I was not a very rebellious kid; I think because my parents so sheltered my sisters and me that I didn't really know what rebellion was. I don't even remember hearing a rock song, or a pop-rock song — folk, opera, classical is what was played in our house — before I turned, I don't know, 8 or 9. That is, with the exception of the '80s musical-video numbers featured on the cartoon "Jem," which my parents, for some reason, allowed us to watch on TV, or at least rent on VHS. I was 5 or 6, so I actually remember very little about the show — besides the New Wave makeup and neon hair and T-shirt dresses and striped berets something about secret identities and rival rock bands and lots of keyboard-playing. But I do remember that it felt ... I don't know, like by watching it we were pulling a fast one on Mom. That there was something about this kind of music, this kind of performance and flamboyance I was witnessing on screen, that she would not approve of, and it was thrilling.
There is, indeed, something subversive about a girl with a guitar (or a drum kit, or an electric bass), which is why I think I love girl rocks bands so much (from The Crystals and The Ronettes to Hole and Sleater Kinney to Veruca Salt and The Savages and even The Spice Girls). And why I particularly love movies about girl rock bands, or girl rockers. I got to write about these movies for Metro, on the occasion of a new one based on my once-beloved "Jem and the Holograms," which apparently is terrible and totally bombed, which is a bummer. Because any movie that shows girls — grrrls — rocking out is still, sadly, kinda radical. And young girls nowadays maybe could see some more portrayals of women forming bands and female bonds and defying stereotypes and just kicking butt in general.
Actualy, I think it's the bonding that, in the end, makes these movies so special and so alive. In the sweet, giddy, and infectious "We Are the Best," which I think is the best film on this list, the three misfit friends who form a punk band to essentially to gripe about how much they hate gym class don't need fame or fortune or even boys (despite a brief flirtation with some teen male punks), all they need is each other to give them the courage and permission to be utterly totally themselves, and to fight the system in any, even the smallest, way they can.
Anyway, read my story, at Metro, for a history of girl-rock films. And, if you want to learn about badass rocker ladies, I suggest you check out Viv Albertine's memoir Clothes Clothes Clothes. Music Music Music. Boys Boys Boys. She was the guitarist for feminist punk band The Slits and is an icon and her book is fabulous, so get it on it!