Amy Poehler’s banal “Moxie” is a dream of a rebel girl


Feminism as a philosophy shifts culture, shapes policy, promotes equality,  protects women’s rights, our bodies, health and safety.

Feminism as a brand sells fashion, music and movies

Somewhere in between these two truths sits “Moxie,” Amy Poehler’s cinematic celebration of riot grrrls, cropped motorcycle jackets and the awesome power of the ‘zine. Remember those? Probably not, if you were born any time after, I don’t know, 1985? (Kids, “zines” are the olds’ versions of blogs, the grandparent to Facebook, which is the obsolete version of your Instagram feed.)

But to women of a certain age those do-it-yourself mags were lifelines, a low-to-no cost entry to secret rebellion and place of belonging ignored by your corporate glossy-mag worshipping classmates. If you remember them – hell, if you made one – “Moxie” exists for you. The cast may be around your daughter’s age, but don’t be fooled. It is a temple to a certain kind of ’90s-era Third Wave white feminist whose main goal at age 16 was to “smash the patriarchy,” as Poehler’s mom character Lisa casually puts it.

Lisa says this while digging into a pint of her favorite flavor of Umpqua ice cream and relaxing into her couch (feeling seen yet, fellow Xers?) while daughter Vivian (Hadley Robinson) flails about for a way to stand up to the rampant, unchecked sexism making her high school life a living Hell.

Of course, when Lisa was 16 she probably only had a very basic concept of what constitutes “the patriarchy” and the actions required to smash it. This guess is based on faded memories of adolescence, additionally informed by the fact that Lisa keeps these remnants of her past cool existence in a sticker-covered vintage suitcase that Vivian unearths just in time to save her school.


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