March 7, 2008

Review: Girls Rock

I loved everything about Girls Rock! I loved that the movie told the story of girls who come together to embrace (or discover) their musical and creative sides. I loved that these girls found a place where they could truly be themselves with no consequences. I loved that women rockers who had been through what these girls are experiencing -- feeling like a freak and unsure of yourself and your place in the world -- were able to show them the light at the end of the tunnel. And, I especially liked that this was a film about something important and it was still fabulously fun and entertaining.

I remember how much it sucks being a girl who is not exactly made from the cookie cutter mold, and watching these girls struggle with identity made me so glad to be done with that. While many things have changed for the better since I was a girl (like the very fact that there is a rock and roll camp for girls) some things have gotten a lot worse namely the pressure to be thin and to conform. Rock camp is a space for girls to be themselves, to embrace their voices and to roar. (They actually make them yell as loud as they can.) It also helps them to develop communication and team type skills as their bands work together to write music and lyrics for the concert that happens at the end of the week. The camp also teaches self-defense and gives girls other tools to survive the boxes that girls get put in by our culture.

The statistics strewn the film just make you want to cry including the fact that women are only 22% of musical performers in music videos (but are a majority of the scantily dressed fans); and that teen girls spend $43 billion on fashion and beauty products.

Directors Shane King and Arne Johnson are incredibly respectful about their portraits of the four girls highlighted in the film. It's not often that I say this, but these guys really get it, and people who work with girls can take some important lessons from this film on how men and women can work together to help improve the lives of girls.

Here's what the directors had to say:

The persistence of the questions [about why men would be interested in making a movie about girls] has brought another issue to mind, and that is the embarrassment we have had to confront about the idea that a man would care about women's issues. It's perfectly acceptable for a straight white man to publicly protest the mistreatment of homeless people or a racist miscarriage of justice. But if a man speaks passionately about the mistreatment of half of the world's population- their lovers, daughters, nieces, mother, grandmothers, aunts, sisters- there seems to be some kind of shame attached. Like you're somehow "going to the other side" or being a weak man.

We care what happens to women...we want them to be full participants in our culture, not just because of fairness and equality, but also because life is richer when their voices are heard.

And so we embrace these questions about being men making this movie, because it gives us an excuse to talk in ways that men don't usually.
AMEN- Go see this film!

Film opens today in NY, LA, Seattle, Portland, SF and Chicago and will roll out in other cities this spring. For info on the film and where it is showing: Girls Rock!