Testimony: Courtney

Courtney in 1992

first let me say i love your blog.  i when i was younger, i often feared the days when i would hear/read/watch someone saying the words, “back in the 90s”, but now that those days have come, i actually really, really love it.  i was born in 1980, so by the time i hit my teenage years i was right in the middle of grunge, at the tail end of MTV actually showing music videos, knee deep in weekends at the mall, ripe to discover third wave feminism and the zine revolution.  i found your blog as a link on kathleen hanna’s own, and after reading just a few entries i remembered exactly why riot girl punk, the diy movement, perzines, and records stores saved my life.  it was something i needed, because sometimes when you’re 29, you wake up and all that idealism that had you marching in protest of the iraq war and forcing your dad to listen to bikini kill on road trips home from college gets flushed away in the soul sucking vaccuum of adulthood.

Courtney in 1999

i know exactly how i became a 90’s woman and i owe it all to the internet.  my family got online early, and my parents encouraged us to use the internet – then a tangled mess of code, usenet groups, and bulletin boards – to entertain us while they were at work.  i was a very sheltered, very smart child who lived in a house with a lot of rules that kept me cooped up inside with cable television and baby sitter’s club books as substitutes for friends.  in early high school, i was starting to develop into a solitary, quirky, quiet girl who loved mystery science theater 3000, nirvana, and reading about the manson family when a bulletin board on the (i think) defunct prodigy internet service introduced me to some young ladies from all over the country who were into these things called zines.

Courtney in 1998

it didn’t take too long before i was reading them and buying them and making them myself.  no one else i knew back then even pronounced “zine” correctly.  my boyfriend was your average 90’s adolescent – his mainstream alternative tastes gave me something to talk to kids about at school, while my obsession with kill rock stars and the spoken word tapes me and my internet friends traded through the mail gave him something to shake his head at.  i started dying my hair, buying seven inches, writing letters to donna dresch, and sending copied pages of lyric poetry everywhere from tuscon, arizona to russian to the uk.  the girls i talked to online evolved into girls i’d sneak out and go to sleater-kinney shows with, and boys i’d stay up late talking on the phone with as we watched alternative nation or super rock on mtv.

i am really, really proud to be a 90’s woman.  i feel like i am part of the generation that didn’t have a catchy name, but made it possible for barack obama to be elected president.  i feel like LGBT teenagers can hold their heads up high and fight for their rights because they can look back at teenagers in the 90’s as pioneers who spearheaded queer positive youth discussion.  i feel like perzines paved the way for blogs to become a viable and legitimate form of journalism.  and even though i never started a band, or had a book published, or even got an amazing job my friends all envy, i think that’s okay because i was a 90’s woman.  i was there and i am proud, and i don’t ever want to forget it.


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3 responses to “Testimony: Courtney

  1. Julia

    Courtney, I love that you were a little part of my zine, Night Times, back in the day. It is fun to see these old pics of you, because this is how I remember you. Love, love, love!

  2. agingriotgrrrl

    this is so cute & heartwarming!

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