Monday, August 2, 2010

Girls To The Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, Sara Marcus

"Riot Grrrl, by encouraging young girls to turn their anger outward, taught a crucial lesson: Always ask, Is there something wrong not with me but with the world at large? It also forced us to confront a second question: Once we've found our rage, where do we go from there?

While absolutely a history of Riot Grrrl and seminal bands deeply involved with and responsible for the subculture, Girls To The Front is also about every girl ever. It is a credit to this book how uncomfortable I was reading it. Marcus writes, "I reconnected with my own rage while writing this book." And oh God, me too. The galley I read has circulated among five other people in the month's time it's taken to process my impressions and here's why: Marcus never loses sight of what made its message of empowerment and self-expression important to so many. This is a thoughtful, careful exploration of that cultural moment. And it's a taut, visceral read.

It's not just the good times, either. Along with media appropriation (even respectful coverage was reshaped as a knife in the back by editors in the time it took to go to press), Marcus meets headlong the class/cultural/group politics that accumulate to divide participants. It would be easy to refer to that splintering as the end of everything except it's less rise and fall, more creation and commodification. In one form or another, someone is always discovering this message, for the first time, and being empowered by it. And that's a serious legacy which has long deserved a book like this. Coming to bookstores September 28th.

Additional resources:
Slate Interview with Sara Marcus & Marisa Meltzer
Kathleen Hanna's Blog
Tobi Vail's Blog

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I totally want to read this! Also, how has it taken this long for there to be a book like this? Weird.