Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 08/7/2009

Care Bears on Fire

 

Care Bears on Fire!

Care Bears on Fire!

It was a summer afternoon like any other. I was sprawled across the couch with a pack of twizzlers in one hand and a large iced coffee in the other, two food-items that are essential to my survival. The N was having a Degrassi-a-thon (the actors look like me! I can relate to them!). I was ready to remain in this position of idealistic laziness for a good four to six hours. 

Now, the N plays music videos between episodes. Generally this is when I get up to get more food (I’m actually not obese, although I’m not sure how) but I was already nursing my food-baby, so didn’t move. Through the sugar-coma haze, I saw the complete awesomeness that is Care Bears on Fire playing on my television screen. 

I had heard of Care Bears on Fire just because I’d memorized the line-up of the music festival Lollapalooza. I had laughed at the name (I associate Care Bears with an evil teacher I once had who was obsessed with them, and now want to kill them all) but didn’t know who they were. 

Who are the Care Bears on Fire? Turns out that they are a group of AWESOME thirteen-fifteen year old girls who are COMPLETELY FEMINIST (even if they don’t know it yet). As the drummer of the band, Izzy (age 13), says, “It’s all kind of about really empowering people and making girls realize that they can do what we do.” Lead singer and guitar player Sophie (age 13) added, “Girls rock. Girls especially have to be who they want to be and not worry about what other people are going to say about it.” 

Swoon.

So, maybe this should be a Support Women Artists Sunday type deal, but to me this is so much more than that. 

I remember when Hannah Montana first came out, I thought it was cool that the powers that be were trying to give younger girls a real role model and music they could relate to…except, the role model they gave them sang about chasing boys. And I get that she has songs like “Girls Night Out,” but really that’s not girl empowerment.The lyrics basically amount to it’s fun being a girl. Groundbreaking…but not exactly a deeper message. 

But Care Bears on Fire are singing “I don’t want to be like everybody else” and “Barbie eat a sandwich” — that’s some empowerment young girls can actually use.

Bottom line: THESE GIRLS ROCK. Confidence, awesome hair. I like. 

Everybody Else

Barbie Eat a Sandwich

Everybody Else on iTunes: Care Bears on Fire - Get Over It! - Everybody Else

Barbie Eat a Sandwich on iTunes: Care Bears on Fire - Get Over It! - Barbie Eat a Sandwich

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  • Kate @ at 12:31 pm, August 7th, 2009

    Yes and no… The whole overly commercialized Hot Topic sponsorship thing is the only thing that dissuades me from diving headlong into the Care Bears on Fire mania… They have good songs. Do they write them? I love their lyrics too. Do they write them? Perhaps I should do more research. I feel like I detect fabrication. ie. “They started out playing shows in basement parties in NY” etc. Really? When I was 13 I certainly was not allowed to go to parties like that… But who knows, kids are more sophisticated these days. I really “want” to like them, but I am weary that they are the next fad, pawns of the record industry who are capitalizing on the “punk rock” chic appeal to this particular generation… Kind of like the porn industry did with the whole “suicide girl” thing. I really HOPE I am wrong about this.

  • Janie @ at 2:43 pm, August 7th, 2009

    OMG! I remember seeing them on Amy Poehlers, Smart Girls At the Party. Here’s the link: http://www.onnetworks.com/videos/smart-girls-at-the-party/rock-band-care-bears-on-fire-2?autoplay=true

  • Kristi @ at 5:08 pm, August 7th, 2009

    ok they are really good i like there songs. i like the whole “punk rock” thing with the sa\ongs they are really cool.
    but they could tone it down,
    or not but to me they sound really good

  • Zola @ at 5:47 am, August 8th, 2009

    ‘Barbie Eat a Sandwich’ made me laugh, but ‘Everybody Else’ is pretty generic sounding despite its more than decent message. Although their music doesn’t really keep my attention, they are obviously very young and for their age I’d say doing quite well. The only thing that really bothers me is that they have already sold out via being Hot Topic’s latest poster girls, I don’t think I could respect any band who did that regardless of age.

  • RebJ @ at 6:20 pm, August 8th, 2009

    They may be rejecting one stereotype, but they seem to be buying into another one.

