Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back at the RiotGrrl movement of the 90s reveals as many flaws as it does strengths - it was a safe space for women tackling issues of sexuality, violence, and anger during a political period when teenage girl autonomy was the monster lurking under the bed of puritanical America. But only a safe space predominately for girls of a certain type (white, cisgender, straight.) Despite the shortcomings, the DIY culture it sparked continued on, and the doors it opened for women to scream their hearts out into microphones still reverberates today in bands that break the mold that Riotgrrl created.
— From Sarah C.
“Not only a historical rockument of the revolutionary 90s counterculture Riot Grrrl movement. . . but also 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 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, Slate.com, 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.
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.
“Not only a historical rockument of the revolutionary 90s counterculture Riot Grrrl movement, which birthed the DIY feminist punk scene, but also a rousing inspiration for a new generation of empowered rebel girls to strap on guitars and stick it to The Man.” — Vanity Fair
“Exhilarating. . . . 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.” — Los Angeles Times
“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
“A fascinating 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
“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
“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
“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)
“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
“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
“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
“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