I think Marisa Meltzer is brave for writing this book. There are probably a lot of women out there that know its primary sources as well as she does and who will think she left out x or misinterpreted y. I am not one of those women, though. I have expertise in the zine side of riot grrrl, but know very little about the bands, so I was psyched to read this short, personable history with a certain amount of memoir thrown in.
Actually, perzine fan that I am, I would have liked even more of the personal stuff--it's mostly at the beginning and the end--but I can see how that could have been offputting to more typical readers. Then again that might have helped answer the people who are going to say, "I can't believe you left out x or misinterpreted y!" If it is clearly Meltzer's story, then they can pick up a keyboard and write their own if they want it told differently. She does indicate that the book follows her own taste and experience and she asserts that it's not comprehensive of all of the girl music in the 90s, leaving out hip hop, metal, and country.
I dogeared half a dozen pages, and though I'd planned to give the book away (I keep very few books.), I realized halfway through that I needed to keep it, as a resource for my own research interests. Some notes:
- Find the film Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
- Good analysis of the riot grrrl media blackout. I think it was a stunningly powerful act myself, but I appreciate Meltzer's take that it did nothing to reduce riot grrrl's white/middle class elitist cliqueish nature.
- The passage about Camp Trans at MWMF made me happy. "It was at once the purest, most raw and honest, and most unlikely expression of girl (or whatever gender you may choose) power that I have ever, or will ever, experience. I wasn't even there for the traditional full week--just a long weekend--and yet afterward it felt like I had to adjust to life back in the patriarchy." p.69
- Read the book The Body Project: an Intimate History of American Girls, which examines 100 years of American girls' diaries.
- Something she said about watching videos on YouTube got me to thinking that's a good analogy for the zines vs. blogs argument. Reading a blog post is watching a concert on YouTube, reading a zine is like being there. What do you think?
- Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls ♥ ♥ ♥
- And since you know how much I care about such things, there is a lovely four page bibliography/filmography and an index--no entry for "zines" though--wtf?
Oops. I totally don't want to end this review on a wtf, so let me say that Girl Power is an attractive, well-produced book that never forgets its feminist politics, but also allows itself to embrace the Spice Girls.