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this is probably the best book ever

You know what year came next, right?

A week or so ago, when Joshua Clover requested that Marisa and I sing backup to Roxette at the reading-slash-karaoke for his book “1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About,” we refused.

Because we don’t do karaoke and WE DON’T DO BACKUP.

(Just kidding. I just thought that sounded confrontational in a ’90swoman way.)

Anyway, as far as I am concerned, a book on The Long 90s that explores the deep theoretical connections between (my favorite) feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray’s “Speculum of the Other Woman” “This Sex Which is Not One” and The Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” = heaven. If you agree, go read some excerpts or, better yet, buy the book. Which is actually about, like, history and pop music. And what the fall of the Berlin Wall had to do with The Scorpions’ “Winds of Change.” Or something. While you are waiting for it to arrive, you can make a mix tape….i mean, ipod mix. May I suggest listening to Jesus Jones’ “Right Here Right Now” while you ponder whether or not Pearl Jam really is “forever T.S. Eliot to Nirvana’s Ezra Pound.”–kara


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Chapter One: Did Someone Say Male Gaze?

I still love Laura Mulvey

Ada, I’m not sure I’m going to get into a PhD program, because I have spent my morning watching Beyonce and Lady Gaga on repeat instead of working on my applications.

(But if I have to go back to my old job as a beauty editor, I have a lot to say about Beyonce’s hotness. Also, we might need to have a private conversation about Lady Gaga’s lingerie in the Bad Romance video.)

Anyway, yes, I am totally with you on the many layers of ‘90s feminism in this video and here’s why: As anyone who has read Our Bodies, Ourselves or “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm” knows, ‘60s feminism has always had a totally undeserved reputation for being anti-sex. What ’60s feminism was, I think, was anti-visual–at least in bed. Kinky sex? Yes. Garter belts and bustiers and video phones? No.

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feminist strippers and the new sexual standards


elke krystufek

As someone who would like to get a PhD and also owns a closet full of high heels (those super high ones you had on the other night were cute, by the way), let me see if I can (circuitously) try to answer your questions.

I think we were supposed to find the Fleshbot scene hot. And maybe some 90swomen would? Lots have been involved with sex work—or just sexy work—of some kind: feminist strippers, call girls, burlesque dancers, and sexperts abound (and they all seem to have book deals). If you aren’t totally, unequivocally comfortable with all of this stuff—if you are the kind of girl who would leave a somewhat psychotic-sounding message on your boyfriend’s answering machine one night when he was at a bachelor party and it suddenly dawned on you that A STRIP CLUB MIGHT BE INVOLVED—you are considered a big prude. I am still really glad I left that psychotic-sounding message. Continue reading

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happy birthday, kathleen hanna

Kathleen Hanna, Olympia, WA, 1993, by Alice Wheeleroriginal riot grrrl, feminist performance artist, inspiration. (this picture was taken by alice wheeler in olympia, wa in 1993.)

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I will never doubt Tracey Emin again

Tracey Emin might be the ultimate 90swoman. But in the spirit of her confessional art, I have a confession of my own: I’ve never been sure I’d like her very much in person. But at a reading last Saturday I found out that my skepticism could not have been more misplaced. She was hilarious, smart, self-aware, and complicated. She confidently read a short sketch about all the boys she fucked when she was 13 and 14 but refused to read the end of another story because she said she was far too embarrassed. (Even exhibitionists have their limits.) She brought a glass of wine up to the lectern—it’s true, her pleasure-seeking always gives me a little thrill—but she never took a sip from it. Continue reading

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Pop Culture Made Us Feminists

TraceyEminBefore I engage with your excellent questions: your Billy Idol/90s Lolita mashup image is amazing. As for what got us here: I agree that feminist (or sometimes feminist-y) pop culture had a lot to do with it. I was a latch-key kid living in a small town and didn’t know anyone who called herself a feminist, but Sassy magazine assured me that cool feminist girls were out there. There were zines and riot grrrls and Tori Amos and Phoebe Gloeckner and Francesca Lia Block and Cyndi Lauper and….. I agree with you, too, that most young women don’t want to call themselves feminists–even if they lead feminist lives. Continue reading

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What I Got When I Image-Searched 90s Woman


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