I often wonder how I turned out the way that I did. Despite all the curve balls my childhood threw me, I ended up relatively normal. Let me state for the record that I am using the term “relatively” very, very loosely. My Mother, who is a fantastic woman, wasn’t exactly the greatest role-model growing up – well she was in regards to the point I learned at an early age that instead of having bottles of wine you should always spring for the box, and that constant existential life crises are encouraged and allowed. I chalk it up to the fact that perhaps I’ve got semi-decent genetics (with the exception of my late onset adult acne), and I also had a baller sister to commiserate with. She was the Uncle Jesse to my Michelle Tanner, sharing life lessons and reminding me to always “have mercy.” In thinking about this subject matter I also realized this: As females we grew up with some pretty great role-models in our pop culture society. The days of Miley Cyrus, Snooki, and a rag-tag team of Armenian sisters being who we looked to in the media were not yet upon us – instead we preferred the likes of Lisa Lobe and Lisa Simpson to show us the ropes. I’ve decided I needed to compile a list of all the ladies, who paved the way and played a part in who I am today.
Alex Mack – Bitch turned into liquid metal and slank around the town of Paradise Valley like she didn’t give a what. After getting hit by a truck on her first day of Junior High (like middle school isn’t rough enough) she got covered in a top-secret chemical that gave her telekinesis, the ability to zap bolts of electricity from her fingers, and the capacity to morph into a mobile puddle of metallic liquid. Plus, Larisa Oleynik was totally hot and wore a lot of backwards hats which made me question her sexuality and like her even more.
The Spice Girls – Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want. Five babes with cockney accents that gallivant about whilst preaching about “Girl Power” and wearing booty shorts. While I have conflicted thoughts about the latter, I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t have a closet sized full length poster of Ginger Spice, or that I didn’t own her commemorative doll. No, I won’t tell you what I did to that doll.
Clarissa – What is there to say about Clarissa? She already explained it all. First things first – she has been, and always will be, my fashion inspiration for the rest of my life. Not that the 90’s was too rigid when it came to clothing restrictions, but she made wearing obnoxiously mismatched patterns and coveralls with one strap undone a thing. She had a pet alligator and a boy that casually climbed a ladder to her window on the regular. She also tackled the hard issues of adolescence pretty authentically – talking about everything from getting her first pimple, to her first training bra.
Blossom – Blossom was legit, in fact – she was too legit to quit. She was basically the Zooey Deschanel of her time – bringing her unapologetic quirkiness and floppy hats to TV screens all across the country. She had a best friend named Six, which made us all want a best friend name who was named Six, and of course Joey Lawrence and his signature catch phrase which solely consisted only of the word: “Woah!”
Rayanne Graff – If anyone is the absolute yin to my yang as far as 90’s girls go, this is “the one.” It’s still absolute blasphemy to me to this day that ‘My So-Called Life’ only lasted one season, because Jordan Catalano aside; it was just a really great show. Rayanne burned hot, bright, and fast. She smoked in the bathrooms in High School, drank until she had to get her stomach pumped, and was voted to have the “Most Slut Potential,” in her sophomore year. She was the girl you were totally horrified of in High School but also secretly wanted to be friends with. She lived recklessly, but she was a good friend and always took care of her people which included Angela and her gay BFF Rickie.
Cher- Who didn’t want Cher’s closet from the movie ‘Clueless?’ Correction: Who doesn’t still want Cher’s closet from the movie ‘Clueless?’ Her life may have looked like a Noxema commercial and she totally bones her stepbrother, but I’ve still got a spot in my heart for her. If you feel differently I only have these things to say to you: As if and whatever. Also, you left your Cranberries CD in the quad and you should probably go get it before somebody snags it.
Kelly Kapowski – Kelly Kapowski taught me at a young age that perfection was entirely possible. Sure the other ‘Saved by the Bell’ girls were great, but they had their flaws. Jessi Spano was like that one girl in College who took one Women’s Studies course and then was impossible to be around, Lisa was kind of into herself and overly mean to Screech Powers, and lesser character Violet Bickerstaff was played by Tori Spelling which is a good enough reason to dislike anyone. Kelly Kapowski defied the laws of of existence. She was Captain of the Bayside Tiger’s Cheerleading Squad, and the apple of Zach Morris’ eye. Let us not also forget her musical talents as a singer in both the bands “Zach Attack,” and the “Hot Sundaes.” Is there anything this girl can’t do?
TLC – TLC gave me a reason to use the word “sexy” at the age of nine, when I bought my first ever CD “CrazySexyCool.” TLC was great because they encompassed all of the general Girl Power and badassery of the Spice Girls, but in a way that was a little more dangerous and hood. Although I appreciated T-Boz and Chilli, I always liked Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez the best mostly in part because you could tell she was the kind of crazy where she knew and didn’t even care, but also based on her rap solo at the end of the song ‘Waterfalls.’
Stephanie Tanner – DJ was responsible, Michelle was always too young and busy saying “You’ve got it dude;” Stephanie Tanner was the “wild child” (as wild as a Tanner girl can be) that tried a cigarette once with her friend Gia in the bathroom, and occasionally did something crazy like ride in a car with boys who drove too fast. She let us know it was okay to assert ourselves if something was rude, and her mistakes taught us very valuable lessons as Uncle Jesse, Joey, or Danny Tanner corrected the error of her ways as sappy music played in the background.
Britney Spears – How could you mention the women of the 90’s without mentioning Britney Spears? She makes Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus look like assholes who couldn’t fight their way out of a metaphorical paper bag (and you know I love me some T Swift.) What I’m saying is Britney created a goddamn empire that paved the way for these ladies. Remember when she dated Justin Timberlake? Thank god they didn’t end up together because had they had a child or something the world would probably explode or that child would single-handedly take over the world and kill us all with it’s good looks. I also really liked when she started shaving her head and hitting cars with umbrellas; it showed authenticity.
With all these women it’s no wonder I grew up to be such an upstanding model of divine feminine power and mystique. And I’ve only unleashed the tip of the iceberg – we had Buffy slaying vampires, Courtney Love and Celebrity Skin, Gwen Stefani not singing about bananas, and Jennifer Aniston’s haircut was also there – whether or not we liked it. If I’ve forgotten anyone, and I’m sure I have, please don’t hesitate to comment angrily – using lots of CAPS LOCKS and exclamation points to call me out on how piss poor my commitment to all things 90’s are. Now go chase some waterfalls, don’t just stick to the rivers and the lakes that your used to because that’s kind of lame. Didn’t you learn anything from this?