You might be able to guess this just from reading this blog, but, as far as I'm concerned, every month is Women's History Month, especially here at Rock and the Single Girl. But I think that this institution exists precisely for the purpose of providing an opportunity to talk not only about women in history, but also to talk about what history, and its documentation, really mean for girls and women.
Musician and blogger Kate Wadkins and I have been talking about documentation, but this conversation is definitely bigger than just the two of us. Many of the so-called original Riot Grrrls, such as the members of Bratmobile, Emily's Sassy Lime, Heavens to Betsy, and Bikini Kill have participated in interviews for documentaries and museum exhibitions on Riot Grrrl. Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna recently admitted to currently being 'obsessed with archiving', having just donated her papers to NYU's Riot Grrrl collection, and former band mate Tobi Vail has been thinking about "documenting history from a strategic perspective." Bloggers like Kate, Stacy at Soul Ponies, and myself are interested in the same issues, and I think we're all interested in getting as many young women to join the discussion as possible.
But rather than merely 'discuss' documentation, the way to really understand why recording history is important is to actually do it yourself. As kids, we learn about History with a capital H, a grand and dominant narrative of conquest, war, plunder, and exploitative production. It's a narrative that has little to do with us, and which I imagine has little meaning for most kids.
What we don't learn is that history is happening constantly, that it's a process with no real end, and that it's built on the stories and lives of normal, everyday people. When we write our stories, our herstories, we write our own narratives, and this is an incredibly powerful activity.
When you take the time to write your story, you contribute your voice to History with a capital H. But I think it's more important to document your life for you! I think it feels really good to take time to focus on you, and the things you do on a daily basis that are important in your life. Even the most seemingly mundane details of your existence, like interactions with your family members and friends, the things that happen to you at school or work, the way you spend a weeknight where you choose to stay in, can be worth remembering. You are worth remembering, worth reading about, and your experience has the potential to illuminate future generations. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
So ladies, in honor of women's history month, and the women who've come before you: get out your diaries, journals and sketchbooks. Access your livejournals, blogs, and twitters. Break out your scrapbooks, cameras, and zining supplies, and get to the fun, frustrating, cathartic, liberating work of documenting your life. Get to the work of making a record of you.