Girls to the Front : The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution
About the book
At the beginning of the 1990s, the Senate didn't believe Anita Hill, Rush Limbaugh compared feminists to Nazis, and a study found that girls tended to start hating themselves during adolescence. It was a hard time to be a young woman, to be growing up on promises of equal rights that didn't square with reality. Sexual assault rates reached record highs; harassment was rife in the schools; and, boys still would be boys, and girls still had to watch what they wore and where they walked. It was enough to make a girl want to scream. Riot Grrrl roared into the spotlight in 1991: an uncompromising movement of pissed-off girls who had no patience for sexism, no stomach for double standards, and no intention of keeping quiet. Incendiary punk bands - like Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and above all Bikini Kill, fronted by the magnetic, prophetic Kathleen Hanna - spread the word. Thousands of riot grrrls published handmade magazines, founded local groups, and organised conventions. The movement spread from its birthplaces of Washington, D.C. and Olympia, Washington, to the Midwest, Canada, Europe, and beyond. "Girls to the Front", the first-ever history of Riot Grrrl, is a gripping narrative with a sound track: a lyrical, punk-infused chronicle of a group of extraordinary young women coming of age angrily, collectively, and publicly. It's the story of a time when America thought feminism was dead, and feminism seemed to buy into the slacker myths of Generation X, but a generation of noisy girls rose up to prove everybody wrong. Above all, it's a story about looking for your place in the world - and finally creating it yourself.
"For a Second Wave feminist like myself, Girls to the Front evokes wonderfully the way the generation after mine soaked up the promise and the punishment of feminist consciousness: all in all, a richly moving story." -- Vivian Gornick "Compelling... A brash, gutsy chronicle of the empowering music and feminist movement of the early 1990s... Marcus enthusiastically tracks the 'scattered cartographies of rebellion' and captures the combustible excitement of this significant if short-lived moment." -- Publishers Weekly "Marcus has done a commendable job of telling the little-known history of an important social and cultural movement... A compelling history." -- Booklist (starred review) "Original, witty, idealistic and down-to-earth, Girls to the Front is a chronicle of women, girls, music, sexism-and, best of all, what it means to be alive. Reader take heart: Feminism is not dead." -- Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat "Sara Marcus's Girls to the Front is a great & true & real history. Thank God. At last." -- Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls and Inferno (A Poet's Novel) "Feminism seems to change every five years. It's hard to grasp the movement... Girls to the Front is not just a keeper of the flame but brings you to yr own fire." -- Kim Gordon "Stirring... Eloquent... Like Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain did in Please Kill Me... Sara Marcus's Girls to the Front tells the story of riot grrrl, one person at a time." -- Bitch Magazine "Ambitious and convincing... Girls to the Front makes narrative sense out of events that had so far been recorded only in mythic, unverified, and fragmentary form." -- Johanna Fateman, Bookforum "A historical rockument of the revolutionary 90s counterculture Riot Grrrl movement... A rousing inspiration for a new generation of empowered rebel girls to strap on guitars and stick it to The Man." -- Vanity Fair "Girls to the Front is more than just a historical account of the riot grrrl movement. It is a reliving. For those who missed the happenings of that era, this book will make you feel as though you were right there." -- Venus Zine "One hell of an empowering read... A scorching history of the Riot Grrrl movement... There's inspiration here. Read this book and feel it-a renewed energy, in talking about the roles women play in the scenes that we live in today." -- HTMLGIANT "A painstakingly researched and well thought-out tribute to a punk feminist era Sara Marcus clearly holds dear... It should be heralded as an uncannily insightful revelation of the motivations and inner-workings of Riot Grrrl." -- Allison Wolfe, New York Press "Exhilarating... Girls to the Front is the well-documented history Riot Grrrl deserves... Marcus writes with the empathy, grace, and balance of a good war correspondent... Her book will undoubtedly prompt a whole new generation of teenage girls." -- The Los Angeles Times "A fascinaqting social history... In her impassioned study, Marcus focuses on the girls in the crowd as much as stars like Bikini Kill, placing the story in the context of liberalism's post-Reagan crisis and mapping a civilization of Xeroxed jeremiads." -- Rolling Stone
Sara Marcus Biography
Sara Marcus is a writer and musician best known for her 2010 book Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution. She began her writing career as a participant in the riot grrrl movement, writing zines as a teenager in Washington, DC. She subsequently worked as a journalist, writing about music and politics. In 2018, she earned a PhD in English at Princeton University and is an assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.
Early lifeMarcus began writing in the format of self-published zines in 10th grade, first as part of the riot grrrl movement in and around Washington, D.C. and then through her first year of college, where she also worked on student publications. She spent three semesters as an undergraduate at Yale, then transferred to Oberlin, where she graduated in 1999. She next earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. In 2012, she began graduate studies in the English Department at Princeton.
CareerMarcus's 367-page book Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution was published by Harper Perennial in 2010. The project was initially born of Marcus's concern for the way the history of the movement had been chronicled in media, reduced to a mere fashion trend or even a joke, sidelining the central political concerns and getting it "wronger and wronger" as years passed. When she heard a male journalist was considering writing a book on the movement, Marcus felt an urgency about giving her own account to ensure "somebody who knew what they were talking about [would get] it out there...before someone who didn't know what they were talking about got to it first and distorted the story." Through personal activist and musical connections developed both during the Riot Grrrl years as well as later, Marcus had access to major figures of the movement, including Kathleen Hanna, Nomy Lamm, Ananda La Vita, Molly Neuman and Allison Wolfe. In Flavorwire, Jason Gross said, "Few people could have provided such a comprehensive, insider's view of the movement as [Marcus] did." Marcus left her full-time job and enrolled in Columbia's MFA program to pursue the project, then completed it during two stays at the MacDowell Colony.Reviewing the book in the Los Angeles Times, Evelyn McDonnell says Marcus's book "Riot Grrrls' raw, emo agit-pop with a poetic fervor that matches its subject," though close to her subject—Marcus and McDonnell both were participants in the movement—McDonnell suggests Marcus "chronicles the brief-lived rebellion's sometimes nasty downward spiral with perhaps too much sympathetic regret." In Bookforum, Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre wrote, "In passionately describing Riot Grrrl's radical propositions as the youth movement that formed the sharper edges of both feminism's third wave and '90s punk rock, Marcus argues powerfully that it's a spirit of urgency and confrontation still needed in the feminist struggle for girls' lives."Marcus writes about ... Read full biography
|Publisher:||HarperCollins Publishers Inc|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Publication date:||Oct. 1, 2010|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||New York, United States|