Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Erin J. Rand


Aesthetics, Affect, Critical/Cultural Studies, Embodiment, Queer Studies, Social Movements

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Turning toward affective and emotional manifestations of resistance, this project engages Riot Grrrl cultural production including zines, flyers, lyrics, and performances. Positioning these artifacts and enactments as a specifically queer feminist praxis, I hone in on grrrl relationality and collectivity as the embodied space where political imaginings are carried out. After first establishing the Riot Grrrl movement as a primarily affectively configured movement, I focus specifically on the mobilization of anger and intimacy within the movement. First, I position anger as an emotion that enables a queering of patriarchal protection culture that the grrrls mobilize to subvert cultural logics of fear and established relations to state institutions of protection. I argue that the mobilization of anger enables the grrrls to implement different practices of protection within the movement as an enactment of grrrl relationality. Second, I locate intimacy through expressions of admiration, friendship, and desire. Here, I highlight how the grrrls entangled friendship, admiration, and affiliation with an awareness of erotic possibility, opening the door for indefinite queer relations. I describe this way of being Riot Grrrl as a “grrrl crush,” using the term as a politicized designation of the particularities of Riot Grrrl relationality as they identify and publically articulate their admiration and desire for other women and girls. Taken together, I argue that focusing on these affective practices enables an understanding of what it means to enact Riot Grrrl. Ultimately, this uncovers the political imaginings that propelled the movement forward and forged a process of becoming that allowed new queer intimacies, relations, and collective ways of being to emerge.


Open Access