5 Ways To Become a Rebel Girl

What is a Rebel Girl? How can you become one? Read:

1. Support a Cause:
Rebel Girls are aware of what is going on in the world. They help whenever they can, however they can. Rebel Girls are active at all times, whether it be something as little as picking up litter when walking to the bus, or as hardcore as holding fundraiser to raise money for Darfur. These girls demand to be heard, because they know their voices matter regardless of gender, race, or age. They know that change can be made through them-- that by taking action, they are simultaneously helping their cause and
inspiring others.

2. Know Your Shit
Read, research, keep your eyes open. Read Laura Kipnis, read Maria Raha, read Ms. Magazine, read Bitch. Know what is going on right now regarding feminism. If you're just realizing your own potential for rebellion, this is the best place to start. You can't fight for a cause if you don't know how to back yourself up.

3. Dare To Be Different

"Rebel" comes with a slew of connotations, be they good, bad, or James Dean. But I use it in this blog to describe what I see when I look at Amanda Palmer, MIA, Katharine Hepburn, etc. I see women who are unique and unafraid. I see women who take all that is different about themselves, and exploit the hell out of it. These people are not wallflowers. These girls won't lose their V card because their best friends have all done it. These chicks are willing to shop alone, to cut their hair short, to wear something controversial even if everyone might not like it. Accept your quirks. Accept that some people won't "get" you. Because it's so so so much better to be acting the way you want to than to be watering yourself down in fear of being teased.

4. Know Your History
Get familiar with women's history. Just like Knowing Your Shit, but this one is harder. I suggest hitting the library, or a used book store, or buying this secondhand.  Women have had to fight to be heard in the history books. By researching their plight, you are doing them an honor. It's also good to have so that you can put current issues into perspective. Living in developed nations where required reading pretty much boils down to Of Mice and Men and People, it's easy to forget how much women have endured throughout history, and how much they have overcome.

5. Write About It, Sing About It, Illustrate It
No, we're not all artistically gifted, but we are all good at something. Take Kate Bingaman-Burt who started her website Obsessive Consumption as a daily blog of drawings. She draws nearly everything she buys, as a statement and examination of consumerism. This is what I want. I want every girl out there to blog about something, to write her own songs, to write a book, to make a movie, to do something that she can give to the world. Why are you here? Make yourself matter. Rebel Girls write for magazines, they use their natural charm to give speeches on something they believe in, they teach children, they design reusable coffee sleeves... you get my point. Engage yourself in the world. Since the beginning of the time, women have been thought of as "barren minds and fruitful wombs". Prove those motherfuckers wrong.

Photos: personal, Bust, personal, Siouxsie Sioux, and Obsessive Consumption.

Screen Sirens

Elaine Benes of Seinfeld
"I'm not a lesbian. I hate men, but I'm not a lesbian."

I love Elaine. I remember watching Seinfeld as a child and loving Elaine. She's basically my hero. As I've gotten older, I've been able to become more aware of why she stands out to me so much. (Side note: if you don't think Seinfeld has sociological depth, check this out.)

Elaine is the one girl out of a group of four 30-something friends living in New York City. As the token female, her role could have been degraded into a vehicle to expand plot options to "female issues". There could have been episodes where Elaine fussed and complained over her weight, her hair, her clothes, her whatever. And don't get me wrong-- I have seen a couple episodes where Elaine mentions these things, but her hair is definitely less talked about than George or Kramer's. For the most part, Elaine possesses qualities not unlike, well, a man. She's a serial-dater, and often talks about her relationships in terms of sex, instead of commitment. She is portrayed as physically imposing, most often toward George, although she is a petite woman. About a trip with a boyfriend, Kramer remarked, "Boy, a month in Europe with Elaine. That guy's coming home in a body bag." One of her trademark moves is the full-body push against people's chest, accompanied with a "Shut up!". And she is ever-confident in her appearance, once saying, "Is it possible I'm not as attractive as I think I am?" That kind of blithe confidence is an extreme rarity on TV-- women are usually the butt of "insecurity jokes" that are, um, never funny.

Basically everything that a male Seinfeld character can do, Elaine can. She rides the subway alone, she has a successful career, she hates chick flicks. ("What was bad about The English Patient?" "Only that it sucked.") Another notable rebel element in Elaine is her personal beliefs. In one episode that focuses on her being pro-choice, she declared that she wouldn't associate with anyone pro-life. She then meets a hot guy, and they become serious fast. After gushing about it to Jerry, he says "Well, what's his stand on abortion?"
Elaine: What?
Jerry: What is his stand... on abortion?
Elaine: Well, I'm sure he's pro-choice.
Jerry: How do you know?
Elaine: Because he... Well... He's just so good-looking."
Elaine breaks down and asks her new beau, and upon finding that he is indeed pro-life, she dumps him.

Elaine's confidence and boldness is the perfect comic foil for George's crippling insecurity. That the roles are so reversed for those two (George possesses many traditional "female" qualities, and Elaine the "masculine" ones), is telling of what a unique and groundbreaking show Seinfeld really was. Sweet fancy Moses.


Rebels Across History

A Woman Rebels:
Katharine Hepburn
I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex. "

Born in 1907, Katharine Hepburn had a film and stage career that lasted for over seven decades. She was nominated for twelve Best Actress Oscar awards, and won a record-breaking four. Amazing for a person, astonishing for a woman.

Hepburn was dead interesting, and she didn't care if you liked her. She would say anything she thought of-- and luckily she was intelligent and witty enough to pull it off. From her early days, she was a tomboy, and didn't care for "feminine" activities. She idolized her brothers and was even suspended from school for breaking curfew and smoking. "I remember as a child going around with Votes For Women balloons. I learnt early what it is to be snubbed for a good cause," she later said of her early-feminism.

Hepburn pursued acting shortly after graduation from college. She often referred to it as an "embarrassing profession", implying that it was limiting and cheap. However, she was clearly a natural, and wound up working on the stage, then in films full time. Never one to sugar coat the truth, Kate soon earned a reputation in Hollywood as "Katharine of Arrogance". She openly criticized other film stars, refused interviews, and wore mens' suits when women very rarely wore trousers. Her acid tongue earned her a spot on the "Box Office Poison" list, alongside other rebels like Mae West. But her talent was undeniable, and critically responses to her films were overwhelmingly positive.

As a rare Hollywood intellectual, Katharine took on interesting and unconventional roles like that of Jo in Little Women and a character named Pamela Thistlewaite who acts against Victorian social mores in A Woman Rebels. In the classic comedy Adam's Rib, Hepburn's character insists earnestly that a woman is not permitted to do “the same thing, the same, mind you” that a man does. That particular quotation is telling of who Hepburn was, because she always considered her life to be like that of a man's. There's a lot to be learned from someone who can challenge social norms when no one else is trying to. By eschewing typical standards of female beauty in favor of comfort, and being unafraid to "shoot with the boys" (as she famously did during the shooting of The African Queen, Katharine was able to be respected as the talented, well-spoken woman that she was. This compared to stars like Marilyn Monroe who always seemed to be fighting to be treated as more than a pretty face.

Remembering Katharine Hepburn
Absolute Defininition

Rebel Pic of the Day

So I've been trying to get a bit organized, so posts are few and far between at the moment. But fear not, Rebel Girls, there will be new articles and features soon. I'm also trying to get a new header together, but I'm woefully bad at internet-y stuff, so if anyone wants to help, I'd appreciate it!
XO Lee