By Sophie Rae
In the first month of Grrrl Beat’s existence, I posted an article called “Poison Girls” as a part of the Riot Grrrl Weekend series. Today, a girl from Brazil named Carla Duarte posted a translated version on her blog. Check it out here: http://ansia2.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/aqueles-zines-dos-anos-90-i-heart-amy.html
Below is a great infographic compiled by Jen Rhee. Check it out!
Alanna Why is a 17-year-old from Ottawa, Canada. She makes the zines “Puker Nation”, “Backwaves” (about Richard Simmons, and “Scoopin’ Times.” Check out some excerpts of her zines below! (Also check out her articles on zine history and how to make a zine!)
Check out Alanna’s tumblr.
Supercute! is a band from Brooklyn, NY composed of members Rachel Trachtenburg, Julia Cumming, Olivia Ferrer, and Jacqueline Russo. Supercute! started in 2009 and have since released an EP and toured twice with singer-songwriter Kate Nash. I’ve had the honor of playing tons of shows with Supercute! over the past few years and was so excited to meet Rachel and Julia for milkshakes a few weeks ago to ask them some questions.
How did you meet and start playing together?
Julia: My dad used to play bass for Rachel’s dad so we used to hang out when we were younger. Then when Rachel was fifteen, she asked me if I wanted to play in a band with her. So I asked my friend June if she wanted to join and we all started playing music together. And it’s been like that since 2009!
How would you describe your music?
Rachel: We call it psychedelic-indie-bubblegum.
You have such a unique sound. What are your influences?
Rachel: Julia and I are both very influenced by our parents’ tastes, we both grew up with a lot of classic rock, psychedelic, and glam. So we’re definitely inspired by stuff from the past. But we’re also really influenced by things that are happening in New York with local artists.
Julia: I think we’ve really stuck with the original idea of the band while letting it grow, too. Like, we’ve kept the ukuleles, but turned them into a more respected instrument and tool for songwriting. All of that adds to the sound we’ve created.
What is the response generally like to your music?
Julia: It really depends, it’s very mixed.
Rachel: Yeah, like we have super fans and then people who think we’re a joke.
Are there any trends you’ve noticed?
Julia: Well it can be a lot of…
Rachel: Don’t say 50 year old men.
Julia: Yeah, I was going to say creepy old dudes (laughing).
Rachel: It has a wide range, from 2 year olds to like, 80 year olds. But mostly I think it’s stoned out college kids, those are the real fans.
Julia: Yeah, cause they can kind of get into the weirdness and understand all the different levels.
Rachel: And they get the dorkiness.
What’s been your favorite experience as a band?
Rachel: I think the Kate Nash tour was my favorite. We toured twelve countries in Europe with her on a double-decker tour bus. That was a total dream. We played for anywhere from 500 to 3000 people.
Julia: Whenever we get articles that’s really great too, cause you know you’re reaching a lot of cool people.
Rachel: Yeah, we’ve had big features in Bust, Nylon, and the Times, and those are really exciting.
Julia: But every show is really just great. We’ve played a lot of different kinds of shows. For a while we were in the comedy circuit, when we were writing more theatrical songs. We became friends with Jeff Garlin and some really cool comedians that were doing shows here.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a band?
Rachel: Being in a band (laughs). You know, being in a band as a teenage girl can be tough sometimes.
Julia: Yeah. When June left the band, that was really hard. There were just so many layers of confusion and sadness. But Rachel and I really pulled it together to stick with our dreams for the band. But it was hard, losing a friend like that, who we haven’t been able to stay in touch with. And also just balancing life can be hard. But we get better at that as time goes on.
Rachel: We’ve had some big bumps in the road but I think that’s a struggle that every band goes through where you just become like a family. You know, you’re pursuing creative career paths and growing different ways but you’re still best friends. You get so emotionally invested.
Julia: It’s like, the love is unconditional, but you have to keep figuring out how to grow and work with it.
You said before that it’s hard to be a teenage girl in a band, why is that?
Rachel: Well, it’s just hard to be a teenage girl. (laughs).
Julia: That’s how I felt when I saw the teenage girls in the Olympics and they have all these cameras in their faces and every moment is on them and it’s just hard enough to be 17 and then to be in front of the whole world… to make yourself an object of ridicule…
Rachel: Or like when you write a song and by the time it comes out you’re so beyond that. Like our song, “Not to Write About Boys”– songs that we put so much love into but then you hear it a few months later and you’re just like, “ew”.
