On Raising Riot Grrrls


Evan age 6, Lulu age 4: Christmas Day 2012


Dear Evan and Lulu,

My friend Natalie refers to the two of you as little Riot Grrrls. I love it. I never knew what Riot Grrrls were until it was too late. I grew up in North Idaho, the land of Carharts, country music, clogging and cowboy boots. I’ve become attached to cowboy boots in my later years but I try to block the other parts out of my memory. If I had known what they were I probably still would have been too scared to participate. I was actually very shy for most of my younger years and saved all my rioting for my college days. 

I love the term because although you are still much too young to decide any political beliefs or leanings, you still have a Riot Grrrl attitude. You will do what you want, when you want, and you are not afraid to take charge of any situation. You are kind, which I do believe is more important than almost anything else, but you are not short on opinions. You are exactly the type of children I wanted to raise. Until I was actually raising you. 

The thing about raising Riot Grrrls is that they don’t quite know when to turn down the riot. So we riot at dinner time, we riot at bedtime, and lately we spend a lot of time rioting over clothing. Hours, and hours of time. As with any good Riot Grrrl, it is ALWAYS in the name of fairness. 

When we are in the car, driving to school and Lulu suddenly realizes she forgot to put a skirt on over her leggings, it is only in the name of fairness that she screams at Evan “Take your skirt off this minute so you won’t have one on either!” And then when she doesn’t take her skirt off it is in a justifiable act of violence that Lulu reaches across the car and attempts to rip the skirt from Evan’s body. That is fair. If I were to mention to Lulu that there are some children who don’t have any skirts, or even clothing to wear, who don’t fuss over whether they have a skirt on or not she would surely offer them her blue skirt that she doesn’t really like anymore. Because that is also fair. 

Riot Grrrls also act in the name of helping other people, especially fellow women. So when I go to Evan’s parent teacher conference and her teacher shows me some of her work with writing all across it and informs me she found Evan taking attendance for her, I should probably thank Evan on her behalf. Always looking to help out when needed, or going above and beyond to help out even when she is not needed. 

Riot Grrrls aren’t afraid to express themselves physically, hence kissing on the playground, fist fighting at daycare and shoving foreign bodies down your throat/up your nose. Body modification can be powerful. 

I did think tonight on my drive home “what would it be like to have pacifist children?” I imagined peaceful meals, tranquil bedtimes, and car rides without physical assaults. 

But then I thought of the two of you as adults and all the powerful things you can do. I knew that you must keep on rioting in your own way because the world needs your voice. As hard as it can be to raise Riot Girrrls, we need you to be the  “TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS” that we know you are. 



One comment

  • I love this. I have two rioters myself. Car rides would be horribly boring without physical assaults! Thanks for pointing it out. And I’m sure my neighbors would be totally bored if they didn’t see the occasional streaking child dash across their lawn! I like this post! I’m gonna hug my grrrls. 🙂


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