Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

by Sara Marcus


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“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....A richly moving story.” —Village Voice writer Vivian Gornick

Girls to the Front is the epic, definitive history of the Riot Grrrl movement—the radical feminist punk uprising that exploded into the public eye in the 1990s, altering America’s gender landscape forever. Author Sara Marcus, a music and politics writer for Time Out New York,, Pos, and Heeb magazine, interweaves research, interviews, and her own memories as a Riot Grrrl front-liner. Her passionate, sophisticated narrative brilliantly conveys the story of punk bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy—as well as successors like Sleater-Kinney, Partyline, and Kathleen Hanna’s Le Tigre—and their effect on today’s culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061806360
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/28/2010
Pages: 367
Sales rank: 160,454
Product dimensions: 8.26(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Sara Marcus is a write and musician living in Brooklyn, New York. Her prose and poetry have appeared in publications including Slate, Time Out New York, The Advocate, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Heeb, where she was the politics editor for five years. Marcus received an MFA from Columbia University.

What People are Saying About This

Johanna Fateman

“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.”

Kim Gordon

“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.”

Vivian Gornick

“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.”

Brenda Wineapple

“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.”

Eileen Myles

“Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front is a great & true & real history. Thank God. At last.”

Allison Wolfe

“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.”

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Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
dayzd89 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing to read! Unfortunately, I was too young when this movement happened, but I'm still amazed at the strength and creativity of these riot grrrls. I love it when girls are in bands and make their own music. It's a very strong action in a world where girls and women are supposed to be silent and never use their voice. I love Bikini Kill, and I was happy to read about the other riot grrrl bands as well such as Bratmobile and Huggy Bear. I am definitely going to check them out. I think Sara Marcus did an excellent job detailing the origins and events surrounding the riot grrrl revolution. As she points out toward the conclusion, she included everything that she knows happened. It was hard to read the tense moments toward the end when several of the girls started losing touch and the real cause of the movement seemed lost on some of them. The question of race and class is also brought up in the book, which caused conflict later on in the movement. I think this book is a great read for feminists and those interested in women's studies. It's also a great read for those who love music and art, since riot grrrl depended heavily on music and zines. Reading about the feminist zines has inspired me to make my own and to purchase other zines as well. Overall, a wonderful and informative book that completely enraptured me.
lizPA More than 1 year ago
Good overview. Nook formatting doesn't link to footnotes which is frustrating.
allison.sivak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This read in a real 'multi-voiced' way. I liked how Marcus showed numerous viewpoints and had a light touch about having to 'persuade' this reader that one of them was right.
superblue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book, as the title indicates, is a history of the Riot Grrrl movement from its roots to its influence that continues to drive many young women, women musicians, and women working within the DIY arena.I have never read a book that is so absolutely relevant to my life, that tells MY story. But that is what this book does. It describes the movement, putting it into context, offering the confluence of many cultural conditions that came to bear on the formation of a small, disorganized group of artists, musicians, activists, students, and others which came to be called Riot Grrrl. There are interviews with some of the main players of the riot grrrl movement, indie record label execs, zine writers, and many many more about their memories of the movement, lessons learned, shortcomings of the movement, positives that emerged, and so much more. Marcus's writing voice is clear, articulate and never wrapped in complicated academic jargon. She is the perfect narrator, pulling everything together in a way that is not overly confusing nor interested in idolizing the figures involved. She writes not just the facts, but is able to extrapolate the meanings and messages behind the media's twisted and inaccurate portrait that spun the tiny movement much the same ways as the women's rights movement of the 1970s.As I wrote, this book was specifically meaningful to me as someone who was peripherally involved in riot grrrl, writing zines, going to see bands, putting together DIY projects, and discovering a way to talk about the world I experienced it as a young woman coming of age in the 90s. Will it be interesting to someone who was not involved? I have to say that if you have any interest in social movements, the history of underground music and printing, feminism, creativity, art, and what it takes to be a female musician, then yes, this book will interest you.
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