Girls to the front The true story of the Riot Grrrl revolution

Sara Marcus, 1977-

Book - 2010

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New York : Harper Perennial c2010.
1st ed
Physical Description
viii, 367 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Sara Marcus, 1977- (-)
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Marcus' compelling history covers a specific time period, 1989-1994, and a particular type of music that turned into a larger social movement. The riot grrrl movement was a potent form of female empowerment as well as a postfeminist reaction to sexism and the rising number of sexual assaults against women when expectations for equality were high. A writer and musician, Marcus describes some of the major players on the scene, including individuals (Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail) and bands (Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsy) all set against the backdrop of the so-called postfeminist period. She tells colorful anecdotes (such as the origin of the title of Nirvana's breakthrough single Smells like Teen Spirit ). She describes the music scene in such important riot grrrl locations as the Pacific Northwest and Washington, D.C., and chronicles the rise of riot grrrl zines and riot grrrl conventions. In all, Marcus has done a commendable job of telling the little-known history of an important social and cultural movement.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A Brooklyn-based journalist gives a brash, gutsy chronicle of the empowering music and feminist movement of the early 1990s led by young women rock groups like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. Politicized by such national events as the backlash against feminism in the press, the first Iraq War, and the Supreme Court's gearing up to review Roe v. Wade, young women were incensed. Kathleen Hanna, a college student from Olympia, Wash., was spurred to action after interviewing writer Kathy Acker and working for a domestic violence shelter, and she decided to start a band. Hanna, along with Tobi Vail, a fanzine writer (Jigsaw) and former punk rocker who was dating Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, were on a mission to spread female rebellion via their band, Bikini Kill. Meanwhile, Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman, who had met at the University of Oregon, were in Washington, D.C., cobbling together their own band, Bratmobile. Thus, writes Marcus in this compelling account, the Grrrl Revolution was sparked. Marcus enthusiastically tracks the "scattered cartographies of rebellion" and captures the combustible excitement of this significant if short-lived moment. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

After the spotlight shifted from the feminist movement of the previous generation, Riot Grrrls emerged in the early 1990s with a forceful intensity via punk music, zines, and meetings that defiantly assaulted the inequities, abuse, and sexual harassment on the rise in contemporary culture. Writer and musician Marcus here provides a detailed, engrossing history of the movement. She writes about all of the positives but does not shy away from revealing the difficulties of a loosely knit organization that grew quickly, receiving national media attention, and struggled to define itself in a larger context while still maintaining the cohesive spirit of its grass-roots days. Although the Riot Grrrl phenomenon has been written about before (e.g., Marisa Meltzer's recent Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music), Marcus approaches it from her own distinct perspective and extensive resources, proving that this is a topic worthy of continuing study. Verdict This is a carefully researched and well-written book. Marcus maintains her objectivity while providing numerous details and anecdotes that offer a thoughtful and in-depth picture.-Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.