Ladies, Women, and Girls (Lookout!)
by Jamie Kiffel
As a petite, “waif-like” girl whose closest celebrity resemblance is Tinkerbell, I have always dreamed of kicking ass. The “riot grrls” of the early ’90s, with bands like Bikini Kill, L7 and Bratmobile, held me, enthralled, in their tiny grip. Ah, to have atomic blue hair! Oh, to wear gaffer’s tape and Sharpie on my face! To pull out my bloody tampons and hurl them at boys!
Riot Grrls also sounded like Peanuts‘ Sallie after discovering the word “fuck.”
They weren’t talented. They were fashionable. So if it whizzed by you the first time, turn your head and catch the Bratmobile look now. It hasn’t changed. The press release that touts “maturity, wisdom and musical mastery” must’ve been written by the same press release writer who wrote “To your health!” on bottles of Guinness.
Drummer Molly Neuman, guitarist Erin Smith and singer Allison Wolfe are still kicking boy butt, but they must be quite little butts, for Ali’s tart’n’tiny voice actually makes Britney Spears sound like a moaning love goddess. The guitar and drums are apparently unaware of each other, and may have been recorded in separate rooms or even time periods (the band did break up in an on-stage 1994 snit; maybe that explains something about periods).
I will still say that I sometimes enjoy stomping around to Bratmobile, pulling my hair into devil-may-care pigtails (they’re uneven? Fuck you!), and sneering into my mirror. Then again, I sometimes enjoy doing push-ups to Britney Spears. I’d kick Britney’s butt if I had the chance. Now, that would be music. WHAP! Git on yer jackboots and whup some girly-girl ass! Yee-haw! But I digress…
This music is supposed to fight the objectified sexualization of woman. That may be why it has so much in common with the “naughty schoolgirl” fetish – the performers disarm the offensive image by taking control of it and making it their own. And as long as you’re buying that, may I throw in a free bridge? Ladies, take this advice from Tinkerbell: the only way you’re gonna kick ass in that little skirt is if it’s concealing an AK-47.
(PO Box 11374 Berkeley, CA 94712)