The SNL sketch "Biker Chick Chat" from the season opener of Saturday Night Live got a lot of attention thanks to newcomer Jenny Slate's F-bomb. But what didn't get attention: the frickin' bikes, dude! Though they swore up a storm and had very impressive hair, I'm not convinced they could tell their Harley Davidson V-Rods from their Kawasaki Vulcan VN750s (or Vincent Black Lighting '48s, for that matter).
OK, I'm fronting a bit here. As it happens, I can't either, but I have always had an appreciation for the mean machines, bred at an early age by Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2. She may not remember the role fondly (it was from her early "hot pants" period) but man did that ever define cool for me as a 10-year-old girl (now that I think of it, the film was a little too advanced for me. Reproduction? Let"s Do It For Our Country? Yikes!).
Not to mention no help for my early feminism: "You gotta be a biker or a biker's old lady. Without a cycle, forget it." I would gladly have taken the Pink Lady Pledge ("To act cool, to look cool and to be cool!") but even so enthralled by the dazzle of Pfeiffer's Stephanie Zanoni, I could tell that it wasn't fair to tie her awesome Pink Lady-ship to dating some T-Bird. In the early '80s, awesome Pink Ladies got around that not by casting off the shackles of the patriarchy but by luckily finding the perfect guy hiding beneath the geeky exchange student from England, who turns out to be a daredevil mystery motorcyclist ("Want a light?" [Sirens.] "Some other time." Yeah, it encouraged smoking, too. This movie is terrible. And wonderful. And yes all of this is from memory).
Anyway. The point is, so what if I learned my code of womanhood from Grease 2, if it made me so very happy? Stephanie Zanoni was my very first girlcrush — oh, as if you could see her scale that stepladder and dance with wild abandon and remain impervious — but more importantly, her anthem became the theme song for me and scores of other 10-year-old girls, who realized that they wanted nothing less than a devil in skintight leather who was gonna be wild as the wind. Did she ride? Not exactly, but she was hardly what one would call passive — when Michael (so well chosen, that name, to rhyme with "motorcycle") takes her on that sunset ride and she shimmys around and sits in front of him, all a-straddle — well. Well well well. Like I said, this movie is chock full of awesome lessons for a little girl.
If you doubt, I dare you not to enjoy this video and want to rock out with her signature dance move (shake the hands, widen the stance, forward hop-hop-hop):
Seriously, people, it changed my life - enough to be the impetus for me to write a 16-page post about biker chicks. Yep, there are more of them — from Pinky Tuscadero to Jo Polnichek to Trinity from The Matrix, who more than makes up for my weak early feminism with her ass-kicking ways. Upshot: bikes are C-O-O-L. As it happens, Biker Chicks are, too. Michelle Pfeiffer will always take the number-one spot on this list in my heart — she's my Biker Chick for All Seasons — but if you're looking for a few more ass-kicking role models for your fierce little ladies, here are a few more.
Trinity from The Matrix
Cycle Sluts From Hell
Dykes on Bikes
The Mini-Skirt Mob
Chopper Chicks in Zombietown
Pravda, La Survireuse
She-Devils on Wheels
Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday
Jo from Facts of Life
Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider
Jenny Slate, FTW
p.s. Despite how much I love love love this movie, I turned out okay. Ten-year-olds grow up, what can I say. Mostly.