Rock 4 Girls

(not just for boys)

Loud rock song. Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. Long shot of girl about 15 bouncing on the bed. She’s dressed in frayed bell-bottomed jeans and is wearing an Alice T-shirt.

Narrator, woman’s voice.

In the 1970s, I grew up in a typical nuclear family of four in a small northeastern Ohio factory town, in a three-bedroom ranch house that was 780 square feet. My dad worked in an office at the local rubber factory – that’s rubber, as in tires, not condoms. He was quiet, predictable and good-natured. He talked to himself while he mowed the lawn, sometimes three times a week in the summer.

Rock 4 Girls

Cuts showing a family of the ’60s, including a mom, dad and two small daughters; the dad mowing the lawn talking to himself; the mom in the house cooking.

I had a typical younger sister named Darla – which rhymes with my name, Karla – even though we were five years apart in age. Advice to all moms out there: NEVER let the 5-year-old name the baby.

Long shot of younger girl in her bedroom watching TV, glaring through the wall toward her sister and her loud music. Turning up the TV.

We were lucky enough to be raised by a stay-at-home mom who didn’t drink, didn’t smoke and based much of her child rearing technique on Spock’s advice. That’s the pediatrician, not the Vulcan. Although she was an early fan of the original Star Trek.

In the early years of our childhood, our parents spent quality time with us and encouraged our interests.

Shots of our interests. Artwork on the refrigerator. Record player with 45 playing. Battlestar Gallactica. Doctor Who.

But then we became teenagers. We did everything in our power to drive them away. Sometimes it worked.

Closeup of ’70s style record player and a girl’s hand on the volume, turning it up. Alice gets louder.

Shot of a ’70s mom in the living room shaking her head, covering her ears.

Sequential cuts to each of the speakers on four corners of the wall. A hand turning up the volume.

Shot of the TV with Shaun Cassidy singing. A hand turning up the volume.

Shot of mom, throwing up her hands, stalking out of the house.

It was the mid ‘70s. The war between the generations had already been fought. Kids were enjoying their temporary victory against the Establishment. Because after the helicopters lifted out of Saigon and Nixon had resigned in shame, all the grown-ups wanted to do was to get some rest.

In the farthest corner of a tiny yard, Mom unfolds a lawn chair and sits down in it, and leaning back, is finally able to hear herself think. The noise of the music and the TV is in the distance, but is a only a dull roar now.

At first, the music had been our weapon, a razor sharp rapier slicing through everything that was wrong with society. Now rock was our generation’s common voice in all things. It ruled the airwaves, and Northeastern Ohio had the best progressive rock radio station in the country. And contrary to popular belief, the music didn’t just belong to bad boys with electric guitars.

Rock was for girls, too.