Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Me on Moxie

Title: Moxie
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan imprint)

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules. Viv's mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and 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. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is bold and powerful, full of fire, of teen girls taking charge and speaking out against sexist classmates and educators. It's all about girls coming together, standing up for and with each other, and claiming their equal space in their school where they don't have to be harassed or catcalled.

Vivian, like most girls at her high school, is tired of the sexist comments, dress code checks, and generally shoddy treatment given to any group or team that isn't boys' football. But what's she going to do? It's a small Texan town, things have always been this way. When Viv starts going through her mom's old high school things, punk rock posters and drawings about girls in charge, taking back what's theirs, she gets an idea. Create a short zine for the other girls of her school, girls who are tired of dealing with random gropes and bra snaps. Girls who want to be treated equally, like people, and not like things for boys to stare at. What Viv didn't think she'd create is a movement, a revolution that the girls of her high school would take up, and an annoyance for the school to try and shut down.

I think this book is so relevant, so current, considering recent comments on identity politics and rise of feminism in teen girls and young women. It touches on how girls are singled out for 'distracting' boys because of their clothing, how white girls are considered prettier than black girls or other girls of colour. It touches on how important it is for girls to come together and support each other, how there's no need to pit girls against each other. I would consider this a must-read for anyone currently attending high school and to anyone currently working in a middle school or high school. I would definitely recommend this to teen girls, to those looking for ways to stand up and speak out.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Raincoast Books.)

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