Back when I was a freshman in high school, a senior made a short documentary about a group of extremely young feminists in my class who were dismissed as “dirty girls.”
Harper was also a freshman and her younger sister Amber was still in middle school, but they and their friends were wrestling with and protesting social, cultural and criminal injustices against women in a way that just seemed to piss off the other kids—especially the other girls.
All these years later, that video has gone viral, and the two sisters have been blown away by the support they’ve gotten from complete strangers. You can read their follow-up interview with Vice here, and watch the original “Dirty Girls” documentary by Michael Lucid from 1996 below.
The setting is Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences. A lot of wealthy kids go there, but it’s a place that has always tried to foster creativity and even a bit of rebellion. It’s interesting to me, as a former student, to see classmates who, I’m certain, thought of themselves as feminists and artists ridiculing younger girls for finding their own voice and identity. This was in the 1990s, when alternative music and culture was at its most fashionable, and there’s something really obnoxious about the girls in their flannels just home from Lollapalooza bashing the real alternative culture taking shape in their midst. I guess high school is just high school, no matter how you dress it up.
—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer. Follow him on Twitter: @peesch.