Article – Why I like zines

From Be All You Can Be zine – 2009:


Zines, you can define them as self-made magazines, but they are so much more. They are a world of difference from the magazines you find in stores. And besides being self-made they are being self-published: printed, copied, sold, distributed by one individual, a collective of friends or a network of zinesters. Content-wise, zines can discuss nearly any subject you can imagine. It’s all up to the zinester what to write or draw about. You don’t have to worry if it will sell or not, because it’s not a for-profit project. There are no advertisers or big bosses to please.

I started making my own zines for a number a reasons. I liked reading them, looking at them and holding them, so I wanted to try writing them myself. I always liked drawing, but writing was more of a challenge, especially because I chose to write in English in my first zines (so more people could read them). I was not confident in my writing skills at all, but practicing on constructing my own articles, reports and reviews has certainly improved them. I figured that zines could function as a useful networking tool too, and they did. When you’ve made a zine, you can trade it with other people’s zines from all over the world. It was and is nice to share ideas and thoughts with creative activists like zinesters. After a while these same people who wrote zines, started organising Ladyfests, slumber parties and DIY concerts, so I went to visit some of them (the ones that didn’t live too far away) in real life. Internet surely is great for keeping in touch with people too; it’s easy and fast, but at times maybe too fast. Making zines and sending them out requires more time and dedication. It’s kind of like writing letters, only you send them to more than one person and often you don’t even know the people you send them too.

I like zines too for the activist potential they have. Publishing your own zines, like doing/making other things yourself (DIY), can mean using and spreading an activist radical voice. It means not just that alternative content (that differs from what we read in mainstream magazines and papers or watch on TV) is put out, but that alternative content is put out by other people, non-professional journalists, beginning activists, youngsters, people who live in the margins of society, anyone! It’s taking the media into your own hands and say what you have to say. Zines and zinesters encourage zine readers to start writing too. Zines are participatory media avant la lettre (and here you have total control and freedom, and you’re not being controlled, unlike “interactive” censored myspace webpages). Last but not least I’m convinced that making zines, writing and creating is beneficial for the self-confidence, empowerment and mutual support of women, girls, queers, trannies, teenagers, people of colour, people who suffer from lookism, “lower-educated” people, sexual abuse survivors, etc.

About rebelsister

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