or "Thoughts on riot grrrl, feminisms, & race at the Lady Zine Party"

My friends Sheela and Julie hosted a "LADY ZINE PARTY" on the rainiest Saturday in recent memory. We met at Julie's apartment, and after homemade pizza and alcoholic Shirley Temples, we did a go-around and introduced ourselves.

One of the highlights was that a lot of people at the zine party weren't necessarily influenced by riot grrrl or had never done a zine. At least one person wasn't from the U.S., and everyone else seemed to grow up all over the country. There was a reality TV contest winner, folks who work at various nonprofits for the advancement of women, lots of grad school students, and some of my best friends. In the go-around, there were some tense discussions about why some young girls are so averse to the term "feminist". We talked about how the term "feminist" can sometimes be a misnomer and generally not conducive for communities of color and/or working class women. We also talked about how for youth, the "F" word can be a scary thing.

I had recently had the pleasure of seeing Mimi Nguyen present her paper "Aesthetics, Access, Intimacy" or "Race, Riot Grrrl, Bad Feelings" at Sarah Lawrence College's 12th Annual Women's History Conference: The Message is in the Music. Nguyen spoke about how race has been a "stumbling block" for riot grrrl; her criticism was refreshing in the wake of 2010's riot grrrl nostalgia. Nguyen's main point is best summed up in this quote: "How we narrate the interventions of women of color is crucial to how we remember feminisms and imagine our futures." She commented on how women of color feminisms and criticisms are often treated as disruptions - something to be learned from and moved on from - and then taught as sort of an addendum to feminist history.

In short, Mimi Nguyen's paper helped sort out a lot of things in my brain - about riot grrrl and women's history and wherever the twain shall meet. So when I sat down to create my zine pages I channeled some of "Aesthetics, Access, Intimacy" and made a page depicting "the secret hearts of girls". On my last page I rubber-stamped Nguyen's quote about remembering feminisms & imagining our futures, because it has been stamped on my brain ever since she said it.


  1. I'm glad that quote stayed with you, because it's the only thing that makes me think that I should actually publish this piece.... (After I finish writing this other book, of course!)

  2. I can't believe I didn't write back to this comment, but YES it totally stayed with me, and it stayed with a lot of other folks at the talk. I know you & I have communicated a bunch about this paper but I still think it was just brilliant! (And, yes... a new book!!)

  3. Jaime5:23 PM

    Mimi, you posted about this paper on your thread & circuits blog and the same quote has stayed with me since I read it. I would definitely be interested in a published piece!