    Still, its good to know that they are a more intelligent and unique alternative to say, Hannah Montana.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 8:43 am, August 9th, 2009

    UHG, those are Disney/Hot Topic commercialized wannabee Riot Grrls.

    I’m told music runs in a 10 year cycle,and the 2000-2010 period is the “dead zone”.

    The *real* riot grrls were kewl as hell…There was an Indie grrl movement too that’s what Tori Amos and a whole bunch of others came out off.

  • Julie Z @ at 9:23 am, August 9th, 2009

    i just wanted to say this really wasn’t so much a commentary on the actual music as it was that young girls had the confidence to go and write (yes they write the songs) and play music at all and were successful at – maybe some people would think this means “selling out” but to me they at least got attention and that’s amazing. who knows who decision the Hot Topic thing was – somehow I think it wasn’t solely the idea of the 13-year-olds.

    if we’re not going to support young girls who do this who is?

  • Support Women Artists Sunday: Bikini Kill | Feminism | fbomb @ at 9:53 am, August 9th, 2009

    [...] week – a little history lesson. The post on Care Bears on Fire, and the comments about the riot grrrl movement got me thinking. Most girls my age don’t even [...]

  • Helen H. @ at 10:44 am, August 9th, 2009

    Wow. These girls are great!

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t pull an Avril Lavigne.

  • Brenna @ at 11:52 am, August 9th, 2009

    Another artist you should check out is Just Kait. Of course, people might accuse her of “selling out” because she’s been on MTV, but I think she’s awesome. She plays guitar, bass, and drums on her tracks. Here she is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70ZnO32TGnk

  • Care Bears On Fire « Earwicga @ at 2:46 pm, August 9th, 2009

    [...] to f-bomb [...]

  • No. @ at 3:20 pm, August 9th, 2009

    Feminist, huh? It must have been that fierce independent ethic and spirit of authenticity that led them to Danny Goldberg (breaking bands like Hanson, Jonas Brothers) who is and will continue to grind them through the cookie cutter. There is a strong relationship between individuality and feminism where Hot Topic has no place. Where overproduction of a developing girl musicians work has no place. Is it ironic, therefore, that Care Bears are talking about “empowering” other girls? I know they are kids- too young to be feminists, and also too young to sell out. Can’t blame them. One of the comments asks “If we’re not going to support young girls who do this who is”? I think you (and they) should consider raising the bar for feminist role models to something other than a group of young girls who are in the process of being branded, perhaps.

  • ss @ at 10:18 pm, August 9th, 2009

    I caught them for a minute at Lollapalooza. and they are cute enough. The Hot Topic association is troubling (Dont wanna be like everybody else, but you get our clothes at the mall) as are the Jonas Brothers, Naked Brothers, Disney Nickelodeon links but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment. it seems that the half of their songs that arent the usual boy crazy Miley Cyrus silliness. contain some positive messages you wont find in their peers. Maybe they will act as a “gateway drug” and lure kids towards better music! Of course, they may just be a Disney-fied attempt to develop an acceptable “punky” act that is edgy but family friendly.

    Another teen band played Lolla last year called Tiny Masters of Today. they are brother and sister and really young too. They are more lo-fi and remind me a bit of original riot girl bands like Huggy Bear with the boy/girl singers. They are really political and pretty funny. They have written songs with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kimya Dawson so they keep good company! They arent that well known in America yet but I think they are big overseas and in Japan. Here is their Myspace http://myspace.com/tinymasters

    Check out the song they did with Karen O but you can see a bunch of their videos on You Tube they are really awesome

    this one is funny too

  • ss @ at 10:20 pm, August 9th, 2009

    Something went wrong with the links!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGDakOBeP_o

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjXP7wSD9mM

  • IzzyOnFire @ at 3:16 pm, August 17th, 2009

    Hey, this is Izzy, the drummer for Care Bears on Fire. Since we started the band our goal was to fill a void we saw in the music being fed to teenage girls. There was no music being made that captured what we were going through. I went to Rock n Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, Oregon when I was eight, and it was the first time I found a group of women who empowered me to say what I needed to say regardless of what anyone else thought. I know that not everyone is as fortunate as I am and a lot of young girls are constantly told that they can’t make music. We hope to be able to reach a lot of girls that otherwise might fall into the bubblegum pop machine. As a band we relate to the messages of bands like the Donnas and Bratmobile, who write unabashedly about their lives and girl empowerment. We are continuously inspired by the Riot Grrl movement and doing things D.I.Y and we write all of our own songs and it is just us onstage and on the albums. What you see is what you get.

