Magazine article Women in Action

Sparking Revolutions in Minds and Hearts: In Conversation with Grrrl Zine Editors from around the World

Magazine article Women in Action

Sparking Revolutions in Minds and Hearts: In Conversation with Grrrl Zine Editors from around the World

Article excerpt

As a creative form of resistance, zines reflect the unfiltered personal voices of young women and queer youth fighting against the societal and patriarchal corset. In zines, they challenge the conventional meanings and expectations of femininity. In the form of a collage of interview quotes with grrrl zine editors from around the world, I ask: What does it mean for zinesters to read, produce and distribute zines, and how do we build a creative resistant feminist community through the creation and exchange of zines around the globe?

   I've decided that I
   want to produce
   something that'll
   change people's
   mindsets, make them
   think and talk, make
   them angry, make them
   stand up and spit, scream
   and stomp on these. I want them to
   fucking feel for something. People are getting more
   and more jaded and bored as the days go by and
   they cannot seem to emote anything in their senseless
   and aimlessness. I want to stop that. I know I
   can't single-handedly start a revolution and overthrow
   the government or anything like that. All I
   wanted was to start a tiny little revolution in all my
   reader's minds and hearts that I hope'll lead to bigger

   --Trent, Trippers Zine,

Trent indeed started a small revolution in her reader's minds and hearts. In fact, this even became global! With her lesbian punk rock zine Trippers, Trent joined the worldwide network of young women reading, creating and exchanging self-made and self-published little magazines. In these zines, a growing young women and queer youth find an empowering outlet to express their experiences, thoughts, and anger that accompany the process of growing up in a patriarchal and homophobic society. In addressing issues such as rape, racism, and eating disorders, zine editors point at the very failures of society and create a rebellious alternative. In this spirit, Argentinian Pink Punkies editor Lil calls for a grrrl revolution: "Girls, support our Riotgrrls Revolution! Believe in yourself and always do what you feel. Let's fight against sexism! racism! and anything that stops our Revolution!"

I became actively involved into the zine network during my own zine publishing activity of female sequences: frauenlesbenkulturHEFTig (1999), an alternative magazine focusing on art, music and literature by and for Austrian women/lesbians, and through creating the online archive Grrrl Zine Network (since 2001). Since no central resource platform for grrrl zines existed, I decided to provide a comprehensive (but never complete!) listing of worldwide, multi-lingual, feminist-oriented zines, distros, and DIY (do-it-yourself) projects at Grrrl Zine Network (http:// It now documents around 600 online and print zines and eighty zine distros in 12 languages from 33 countries. In contrast to the general impression that zines are almost exclusively produced in Anglo-America, this archive proves that the network has grown globally. The goal of this site is to facilitate the dialog, creation and growth of an international grrrl zine network, and to encourage others to actively participate in shaping their own media environment.

This article is a bricolage of quotes from interviews I conducted with almost forty grrrl zine editors from Argentina, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Holland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and the USA featured at Grrrl Zine Network. (1) Among others, I asked the following questions:

* What does zine making and distributing mean to you?

* How does the grrrl zine community in your country look like?

* Do you think zines can effect meaningful social and political change?

Grrrl Zines and Distros

   Believe it or not, I was inspired to pick up [a] guitar
   and form my own punk band after reading a riot
   grrrl zine. … 
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