This Friday feminists and local artists at the University of Minnesota will be gathering at the Women’s Center in Appleby Hall to romp like monsters and celebrate one of the counterculture’s favorite formats: the zine! A time-honored tradition among fandoms, dissidents and the marginalized, the “zine” (short for magazine for fanzine) is a DIY, not-for-profit booklet fueled only by the creator’s passion for a subject. What mainstream media fails to represent often ends up in a zine, whether that be raunchy fanfiction, sexual health education, or underground punk rock. Zines are cheap and easy to make- you only need a piece of paper, a photocopier, and some creative ideas.
Feminist zine-making is rooted in the history of women’s craft, and thus zines have often been created in domestic spaces like the home. Denied recognition as fine art, scrapbooking, quilting, and needlework have always been forms of DIY self-expression that circulate and strengthen bonds between women. Third-wave feminist zinesters have found characteristic power in using the techniques and images of their grandmothers to communicate social and political activism.
The ‘90s riot grrrl movement emerged out of underground feminist hardcore punk, and iced out by misogyny both in punk subculture and mainstream coverage, riot grrrls turned to the zine format to communicate ideas about independent personal identity. The highly personal style has historically rejected pigeonholing, as grrls of intersectional races, classes, religions, and sexualities share their personal experiences with subject matter such as sexual violence, body image, and women’s health issues. The riot grrrl style is experiencing a revival today, reclaiming “little-girl” imagery and coupling it with a foul-mouthed severity that fights back against the continuing prevalence of misogyny in our media.
Curious to learn more? Zines go far beyond the feminist movement, but if you’d like to come riot with zinesters and make a couple of your own, stop by the Feminist Ambassador Brigade’s HalloZINE Party this Friday from 4-6 pm in 64 Appleby Hall! Cut out collages on the topics you care most about and contribute your personal perspective toward a campus-wide campaign on the importance of feminism. Sip some apple cider and do the monster mash, and don’t forget to snap a picture in the photobooth! Bring some cash for stickers and zines from local artists, and don’t forget to wear a culturally appropriate costume. Costume contest winners will receive one of the most coveted items on campus: a Women’s Center “Feminist” hat!
Olivia Latimer is a junior at the U pursuing an Individually Designed Interdepartmental Major in Art, Anthropology, English and History. Olivia’s using her individualized degree to explore how cultural functions of storytelling shape our perception of the unknown and the other- and the social justice implications. Olivia’s interests include battling both vampires and misogyny, and someday she hopes to contribute her work toward telling responsible, captivating stories.