In the fall of 1993 I entered Oberlin as a freshman. Like most good Oberlin newbies, I fancied myself quite the little radical. Upon entering the student body, as is every freshperson’s rite of passage, I promptly stopped shaving my legs and promptly started using expressions like "the dominant male paradigm". In truth, I was never a very good radical, and neither were my friends. Our forays into angry-feminism pretty much started and stopped with the expression "strong independent woman of the nineties".
I can’t remember who first used the expression, "I’m a strong independent woman of the nineties", but it became a rallying cry amongst my female friends. Part empowering slogan, part tongue-in-cheek silliness, "strong independent woman of the nineties" was destined to become a lifelong fixture of our lexicon. Even as 18-year-olds we delighted in the fact that eventually our slogan would be hideously outdated, and dare we even predict, ironic. (Do not forget, this was 1993; Alanis Morissette was our Angry Woman Queen.)
Courtney: I dunno. I keep making him mix tapes and he keeps trying to make out with me, but every time I ask him about his supposedly ex-girlfriend, he gets all cagey. I’m really confused.
Kate: Toss him in the dumper! You don’t need this kind of hassle. You’re a strong independent woman of the nineties!
Courtney: Good point.
Kate: So then this asshole tries to tell me that it’s gonna cost $600 to fix my car door, and I tell him he can eat shit, and then I storm out of the garage all huffy-like.
Ashley: Oooh. You are such a strong independent woman of the nineties!
Kate: No doubt, sister.
Now, on the dawn of my 32nd birthday, I find myself evaluating my Strong Independent Woman of the Nineties status. Non-reliance on a man for personal and financial security? Check. Preference for being single rather than dealing with guys I’m not really into just for the sake of having a boyfriend? Check. General bad-assery and fierceness? Check, and check. Sophisticated tastes, and grown-up approach to fanciful crushes? Er…um…weeell. Not so much.
My status as a strong independent woman of the nineties has been severely handicapped by my new obsession with hockey. A big part of the problem is that although my obsession with hockey continues unabated, the hockey season ended weeks ago. Now trust me, I have ravenously devoured all legitimate hockey news I can get my hands on (as such, I am now practically an expert on the National Hockey Leauge’s CBA. Seriously. Ask me anything), but there is only so much a gal can read about hockey players before she has no conclusion available other than, "Dang. He’s a dish." Hockey has made a fool of me, and my long tenure as a strong independent woman of the nineties is now in jeopardy.
Also, Posh and Becks? I love them.
Posh and Becks are just wrong by strong independent women of the nineties standards, and yet, I love them so. Look at them there all hot and disgustingly sleazy. Admit it, you love them too.
Conclusion: Not only am I a strong independent woman of the nineties, I am also a giggling teenager of the naughty-aughties.
(Note: in a googling effort to find any sort of term for the first decade of our current century, I discover that no such term exists. This decade has no convenient counterpart to "the nineties". I have taken a fancy to the expression "the naughty-aughties" and will proceed to promote its usage.)