Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsWriters
(Page 2 of 7)

INSIDE STORY

Some Misplaced Joan of Arc

Marjorie Light Is a 15-Year-Old Who Loves Velveeta Cheese Shells, Go Gurt and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.' She Also Idolizes Frida Kahlo, Riot Grrrls and the Patti Smith Lyrics for Which She's Named Her Zine. Which Makes Her a Typical --and Not So Typical-- L.A. Teenager.

August 01, 1999|DAVE GARDETTA | Dave Gardetta last wrote for the magazine about comedy impresario Jamie Masada

Some boys who read Marjorie's zine--it is called "Some Misplaced Joan of Arc" and costs $1 plus two stamps--mistake her as a national banner for teen feminism. Likely they are thinking of articles such as "The World's Guide to Being a Girl," which reads: "Be sexy, but don't be a slut. Stand up for yourself, but don't be a bitch. Be thin, but don't have an eating disorder. Play sports, but don't be aggressive or competitive. Be smart, but not a nerd. Believe in yourself, but don't be conceited. Speak up, but don't be too loud or have a big mouth. Be original, but not weird. These are some of the stupid standards people expect from girls and women."

"Guys are scared of her because she's tough and intelligent and because of the way she holds herself," Nadia will say when she thinks of that passage. But Marjorie is also as mercurial and confused and unnerved by the wrong boys and self-conscious and emotionally tentative as any 15-year-old-girl growing up in America.

Like other adolescent girls suddenly aware of the cultural territory mapped out for them at the end of the 1990s, Marjorie often feels that she has been split in two. She is supposed to be confident and secure but there are all these forces aligned against her to make her feel vulnerable and insecure. This is also Buffy's problem. "Buffy never really wanted to be a slayer," Marjorie was saying the other day. "Sometimes she just wants to be a normal teenager. She was more popular before she became a slayer. So now she really only has a small group of friends who all accept her for what she is. But even though she would rather not be a slayer sometimes, its still her duty and her responsibility to herself."

*

When Marjorie was 5 years old, she wanted to grow up to be a perfume-maker, a housewife, a nurse, a queen, an actress, a model and a writer. Now that she is 15, she wants to be a punk rock goddess, a zinester, a journalist, a feminist writer, a women's/ animal /gay/ pro-choice/ earth activist, a teacher, a stage actor, a zoo employee, an artist, a drum/ guitar/ bass/ piano /violin player, a songwriter and a poet. You can read about these career choices in "Some Misplaced Joan of Arc" #2.

*

If you were to come upon Marjorie's zine 100 years from today, it might read like the epic diary kept by a 19th century explorer of the African continent, if only because it charts the obscure route of a teenager navigating the tangled landscape where her internal life collides with her family, her school, her friends, boys, pop culture and the world. "Some Misplaced Joan of Arc" is full of high drama and danger and occasional comic relief and even pathos, yet, in fact, it is written in Eagle Rock, a town known for its many fast-food outlets, famous lawns, abundant aviary life and little else. Marjorie lives behind a well-tended garden on a quiet street, inside a white two-story house with her older sister, Lian, her younger brother, Chuckie, her mother, Shatto, her father, Charlie, and her mother's parents, Antonio and Cunigunda. Because Charlie Light is a contractor of considerable skill, the house has a fresh, remodeled look. Marjorie's room has a dissembled look: Everything is on the floor. When someone first walks in, they think, "How did this room fit into this house?"

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|