Fed up by her high school’s culture of misogyny, Vivian leads a feminist rebellion.
Staff at Vivian’s school conveniently overlook the demeaning remarks football players and their friends direct at girls, the ongoing hallway sexual harassment of “bump ’n’ grab,” and the annual tournament to identify the “most fuckable” girl on campus. Enraged by the toxic environment, and inspired by 1990s Riot Grrrl culture, Vivian creates an anonymous zine—Moxie—to empower girls. Some of Vivian’s protest ideas are inspired, as when girls wear bathrobes to protest the unfair enforcement of the school’s dress code. Soon Moxie supports such additional projects as girls’ soccer fundraisers, successfully strengthening the school’s sisterhood. But there are troubling moments when Vivian excludes willing male participants, seemingly suggesting that achieving female empowerment requires gender separation. And Moxie moves dangerously toward vigilante justice when it’s used to accuse a student of attempted rape. Vivian’s incensed reaction when her boyfriend suggests the anonymous accuser might be lying ignores the American judicial system’s core tenet of due process. Further, the novel fails to educate readers that qualified police investigators, not school officials, must be alerted in accusations of criminal behaviors.
Designed to empower, the novel occasionally fails to consider that changing a culture of misogyny requires educating and embracing support from members of all genders. (Fiction. 12-18)