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Review: Prisoner of Hormones

March 30, 2020 on RateYourMusic
Release: Prisoner of Hormones (Toxic Lipstick, 2006)

I had never heard of Toxic Lipstick before someone dropped this recommendation on my lap a while back, but this album was a welcome surprise. Prisoner of Hormones taps into the anxieties and frustration and messiness and edginess of young female adolescence, the desperate and clumsy scrambling toward adulthood down to the new, weird sexual feelings. But it doesn't feel invasive -- I don't get the impression we're meant to be titillated by the raunchiness of these middle school-age personas, no matter how vulgar they get (and thank God for that). Rather, as the band puts it, it's "the chance to relive and repurpose all the horrible, painful, hilarious and invented memories of our teenage years," a way to process female experiences:

bein a gal is rly hard because everyone has an opinion on what u should be. Fuck that m8. Fuck feeling bad for being crude, dumb, sexy, cute, confused or sure! So much of our lives we felt those things! Why? Fuck that. Fuck feelin like u have to be anything 4 anyone but yrself and ya bestie! The expectations and actualities of bein a gal have affected us a lot in our lives, and tocky lippy was always a fun way 4 us to process a lot of that - n just take tha pizz out of what galz r 'meant' to be ... and seriously we hope gals can just enjoy their lives, be free and not have to always atone for their femininity, their history or the expectations that the world dumps on them. (via the band's disbanding announcement)

It's a centering of girls' experiences and an expression of female sexuality and raunchiness and aggression and noisiness and confidence with no room for the male gaze or misogynistic expectations of what women should be or do that taps into riot grrrl territory -- but also has a lot of fun doing it! A bit of catharsis and a laugh. If that's what you're looking for, give "the hottest chix in grade 9" a listen -- and "bring a spare pair of undies in case u cream your good ones!!!!"

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