Growing up immersed in the feminist, DIY values of punk, Riot Grrrl, and zine culture of the 1990s and early 2000s gave Eleanor Whitney, like so many other young people who gravitate towards activism and musical subcultures, a sense of power, confidence, community, and social responsibility. As she grew into adulthood she struggled to stay true to those values, and with the gaps left by her punk rock education.
This insightful, deeply personal history of early-2000s subcultures lovingly explores the difficulty of applying feminist values to real-life dilemmas, and embrace an evolving political and personal consciousness. Whitney traces the sometimes painful clash between her feminist values and everyday, adult realities — and anyone who has worked to integrate their political ideals into their daily life will resonate with the histories and analysis on these pages, such as engaging in anti-domestic violence advocacy while feeling trapped in an unhealthy relationship, envisioning a unified “girl utopia” while lacking racial consciousness, or espousing body positivity while feeling ambivalent towards one’s own body.
Throughout the book, the words and power of Bikini Kill and other Riot Grrrl bands ground the story and analysis, bringing it back to the raw emotions and experiences that gave this movement its lasting power while offering a complex, contemporary look at the promises and pitfalls of Riot Grrrl-informed feminism.