In the 1990s I had the tremendous fortune to hang out with some of the smartest, coolest women I’ve ever known. We bonded over love of Bikini Kill and Tribe 8 and disgust at the anti-feminist backlash. We argued politics, poetry, punk, populism, pretentiousness. We made pirate floats for the Gay Pride Parade and strode topfree down Fifth Avenue.
I was reminded of just how savvy and fearless those sheroes were when I watched Grrrl Love and Revolution: Riot Grrrl NYC, Abby Moser’s documentary about those times. In our late 20s at the time, Abby and I were old to be grrrls. Sometimes, especially as a journalist, I felt like a spy in the house of girl love. But coming up in the rock scene, I had never had sisters like these, and they inspired and amazed me. Abby caught us in direct action: Making music and meetings and zines and readings. There’s Sandra pontificating like a brainiac. There’s Melissa with her effusive energy. And there’s terrific footage of Kathleen Hanna snarling “Suck my left one” at a pro-choice march in Washington.
Yeah, I’m in there too, looking really dorky at meetings. I’m so grateful these women tolerated my presence. I also got to add my perspective, almost two decades later, speaking as a scholar from my LMU office. Abby’s looking for help getting her documentary out there. I say it’s a must-see, a reminder of what girl power was before, well, what it wasn’t.