Wow, this is my first review in over a year! I’m not gonna lie, I had to go look over one of my previous reviews to get an idea of a “how to” almost. It’s been so long, but I finally read a book on a topic that I am very passionate about and I had a lot of say. Lately, I’ll read a book and I don’t feel compelled to do a long review on it, even if I enjoyed it. But that all changes now! This might be one of my favorite reviews I’ve ever done so I really hope you enjoy.
by Jennifer Mathieu
my rating: 5 out of 5 stars
book description via Goodreads:
Moxie girls fight back!
Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
Girls are a Revolutionary soul force that can change the world for real.
This was a wonderful girl power book and a good example as to why girls need feminism. While the football boy’s actions and treatment towards the girls may be a little exaggerated, they also weren’t. I was reflecting back to when I was in high school and saw boys doing the bump and grab (having the bump and grab done on me), the make me a sandwich joke, lots and lots of slut shaming, and doing the competitive “Which Girl is the Hottest” bullshit that they did in this book. Reading this reminded me of those instances and made me feel angry all over again and this book assured me that it was valid to be angry about those instances. It also makes me wish that I had done something like this back in my high school days.
One major thing that I really liked about this book overall was while it was very feminist it wasn’t man-hating, it wasn’t overly angry, it was just truthful about the shit that girls have to put up with and are silenced into turning the other cheek. It also made a wonderful argument to that “I’m not a feminist, I believe in equality.” statement. There was a lot of girls supporting girls that always makes me so happy to see, there was no judgment and showed how all types of girls need feminism and each other to fight the toxic masculinity that treats girls like they are objects, not human beings.
There were so many great points about why dress codes are bullshit and incredibly sexist. I personally have no memorable experience with seeing boys wear sexual shirts to school and getting away with it, but I see the pictures online and have no doubt in believing them. I do wish one thing about the Moxie zine about dress code protest section, I wish this line had been in it “Dress codes tell girls that a boys education is more important than their own.” Because its true! Especially in this book because classes were interrupted while the girls were inspected by male administrators and then taken out of class if they “violated” the dress code.
First of all, doesn’t that sentence make your skin crawl? The male administrators close up and examining the girl’s appearance? That made my skin crawl and send a chill down my spine all at once. I can only imagine how humiliating and degrading it must feel and to know that there are girls who face that every day? Seeing the male administrators sexualizing the girls is just not okay.
That bathrobe scene with Kate was just amazing though, super top notch, one of my favorite parts of the entire story.
The biggest problem with a lot of feminist books and even in the history is that they haven’t been very inclusive with WOC, Transgirls, and bisexual girls just to name a few. This book was a lot better about it, there were two WOC involved and super passionate about the movement yet it could have been a little bit better. There was only one f/f scene and it felt added on I guess and it was never really mentioned again. To introduce a lesbian couple hiding their relationship and never follows up? There was also no mention of transgirls at all so could have been better.
The zines were such a fun piece and really showed the power that words have, the quote the pen is mightier than the sword comes to mind. I saw another review (that is fantastic btw and you should go check it immediately over at Chapter Break) who pointed out that Vivian being super quiet and shy was very important which I hadn’t thought on at all but it shows that even the quiet behind the scene girls can make a huge difference.
I loved the love interest as well, he was so supportive of Vivian and while he did fuck up at points, (the times he said “not all guys are like that), he was also willing to take a step back to listen and learn how he could be supportive, which was so great to see.
I do wish Vivian had been comfortable to go to her mom about what she doing with Moxie and all the zines instead of hiding it away. I would have loved to see her mom reminisce about what she used to do and realize that it’s her daughters time to take the mantle I guess. I don’t know, I just think it would have been so great to use the mothers past in a way that would have been encouraging and supportive of how her daughter was fighting back.
By the way, if you are ever wanting to fall into a deep Wikipedia hole go and learn more about the Riot Grrrls movement in the 90s, it’s fantastic and super interesting. The author added in a reference list in the back of Moxie that was full of websites to check out, books to look into, a documentary. Also, If you are not listening to Bikini Kill while reading this then what are you doing with your life. Just kidding but it was a fun background music that kinda added to the story for me. If you can’t stand to listen to music and read at the same thing then forgot all I said and listen to it afterward. I recommend Rebel Girl of course and Double Dare Ya. Add on Cherry Bomb by The Runaways and Joan Jett and you have a great start to a Moxie Girl playlist
Remember: Moxie girls fight back!