Marginalization. What did this word mean to people living in the 1980s? This decade would spawn many of us readers today, but what of the teenagers and misfits of that time, what made them so angry?
When looking at Riot Grrrl history we know that they where angry for being pushed to the slide lines of the music scene. But what ignited this music scene? (Centuries of aggression, obviously). Well, if we take the time to put together the fragments of the leftover history that was the 80s we can start forming a picture. Since Riot Grrrl history is completely embedded in the Media, a look at what giant American publications were (still are) representing is crucial to the understanding of why. A brief look on the world wide web will tell you that there was a great deal of importance placed on Billionaires: Donald Trump. Canada and the United States where going though recession. And in other parts of the world there was civil war, some impacting the United States and others not so much.
The American public was focusing on things at home. Magazines like LIFE where going crazy with promoting American culture. American politics was being discussed among intellects while keeping the majority of the population out of the discussion. Here is where Riot Grrrl and compatriots had the most problems with. Riot Grrrl’s saw how democracy was not being put into fruition. If I may, this was the root of all the anger. The anger had everything to do with America, democracy and the self which has everything to do with popular media.
This decade was completely obsessed with popular media. Let us start by looking at who the American “public” elected as their leader: Ronald Reagan. Oh, Reagan. This man, before becoming President of the United States, was a sports radio announcer, a Hollywood movie actor and a television host! He would gain favor amongst the American public since he reduced taxes and increased the defense budget. This American public gave him points for defending the American dream which had nothing to do with communities and everything to do with the individual family. By reducing taxes it allowed for the wealthy of America to keep most of their earnings; while the increase in the defense budget meant that America could continue fighting the Soviet, Nicaragua and Cuba. Now, the picture is forming.
Movies where becoming less of a political playing field and became completely saturated with entertainment. American audiences started craving popcorn flicks rather than endorsing a play in politics in their filmmaking. Music was being overtaken by Madonna and concerned parents such as Tipper Gore formed the Parents Music Resource Center. This was the America that a kid was being introduced to. Billionaires where everywhere, especially in the white house. They lived in your home but in the form of a digitized image that ate snakes in the Amazon forest (that was being used as shade for El Salvadorian Guerrillas). And personal satisfaction was on everyone’s mind. There was no room for community but in the underground. Reality became myth and only a handful resisted.
I’ve once again just introduced Riot Grrrl. But this time we’ve gotten behind (at least a smidgen) as to why anyone would be so angry. These kids had everything at their fingertips but felt suffocated. And the fact still stands that WOMEN in search of resistance where being pulled to the sidelines as spectators who weren’t invited to move. One can only contemplate that Weird Science had everything to do with it.