Riot grrlRiot grrl is a form of hardcore punk rock music, known for its militant feminist stance. The genre first appeared in the early 1990s as an offshoot of alternative rock and punk music and as a response to prevalent attitudes of punk machismo. Riot grrl musicians were fiercely independent, and most shunned the major labels, sticking with indie labels like Kill Rock Stars. Like its contemporary, grunge music, riot grrl arose in the fertile Seattle and Olympia, Washington scene, though groups like Huggy Bear came from England, and others arose across the United States and United Kingdom, especially Washington D.C. The group Bikini Kill is widely considered the most representative of the sound and were the unofficial leaders of the genre.
Historically, the term stems from the all female opening night of the International Pop Underground conference in Olympia, Washington on August 20, 1991. It was coined by Alison Wolfe (of Bratmobile) in response to a comment by Jean Smith (of Mecca Normal) that, "We need to start a girl RIOT!" The term quickly became a banner for action and ideas with a DIY empowerment ethic. Yet within a year (in the wake of Nirvana's wide success and subsequent hype of Northwest rock) the name became an almost meaningless media catchphrase and was dropped by the artists who gave the term its genesis.