Julia: It’s like, everyone says that kids should stop being so lazy and then you put something out there and get ridiculed for it. But at the same time you know you’re doing something really special and cool.
Rachel: Yeah, it always pays off once you’re onstage. All the booking shows and dealing with all that stuff, being on stage makes everything worth it.
Why don’t you like your song “Not To Write About Boys” anymore?
Rachel: I wish that song had never been written.
Julia: It got us a lot of things, put us on the map in a lot of different ways. And I guess it’s not a bad song…
Rachel: It captures that moment.
Julia: Yeah, that’s what’s important. It’s just about realizing like, this is what was going on then and now that’s not going on anymore, and that’s ok. Making peace with your silliness.
What are the goals of your band?
Rachel: To be touring a lot. Just to travel and see the world and show our art to people, that’s the goal. But there’s school and there’s parents, there are things that hold us back in certain ways. We just want to grow as artists and develop a fan base that’ll stick with us as individuals as we move forward.
Julia: To be able to make cool art together and live a cool life of doing amazing things for yourself and for the world.
Would you identify your band as feminist?
Rachel: That’s a very complicated question.
Julia: We consider ourselves a politically active band and we think about a lot of different causes.
Rachel: We want every song to have a deeper message, whether it’s about society or animal rights. Feminism is definitely something we think about a lot which comes up a lot for us.
It’s something I’ve thought a lot about for myself, whether to identify as a feminist musician or not, or if that takes away from what you’re doing in a certain way.
Rachel: Yeah, like I say that we’re a teen girl band every day, but does that detract from it? It shouldn’t matter.
Julia: Just by being a chick and putting yourself out there, people are going to expect certain things of you. It’s like, either you’re a feminist musician or you’re not. But it’s not just black and white.
Rachel: But we have played some really cool shows with feminist organizations, like Permanent Wave, and every time we get involved it’s really amazing and inspiring.
What are you guys working on right now?
Julia: Well, we recorded our first album last October, so a long time ago. We’ve been working on mixing it and getting it done as soon as possible, which has been delayed by a film project we’re working on.
Rachel: We’re also working on writing for our second album, which we’ll hopefully be working on with Stevie Moore whose like this low-fi veteran god. We’re huge fans.
Do you have any advice for young musicians?
Rachel: Just do it, and don’t look back. One of my favorite quotes is, “It’s better to be a has been than to be a never was.” So you just have to do it and have fun and know that it’s what you want to do.
Julia: Don’t apologize for it, or regret anything that’s made you the way that you are. Just take it, and make great art out of it.
By Talia bat Pessi
For today’s young feminists, the name Phyllis Schlafly may be totally unfamiliar; if anything, it triggers a distant memory of a footnote in an AP US History textbook. Those activists who lived and fought during the Second Wave are, however, all too familiar with the uber-conservative activist.
Ever since the 1940s, Schlafly has preached that women should be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. She has said things like “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape,” and has called Roe v. Wade “the worst decision in the history of the US Supreme Court.” She recently endorsed the candidacy of Todd Akin, of “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” infamy. In the 1970s, when states were voting on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Schlafly waged the STOP ERA campaign. Although she believes womankind as a whole should be homemakers, she apparently doesn’t apply this rule to herself, considering she traveled around the country as part of STOP ERA. Her efforts were, unfortunately, successful; the ERA, which would ensure that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” was only ratified by 35 out of 38 states necessary. (Although the ERA was not passed in the 20th century, modern feminists have renewed interest in the amendment have resumed lobbying for its ratification.)
Given the above description, I think it’s impossible to call Schlafly a groundbreaker for women’s rights. For some reason, makers.com seems to disagree.
