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Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music by Marisa Meltzer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well, I liked it. Sometimes I liked it less than other times, but it was a pretty solid read. Readers expecting a definitive history of Riot Grrrl will be disappointed, as this is (mostly) Meltzer's personal, conflicted and affectionate history with the lady-made music of the 90s and beyond. But reading this book often felt like talking to my best girlfriend about the music and activism of our wilder years. But WTF with Ani DiFranco only getting half a page?
Ahem. So anyway. The book starts with the Pacific Northwest and DC twin-sproutings of the movement of punk and politics that eventually became Riot Grrrl. But Meltzer seems unsure about the trajectory that movement took. Was it appropriated into a radio-friendlier format that got further and further removed from activism (the Hole -> Alanis -> Spice Girls -> Britney -> Pussycat Dolls route)? Or did it lead through Bikini Kill to Sleater-Kinney, Ladyfest, Rock & Roll Camp for Girls, and the punk reclaiming of DIY craft? Or both?
Meltzer doesn't really have the answer (and leaves out the craft angle entirely, but I believe it's all related to reclaiming the skills and experiences of girlhood as a political/anti-corporate act). She might if she were less personally invested in the music, but that probably would have made for a much less interesting read.
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