1990'S FEMINIST SINGER-SONGWRITERS IN ORDER OF THEIR IMPORTANCE TO MY 14-YEAR-OLD SELF

  1. Ani DiFranco
    I did not believe in God when I was 14 but I did believe in Ani DiFranco.
  2. Dar Williams
    Somehow in my adolescent mind there was a rivalry between Ani and Dar where essentially Ani was an ~angry~ feminist singer-songwriter and Dar was like "no, no, you can achieve all you want to achieve with softness and a gentle open heart!" Ani would never agree and would try to explain how sometimes anger is the righteous path and Dar would go "oh Ani" and they'd continue being best friends. I now realize this was basically me writing feminist singer-songwriter fanfiction in my head.
  3. Melissa Ferrick
    Very helpful if you're pretty sure — due to how obsessed with your friend Megan you are — that you're into girls not boys, and you don't know how to tell your parents, and you need a hot lesbian with an acoustic guitar to make it all feel like an adventure. (NB: does not hold up so well as an emotional soundtrack once your crush on Megan ends and your new crush is on Dave.)
  4. The Indigo Girls
    My first knowledge of them came from Swamp Ophelia (or was it Ten Thousand Curfews?) getting a review in TEEN magazine, so I automatically dismissed them entirely. Two years later, when I had a drivers license and a car with a tape deck, I listened to the cassette of Rites of Passage literally five to six times a day.
  5. Natalie Merchant
    I didn't know how to describe why I didn't like her back then, but with hindsight I can say she reminded me of an Eileen Fisher-wearing watercolor artist who in the movie of her life would be played, shittily, by an over-earnest Andie MacDowell
  6. Tori Amos
    Inexplicable, passionate, burning hatred. Basically when I was 14 I hated the following things: Tori, the patriarchy, my creepy Spanish teacher, and the fact that my mom wouldn't let me "go shopping" as a social activity because she didn't want me to define myself as a consumer, thus dooming my social life for literally ever. (Also I'm a hoarder now. Also I still hate Tori Amos for no good reason.)