else that i respect for other reasons is doing it. i am not coming from a lofty place with this, or think i am a holy woman for the cause. i have my own issues, i slip up sometimes, and i
always end up feeling slippery in my guts, like a glugged down a quick pint of bacon grease.

it’s almost summer, let’s make zines, hang out on my roof and talk about feminist theory, let’s wear bathing suits and love our bodies, let’s speak out against -isms, let’s stop dieting, let’s work out together and keep our gorgeous hearts healthy, let’s go to shows and skin our knees, let’s talk about being queer and young, let’s say something positive to a lady we see walking down the street, let’s
support feminist art, music, books, and lady owned businesses, let’s hug each other and build each other up, let’s remember that we are all in this together. together.
-alysia angel

2 Responses to “I still won’t shut up.”

  1. this is definitely the best one so far! alysia angel, you rock. thanks for writing such an inspiring & beautiful piece.

  2. Wow! That last paragraph made me cry. It affirms everything I believe as a feminist. ❤ xo

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