a monthly look at the faces
that have made history

The Girls
of Grunge

1991 sucked. That's what we would have said at the time, back when we were stroppy teenagers. Because, you know, everything sucked. Always. Looking back, though, it's got to be said: '91 kind of ruled, especially the music.

It was the year of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten, the year that punk broke and became "grunge." Both albums are being commemorated in a variety of ways this year (the latter via a Cameron Crowe-directed film cleverly titled Pearl Jam Twenty), but we'll leave the obsessing to the Gen X music journos who cared more about those albums than we did. Instead, we'll point out that above-noted contributions from the boys aside, 1991 also initiated a very good time for the girls.

The nineties were a decade when women were kicking against the pricks, from the pages of Bust and Sassy to the '66 Thunderbird in which Thelma and Louise made their getaway. One of the salutary effects of grunge (which, right on time, is experiencing a revival on the runways) was that it wrote women a permission slip to wear a sneer, paint on a brick-red lip, clip in any number of plastic hair barrettes, and adopt a "hell no!" attitude. Here's to that.

—Maya Singer

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