ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
The Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University launched its 25th Anniversary celebration with Girls Rock!, a daylong multimedia exploration and demonstration of music as an empowering force for girls and women. As part of that celebration, selections from Barnard’s Zine library depicted the strong bonds between music and zines in the exhibit Girls Write.
Co-sponsored by Columbia’s Africana Studies, Institute for Research in African American Studies, Music Department, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women, Girls Rock! showcased young musicians from the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. The camp is a non-profit music and mentoring program dedicated to the empowerment of girls and women. It is named after Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, a blues and rock performer/songwriter who was one of the first women to play the music that came to be known as “rock n’ roll,” as the camp’s website explains.
Zines bring together the many voices in rock music and feminist activism. Through personal, political and do-it-yourself writings, zines tell the story of the youth and subculture scene(s) they represent. Barnard’s Girls Write exhibit re-engages the conversation about race and class from riot grrrl movement of 1990s in interviews with musicians from bands including Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Cub, Le Tigre, Lois and others.
Girls Write lets us hear from girls and young women of another era who were strengthening their critical muscle while exploring their passion for music and their drive to foster community in creative, uncensored and sometimes audacious and brash ways.