Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nostalgia Isn't Universal

(A version of this was originally published at my now-defunct Tumblr.)

There aren't many feminists my age who don't remember musician Kathleen Hanna -- of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre fame -- scrawling SLUT across her stomach as a way to reclaim the word.

Jessica Valenti from Full Frontal Feminism

I'm one of those feminists who doesn't remember Kathleen Hanna scrawling SLUT on her stomach. I know I write a lot about the influx of 90s subculture nostalgia -- probably too much. But I think it's important to note that not everyone's nostalgia is the same, and not every thirty-something woman's version of the 90s is a press pack neatly stuffed with Bikini Kill, Angela Chase, Daria, and Liz Phair. My memories of the 90s are more piecemeal than that. I was still absorbing the brunt of my pop culture through the usual channels: MTV, commercial radio, mainstream magazines, and whatever my friends were into. When I did realize there was something out there beyond my own little world, a lot of times it was through those same channels. The long-gone fashion magazine Mademoiselle, of all things, introduced me to bands like Sonic Youth and, somewhat inexplicably, Redd Kross, leading me to believe they were much more popular than they were. For a few months in 1992, a couple times each day MTV would deviate from their trifecta of Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots and play something like Juliana Hatfield, but my two of my favorite bands were still AC/DC and Metallica, definitely not cool.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm rewriting my own history to fit some prescribed narrative, and I suspect others do to. It wouldn't be honest to pretend my memories of my late teens and early 20s aren't fragmented and odd. What I'd really like to see, though, are a few more voices added to the mix. Every generation gets to write its autobiography, but its contributors need diversity.

No comments:

Post a Comment