  • Lenora @ at 3:25 pm, September 2nd, 2009

    I think it’s stupid to say “They are kids-too young to be feminist”,really stupid and it’s not because hot topic wanna sponsor them and because they play with nat&alex and because they went on Letterman than they are that bad….. They write their own songs and they play at big fests like bamboozle and lollapalooza but they’re great…. You said than they’re just “wannabes” but people said this ’cause they don’t have that chance….

  • No @ at 1:05 am, September 10th, 2009

    This is in reply to the comments left after mine. It isn’t stupid to suggest that they are too young to be feminist. There is some age when kids know enough about the world when they can then be held accountable for their decisions, and right now the band is probably just making decisions that seem fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong, I think, if these girls are held in high regard or as espousing feminist ethic. The band says they are inspired by Riot Girl movement? Would Kathleen Hannah be on a poster in the Hot Topic? Also, the band suggests that everything is DIY. This record is NOT DIY, in the sense that it wasn’t made by the girls in the basement. Was there an engineer? Was there a producer? Unfortunately, they made the songs very close to the bubblegum pop machine Izzy says she would like to steer other girls away from. This is unfortunate precisely because the girls do write their own songs. The comment saying they are commercial Disney/Hot Topic wanna be riot girls is a stretch for sure, and that kind of dismissal does seem more personal. Last thing concerns the statement that Hot Topic wanted to sponsor the band. Well, it usually doesn’t work that way (but sometimes it can). The band has people who are soliciting them to sponsors, so it’s the other way around. The problem with this is that too much commercial placement can suck the individuality out of the girls and the band, and one of the main messages of feminists is that women and girls should feel empowered being themselves. It’s complicated, because another message of feminists is that girls and women should be empowered to be successful. The tricky part is to find a good balance.

  • Lenora @ at 9:24 pm, September 27th, 2009

    I’m sorry…… i’m so confused….
    yes, kathleen hanna wont be in hot topic…. tobi vail,allison wolfe,kathi wilcox,molly neuman…. no one of these will be in hot topic

    this is a reply to the comment left after mine….

  • Bre @ at 9:07 pm, November 14th, 2009

    I just think these girls look way too young even though they arent. I really dont think they should be dressing like that either. Even i don’t dress like that. I also think their songs are sort of immature. I have never heard of group of teens writing about barbie.

  • Bre @ at 9:08 pm, November 14th, 2009

    The comment I posting of me not dressing like they do, just to make sure i am a teen.

  • Rosa Amber @ at 11:13 am, November 26th, 2009

    Why are there people doubting them and dissing them just because of their age and because they’re more mainstream? If I had a chance to do what they’re doing, I’de do it. I think feminist bands in the mainstream are needed, especially if they’re targeted to young kids and teens.
    This band could soon appeal to younger fans getting them into feminism, Riot Grrrl, Punk (and it’s subgenres) and other related music/subcultures as they get older.

    @Bre, the barbie song was about eating disorders and how people look up to celebrities/models on covers that aren’t “real”.

  • Talulah @ at 4:28 pm, February 28th, 2010

    I LUV Care Bears on Fire, but i dont understand the name.

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  • Party Whipped: The Trials of a Teenage Feminist Rocker | fbomb @ at 11:01 am, July 13th, 2011

    [...] Rae is the lead singer/guitarist for the band Care Bears on Fire (blogged about on the FBomb back in 2009). Check out Sophie’s new zine, Grrrl Beat, and consider [...]

  • Support Women Artists Sunday: Claire’s Diary | fbomb @ at 11:00 am, September 2nd, 2012

    [...] Diary was formed when Sophie Rae and Isadora Schappell (of Care Bears on Fire), Joey Koneko, and Kiri Oliver were strolling through a meadow one day and found the diary of a [...]

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