Category Archives: Kara

My 90s Dream

I always complain that I didn’t know any feminists growing up in Buffalo. But these days, you can join a feminist club that is spending a few weeks reading Marisa’s book. Then you can go to an Ani DiFranco concert with your new friends. Almost jealous.


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Super-Special Summer Concert Report: Lilith Fair, Kelis, Robyn

Marisa and I in heaven listening to the Indigo Girls perform "Closer to Fine."

Last October, Marisa emailed me the press release to Lilith Fair with the message “We’re obvs going to this together. Maybe Jon will come.” I responded “OH MY GOD I am dying of excitement. Excitement that I didn’t feel about Lilith in the 90s. SO PSYCHED!”

We spent the last 10 months preparing for the day that, according to Marisa, would be “somehow really important for both of us.” I listened to a lot of Sarah McLachlan. Marisa talked up Lilith in interviews for her book, Girl Power, and pondered her clothing options, noting, “it might be a matter of how much tie dye I want to wear in one outfit.”

On August 1st, we went to the Lilith in Hatford, Connecticut. Jon has already had his say about it. Here, Marisa and I kinda, sorta give our own review as we chat about the allure of free tampons; how selling condoms isnt very 90s; Amy Ray’s hotness; and more.

Marisa: So Lilith. Where to even begin?
Kara: We could begin with the tailgating Connecticut lesbians who warmed our hearts upon entrance. Our cargo-shorted sisters.
Marisa: I only wish I had played beer pong with them. Confession: I have never played beer pong.
Kara: After we admired the tailgaters we went and walked around and came across the Lilipad.
Marisa: Omg, the Lilipad. Sponsored by ob, stay free and one other… carefree?
Kara: Maybe. I was mostly interested in ob, my favorite. You were pretty psyched. We left Jon outside so that we could go gather up free tampons.
Marisa: Why aren’t tampons always free? If men menstruated, would tampons be free?
Kara: Whoa. That is a really deep and important thought. That reminds me of the flavored condoms that Planned Parenthood was selling.
Marisa: Selling condoms is not very 90s, in my opinion. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pay for condoms once during the 90s. There were free condoms everywhere. Was that a college town thing?

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Lady Gaga vs. Lilith Fair: Is One More 90swomanly Than the Other?

Hi Ada, So this weekend the New York Times ran Jon’s article on the demise of Lilith Fair aesthetics called “Girl Pop’s Lady Gaga Makeover.” You emailed to tell me that you thought it was really 90swomanly. Of course you are right: After all, when not writing about super-sexist rap lyrics, you can sometimes find Jon listening to the Indigo Girls or describing himself as “fifth wave” or “post-post.” Speaking of the Indigo Girls: He and Marisa and I are going to see them this weekend at Lilith Fair, so I think I will write more thoughts about his article then.

Just two quick thoughts in advance of that:

One is that I could barely think about feminism at the Gaga show because I was too busy thinking that it was basically a primer in queer theory. (I guess Gaga and James Franco have something besides their mainstreaming of performance art in common.)

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We Don’t Need Lilith Fair, But We Want It Anyway, Ada, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a question that *everyone* has been asking this summer: do we really need another Lilith Fair?

I get why people are asking that question, but for me, it’s not really the relevant one. I don’t need Lilith. I want Lilith.

I was reminded of exactly why today when I was listening to Marisa debate this issue on Soundcheck. She made a lot of excellent points about why it’s great that Lilith is back.

But what really brought the point home for me was when callers started calling in. SO MANY of them were dudes.

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Boys vs. Girls on 90s Nostalgia

I am also going to make lists and be nostalgic if I want.

Okay, Ada, so I am feeling some super righteous 90swoman indignation and it is bringing me out of blog hibernation.

I was reading Tumblr yesterday and came across some posts by young guys dissing a particularly young, female brand of 90s nostalgia. The kind of nostalgia expressed by Miss World, who recently posted about “The Real 90s,” a new tumblr by Lesley Arfin and my very good friend Elizabeth Spiridakis. Miss World said of Lesley:

She was there. Like, really being an adolescent in the midst of the 90’s…not just some kid too young to know what the fuck the 90’s really were (grunge, punk, NYC, heroin, flannel, etc.)

The 90’s I was familiar with (and hate that I was only in my pre-teens during the best part of the 90’s) favored neon, NKOTB, crimped side poners, LA Gear Hi-Tops…what the fuck am I on about? All of this shit is awesome.

IGNORE ME. Follow her blog.

Obviously I am all for girls and women working through what the 90s meant and I am all for girls and women supporting each other, so I was pretty into this. Leon was not. He replied:

This has to stop! What the hell, everyone? Nostalgia, especially nostalgia for charming products that used to exist, doesn’t become OK just because you can suddenly rent a car or whatever.

It’s one thing for bands like Wavves and Real Estate to be “nostalgic” for the 90s by making actual art that’s inspired by things that happened then, and another to just like, list stuff.

Leon is friends with some of my friends, so I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this post totally pisses me off.

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Testimony: Shayla H.

revolutionary geek squad: saidee, allen, shayla

As you know, I went to Antioch, THE Antioch. The SOP [Sexual Offence Policy] wasn’t any kind of big deal until the media discovered it and invaded our campus, which was really annoying.

I recently had to go through a bunch of old stuff, and found my old art supply box, which struck me as particularly 90swoman (note that the Bush sticker refers to H.W.). And I found an old VHS tape which contained public television footage of the Anita Hill hearings! You can see a young Gwen Ifill taking notes two people down from Anita and everything.

Also my beloved motorcycle jacket (15 sizes too big), which I’m wearing in the photograph. A year later Aaron Rose painted Riot Girl on the back for me. Also written on it but covered up by the box is “remember harvey milk” and “silence = death”.



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More on the Sluttiness Question

Tracey Emin Says Everything Best

Ada, I read your post first thing this morning and these lines about your personal 90s sluttiness really made me want to cheer:

But as far as whoring around? I wish now that I’d done it MORE. For me sex was tied up with adventure.

Your words reminded me of this poem, “Drowning in Flowers,” by Rita Dove, I’ve loved since college, which gets at one of the major reasons that girls have sex that no one ever talks about: CURIOSITY.

So I was thinking about that, and my own lack of regret for my own 90s sluttiness, when I was looking at Marisa’s Tumblr and saw that she reblogged Lesley’s dating advice column. And it struck me that we should stop telling girls to not have sex, since sex doesn’t seem to be the real problem. Instead, we should tell them to follow Lesley’s advice, which is:

Let’s do what we want and go for what we want, and if it doesn’t work out, let’s promise ourselves we won’t take it for personal. Most of the time rejection is protection.

Totally, right?! I was thinking about how this is basically the ultimate truth of dating life, and we should just tell this to as many teenage girls as we can, as I started clicking on links to some of Lesley’s other dating advice columns. And I came to one in which she admits:

For me, I cannot have casual sex. I can lie to myself and think “Whatever! Who cares?” but before you know it, I’m shame spiraling in fetal posish, and newsflash: I CARE.

And my celebration ended.

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