Tag Archives: girl culture

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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in the 90s, “guys were out of fashion”

blake nelson's 90swoman book "girl"

when marisa and i were working on our sassy book, one of our favorite interviews was with blake nelson, who wrote short stories that christina kelly serialized in sassy and that later became the book girl. (one of our other favorite interviews was with former staff boy/current spin magazine editor charles aaron. who knew that 90smen would have some of the best stuff to say about 90swomen?) in this article for bust, our good friend and future emp panel moderator mikki interviews blake about all kinds of important things.

Here’s what he says about writing a novel with a girl as the main character:

“I think the reason I did a girl back in 1994 was because girls were in people’s minds then. It was the era of Sassy. The era of second wave feminism or whatever. Riot Grrl. Girls were just more interesting at that time. Guys were out of fashion.

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You Oughta Know, Fuck and Run, and the Pain of 90swomanhood (or girlhood)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8IwrpqTfEYAda, after reading Lisa’s chicklit article, and spending a little time laughing meanly to myself about the genre being “about and for today’s lukewarmest girls,” I felt compelled to do two things:

  1. Listen to Fiona Apple sing “Mistake” on repeat. (Lines include “I’m gonna make a mistake/I’m gonna do it on purpose” and “I’m gonna fuck it up again.”)
  2. Re-read Deborah Solomon’s interview with Cyndi Lauper from a few years ago. In it, Solomon says, “I think of ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ as the first feminist-backlash song. It came out in the 80’s and goes against the preachy and high-minded tone of 70’s feminism.” Cyndi replies, “That’s not true! It’s totally feminist. It’s a song about entitlement. Why can’t women have fun?”

I was eight when that song came out, and I totally agree. Though the point I want to make here is that the song is actually about girls—a big focus of 90s feminism, from riot grrrl and Sassy to Carol Gilligan and the novel Girl. (An issue we might want to come back to in February when Marisa’s book on 90s music and girl power comes out.)

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