Sex-Positive Musicians Make You Miss Riot Grrrls

Several female rock groups have taken up the sex-positive mantel, distributing zines on female sexuality (including ejaculation) at their shows. Does this mark a brave new way of approaching sex education? Or is it just another watered-down stunt?

In her piece at On The Issues, Georgia Kral quotes Marisa Meltzer, author of Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, on the power of bands. "Music is such an effective way to educate," she wrote. Two indie all-female groups have begun taking on this task, attempting to educate girls about sex-positive issues and open up the dialogue about female sexual pleasure. Mountain Man, an a cappella folk group from Vermont, distributes zines on female ejaculation at this shows, while Sleep Over, a psychedelic pop group from Texas, hands out "Juicy Stream," a zine and graphic novel about sexuality. But why choose this venue for the message, especially when so much information can be found quickly and easily online? Heather Corinna, the creator of sex-positive website Scarleteen explains:

"Most school settings certainly have different — and far less relaxed or emotionally safe — social dynamics than a concert does. And while there are still plenty of young people who look up to educators, I do think it's safe to say that there are probably more who idolize musicians in bands they really like. Getting a message from someone, whoever they are, who you just think is dope is always going to have more impact."

While the sixteen-year-old me might have laughed at a "sex positive" zine distributed at concerts (and possibly the word "dope"), the 23-year-old version isn't as scornful. When you stop and consider all the sexism you hear pumping out of speakers on a daily basis, sex-positive musicians don't seem as silly or pointless. Pop music is rife with stereotypes, and rap is filled with explicit, sometimes downright rape-y lyrics. So many of our most popular musicians profess very traditional, restrictive, and heteronormative views of sexuality. Though there are a few subversives, unfortunately there is only one Lady Gaga in a world filled with Katy Perrys.

On the other hand, when compared to the balls-out antics of the 90s riot grrls, this "movement" seems rather tame. It makes me kind of miss the in-your-face attitude of The Slits and Bikini Kill. Distributing zines is a step in the right direction, but whatever happened to throwing tampons into crowds? Scrawling "slut" all over your skin? Maybe it's just the tone of the source article, but I don't feel the energy, the passion and the rage, that made riot grrl's message so exciting. While we can't bring back the 90s, it would be rad to see a female musician who could make the sex-positive message thrilling, liberating, and above all, fun.

Indie Music Groups Share Sex Positivity
[On The Issues Magazine]