According to its website, makers.com is a “dynamic digital platform…showcasing hundreds of compelling stories from women of today and tomorrow.” There is also an affiliated documentary titled MAKERS: Women Who Make America that “will tell the story of the women’s movement through the firsthand accounts of the leaders, opponents, and trailblazers who created a new America in the last half-century.” One part of the website showcases “Groundbreakers,” whom the website defines as “firsts in their fields, visionary role models or frontline activists who sparked, and some who opposed, change for women.” To the amazement of feminists, Phyllis Schlafly is included as a Groundbreaker along with women like Gloria Steinem and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
My mentor, National Organization for Women (NOW) cofounder Sonia Pressman Fuentes, was extremely disturbed by this gross misrepresentation. She asked Betsy West and Dyllan McGee, the producers of makers.com and the filmmakers of the forthcoming documentary based on it, to remove Schlafly from the website and film. They refused, deciding to twice change the definition of Groundbreakers until they settled on the one quoted above. Although the newest definition of a Groundbreaker includes those who opposed women’s rights, it still makes no sense. “Since when are those who oppose progress considered groundbreakers?” Ms. Fuentes asks.
Additionally, although makers.com claims to include women alive today who were instrumental in changing women’s status during the last 50 years, the website and documentary do not include a single one of the nine living NOW cofounders. “This is unconscionable,” Ms. Fuentes said. When Ms. Fuentes complained about Schlafly’s inclusion and the noticeable dearth of NOW members, Betsy West offered to interview her several times in a clear effort to buy her off. Ms. Fuentes declined to be interviewed until Schlafly is taken off of makers.com, or at the very least switched from the status of Groundbreaker to something more accurate, like “opposition.”
To urge PBS and AOL (makers.com’s sponsors) to remove Schlafly from makers.com or, at least, remove her from the designation of Groundbreaker, Ms. Fuentes and I made an online petition. We’ve gotten a lot of support in a short amount of time, and that means so much to the both of us. However, to get the attention of makers.com, PBS, and AOL we need we need to make this thing huge. Sign the petition here. Send the link to your friends, family, neighbors, and any organizations with which you are affiliated or that you think would be interested in this issue. Understanding the history of women’s rights is essential to ending gender inequality. Unless we ensure herstory is preserved correctly in websites and documentaries like makers.com, how can we expect to learn from the past and improve the future?
By Sophie Rae
A few weeks ago I saw “The Invisible War” at a screening hosted by NOW-NYC and I can honestly say it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. The film investigates the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military, including interviews with several people who were victims of sex crimes while serving. The stories and statistics presented in this film are truly shocking and upsetting, revealing years and years of horrendous injustice committed against the very people who defend our country. Much of the information in the movie is pretty difficult to hear, but I think that this movie is so incredibly important and I recommend that everyone see it.
You can rent the movie online by clicking here.
find a screening in your area by clicking here.
For more information go to, http://invisiblewarmovie.com/.
Last Tuesday, Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center and chairwoman of Women of the Wall was arrested when she took a group of over two hundred women to pray together in the women’s section of the Wall (see my article on women at the Western Wall here). Hoffman was arrested for “disturbing the peace” and “endangering the public good,” simply because she wore a tallit (prayer shawl) and said the Shema (a Jewish prayer) out loud. Hoffman and other members of Women of the Wall have been arrested many times before, but this arrest in particular has caused an outrage across the Jewish world because of its especially violent nature. Below is an excerpt Hoffman’s official statement in response to her arrest, released two days ago:
“It was a traumatic experience. I was pulled along the ground by my wrists, strip-searched, shackled by the hands and feet and left to sleep on the floor of a jail cell with nothing to keep me warm but my tallit.
The treatment I received was designed to make women scared of entering the Western Wall complex with a tallit. Women wearing prayer shawls are common all over the world. Only in Israel does this simple act meet with such intense pressure. You have to remember that when I enter a room of Israelis with my tallit, most of them have never seen a woman wear one before.
So why do I do it? The reason is simple: if women do not stand up for their rights the religious authorities in Israel will continue to push women further and further out of sight. Hopefully the more regular Israelis see me and other women wearing tallitot, the better they will come to understand that it is not religious subversion on our part.
I respect Jews who pray differently than me, and I understand that many women do not wish to wear a tallit. But there are millions of Jewish women who do wish to pray at the Western Wall with a tallit. Enabling them to do so in peace and safety was never meant to infringe on the rights of others. It simply means that there is more than one way to be a Jew.”
Though Women of the Wall and other organizations have made great strides towards gender equality in Israel, this incident makes it clear that there is still a long way to go. I hope that revulsion at this arrest will inspire people to fight for equality in Israel.