Monday, March 21, 2011

Spotted: Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus

Where: Q-train, standing, rather ironically, in the very back of the last car.
Who was reading: A pale make-up-less girl in a grey hoodie pulled up over her head. Looked kind of like that Juno actress, minus the whole pregnancy thing.
From the mouths of Babes (aka Vanity Fair) Girls to the Front is: "A historical rockument of the revolutionary 90s counterculture Riot Grrrl movement. . . . A rousing inspiration for a new generation of empowered rebel girls to strap on guitars and stick it to The Man."
Jezebel was a bit more critical of the book (as Jezebel is wont to be) but in a bizarrely positive way: "What makes Girls to the Front somewhat difficult to read at times — its lack of a concrete timeline, its focus on individual grrrls rather than the "movement" as a whole—may also be a source of hope… If Riot Grrrl was never one single group or movement, then maybe its implosion was actually an explosion... Maybe it makes sense to think of it, not as a movement with a defined birth, life, and death, but as a fertile period in American history when a lot of smart, angry young women learned how to make noise. And maybe we should rejoice that despite the supposed end of their supposed movement, they're still making noise today."
Commentor "ijustwritebooks" made another valid point: "I wasn't a Riot Grrl, technically. I loved Bikini Kill (still do). I loved Bratmobile. I didn't want to just hold some guy's jacket. And I understood it and identified with it, but I never identified *myself* as a Riot Grrl, and it's frustrating the idea that there were no girls in punk (real punk, not major-label bullshit like Nirvana) in the early 90s who weren't."
And it does kind of chafe... that women involved in the punk scene got lumped into the Riot Grrrl category whether they identified with it or not. Of course this isn't so much a failing of the book, as it is a failing of punk culture. Thank goodness punk is dead.

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