Beautiful Godzilla: Rebel Grrrls—Ovarian Psycos
by Esther Merono [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Issue 285 / September 2012
[Illustration: Ryan Perkins]
Ovarian Psycos’ Maryann Aguirre, aka La Fingers, answers a phone somewhere in East LA with unrestrained enthusiasm as I state my name on the other end at the SLUG Headquarters in Salt Lake. My own excitement is muted by slight intimidation and the natural awkwardness that accompanies my introduction to any stranger, but something about her voice is familiar, and it greases the stiffness I’m feeling. She’s just arrived at her home after biking from work in the heat, and, having ridden to the office during pit-staining temperatures earlier that day myself, it’s easy to lament her discomfort. As we discuss her bicycle, a Raleigh hybrid she’s pretty fond of, Aguirre speaks rapidly in Spanish-speckled English, her pitch inflecting upwards at the end of each sentence, giving my inquiries a boomerang effect. As she explains her nickname, La Fingers, a result of being caught wagging her middle-finger on more than one occasion, I know I’m talking to the right person. Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” lyrics pop into my head as I listen––”That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood. She’s got the hottest trike in town. That girl holds her up so high. I think I wanna be her best friend, yeah!”––and I quietly make the (creepy) decision to friend request her later. Feeling conversational, I stray from the long list of chronological questions I’ve typed up, but Aguirre wants to stick to the plan––she’s been chosen to represent the Ovas in this particular interview, and she’s gonna do it right.
Though Aguirre tells me she has only been a part of the “womyn and womyn identified” Los Angeles bike crew for about a year, the Ovarian Psycos celebrated two years of female empowered thuggery over the summer. The group was founded by Xela de la X, aka Cihuatl Ce, for similar reasons as many other female organizers, including myself: to provide a safe space for women within a very male-dominated community. Of course, their mission statement, goals and organization are much more ambitious and resourceful than my attempts have ever been, but I’ll get to the deep stuff in a moment. What initially attracted me to the Ovas, after the lovely Elizabeth Lopez Medina linked me to their merch page, was their deliciously deviant slogan: “Ovaries so big, we don’t need no fucking balls.”
Yeah, yeah, feminism is about equality, yadda yadda––but the Ovarian Psycos are far from being the he-man haterz hypocritically correct ding-dongs are gonna make them out to be. Aguirre tells me the slogan came about organically and conscientiously, and was met with mostly positive feedback. “We’re not gonna have a fuckin’ ‘ride my bike and I feel so free!’ kind of slogan,” she says. “No––ovaries so big, we don’t need no fuckin’ balls!” Aguirre’s voice gets louder and she loses the questioning inflection as she explains the group’s target demographic. “We try to be particular with the words that we choose to use because we’re trying to hit certain kinds of women,” she says. “Not just women who are just like ‘oh yeah, cool, I like to ride my bike,’ [but] women who need the sisterhood and the bonding … ‘at-risk’ society.” Aguirre drops down an octave as she opens up about her own background, laying it out for me in a matter-of-fact kind of list. She’s 22-years-old, Chicana, and a mother of a 4-and-a-half-year-old, working full time. She’s had a rough life, growing up in the hood with an abusive parent, pregnant at 16. “It’s not just to go and ride our bikes,” she continues. “It’s much deeper than that. We’re trying to outreach to women [whom] society has decided are not the fucking top girl––they’re the fuck-ups.”