No teeny-boppers allowed

A new book helps girls realize their rock-star fantasies.

By Judy Berman

Published June 11, 2009 1:11PM (EDT)

Of all the trends aimed at the teen- and tween-girl market -- from abstinence-loving vampires to "Gossip Girl"-style conspicuous consumption -- the female pop- and rock-star craze may be the least offensive. While Miley Cyrus' "Hannah Montana" is the most ubiquitous (and blandest) manifestation, girls who rock seem to be popping up everywhere. Summer programs like the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls have become so popular they've earned their own documentary. And a gaggle of teen celebrities  -- including Dakota Fanning and "Twilight's" Kristen Stewart -- have signed on to star in an upcoming Runaways biopic.

Girls who are inspired by what they see on the big and small screen can look to a new book that promises to help them pursue their guitar heroine dreams. Music critic Jessica Hopper has just published "The Girls Guide to Rocking," a step-by-step manual for young ladies serious about making it in the music business. According to the Daily Swarm,

The book looks past the routine "you can do it" empowerment, and goes deep, diving into what sound is, how a recording studio works, how to choose the right instruments (and who plays them), alongside with intensive reading lists, timelines, and historical information about all the important female musicians who paved the way for this new generation. Hopper treats her readers like adults, talking to her girl readers in a wise, sisterly voice.

The Daily Swarm also posts an excerpt -- including quotes from the Go-Go's and Blondie's Debbie Harry -- in which Hopper explains how girls can go about putting on their own shows. Her candid advice includes the following eloquent insight: "One of your duties as a musician is to express the inexpressible -- the things that people can't say on their own, the perfect theme for their mood or feelings, the truth that no one is willing to speak."

In true DIY style, Hopper is promoting "The Girls' Guide to Rocking" through a series of cute, low-budget online videos featuring some of her favorite musicians (one such ad is posted below). And, beginning Saturday, you can bring your favorite punk-rock girl to meet the author in person at a series of bookstore appearances.

Judy Berman

Judy Berman is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She is a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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