The Power of Pen Publishing: International Grrrl Zines and Distros
Zobl, Elke, Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources
According to Lil, one of the creators of the Argentine riot grrrl e-zine PinkPunkies (http://pinkpunkies.8m.com), zine making is "a pleasure, it's getting to know people from all over the world and from my own country, it's to share ideas and opinions, it's to learn and teach, it's to open my mind and help others to open their minds. It's a very good and fun way to get information without all the bullshit that TV or radio give." Lil's comments, as well as her zine, indicate the very active presence of feminist zinesters worldwide, not just in the vibrant North American zine network. Even though the phenomenon may not be as widespread in other countries, and such publications may not even be called "zines" in other places, the medium has nevertheless evolved in various parts of the world.
This article introduces a number of international feminist print and online zines and "distros" (distribution service providers) outside North America. Please keep in mind that these represent only a small selection from the worldwide wealth of contemporary grrrl zines!
La Linea (nos. 1-2, 2003-2004) [in Spanish]
La Linea presents the interdisciplinary, collaborative literary and artistic work of a diverse group of young women, most of whom live and work in the city of Tijuana, Mexico (two live in San Diego, California). Abril Castro, a poet and the member of the group responsible for visual coordination, says that "the name and the idea were given by the place we inhabit: The border (literally 'The Line'). The border between the first and third world." Coming from philosophy, literature, and visual arts, the five members of La Linea try to span a bridge by performing in both cities of the border. The project started when the group realized the lack of opportunities for young women in Tijuana in specific and in Mexico overall: "We began this project after seeing the necessity, urgent in our city and in our country, of creating a space in which to promote the work of young women that are somehow involved, in a preliminary and professional level, with art and literature" (Abril). The zine comprises different literary forms as well as photographic works and other visual art forms. Contributions, all written in Spanish, come not only from members of the group but also from all over Mexico. Each of the issues published so far has had a special topic: The first (2003) was dedicated to "Heroinas" ("Heroines"), the second (2004) to issues of identity.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Price per issue: USD $1.00.
Bendita: Minha boca muda grita em tua orelha surda (nos. 1-4, 2001-2004) [in Portuguese]
Bendita, a Latin American women's initiative against violence towards women, is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Edited by the feminist group Coletivo Artemisia, which formed in October 1999, the zine contains stories by women who have suffered from sexual violence. It was founded to end the silence that prevails around sexual violence, and to make women's voices heard: "We want to tell our stories so that raped girls/boys can identify with it and also because we wanna break the invisible walls that surround this subject. It's our big FUCK YOU to a patriarchal society that tells us to shut up when it comes to rape" (Isabella Gargiulo, former co-publisher). The stories, currently forty-one texts by anonymous authors, are available in Portuguese in printed form as well as online. For Isabella, who also played bass in Dominatrix, Brazil's first all-female, feminist band, zine making has played a significant role: For her it means "creating our own channel to express just about everything we wanna say and were never given a chance. It's so empowering. Especially coz in a lot of occasions it gives a voice to marginalized groups whose voices (and lives) have never been considered by mainstream society in general. Zine making is a way to exist, really. …