Tag Archives: 90swoman

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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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.

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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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Grunge Barbie?!

Plaid flannel?! Boots?! Frizz?!

Mikki, thank you for sending this! More about it here.


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