Hi Real Life Athena readers!
My name is Rose, I’m currently a senior at Barnard College out in NYC, and I’m a new member of Real Life Athena! Today, I’m going to show you all the first (and so far, only) zine I have ever made.
Zines are awesome. They’ve been around for as long as printing has been a thing and have been used historically by activists, feminists, anarchists, and all kinds of rad people to publish all kinds of rad ideas. They’re all self-published and made without profit as the goal, and technically a zine shouldn’t have a circulation of more than a thousand copies. Other than that, they’re all completely different! There are comic zines, political zines, fanzines, fiction zines… basically, anything you can think of, there’s a zine for. I’m currently using a zine as a source for a final paper for my class about anarchism and the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the New York City Feminist Zine Festival, which was a public event held at my school. It was so amazing! I walked around the all the booths, talked with people selling their zines and went to a zine reading session where seven zinesters read aloud from their work. Some of my favorites were Suzy X (who does The Best Song Ever comics for Rookie!), Annie Mok and Jenna Brager.
I left the festival armed with the zines I’d bought and feeling pretty inspired. Then, I went on to spend the rest of the night making my own zine! I’m a huge comics nerd, so I took a comic-y route. I also used the one-page set up (which you can see below) that I’ve used before for my own mini-comics.
(Illustration by Beth Hetland)
This semester I’m doing a club-thing called CU FemSex, taken from the original Female Sexuality club at Berkeley. Basically, it’s really awesome and I had to come to our meeting the next day with a Body Project, hence, my zine became my Body Project. I don’t usually go the personal route when I’m doing my artwork. Usually, I’ll do little comic story lines or I’ll draw interesting looking people that I conjure up using my imagination, so doing a zine that was all reflections about my body was a little uncomfortable and scary. Ultimately, though, it was pretty awesome and got me thinking it might be something I continue to do. After all, I’ve been pretty inspired by a lot of comic artists that do personal narratives (Vanessa Davis, Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel to name a few) and maybe it’s time that I try my hand at it.
Anyways, here’s my zine! Click on the images to see them bigger and go into the slideshow mode.
*Just a tiny note: when I say that I became body positive and also say that I didn’t shave my legs, I don’t mean it to seem like not shaving is the only way to be body positive. I just personally don’t really like shaving and like my body hair. There’s no wrong way to be body positive!
**Barnard shout out: my school has an amazing zine library (and our own zine librarian!). Our zine library collects zines by women (cis- and trans*) and with an emphasis on zines by women of color, about a myriad of feminist/activist/identity topics. It’s pretty awesome. Go here to learn more: http://zines.barnard.edu/blog.