For someone who runs a magazine, attends zine fairs, and had her feminist education through self-published zines and ezines, it’s surprising that I haven’t done a blog post about zines yet. So this evening, home alone with nothing to do, I decided to make a blog about my favourite zines and magazines in my collection.
I only just received this copy of Ladybeard a couple of days, as it’s their newest issue. The magazine has been going for a few years now, but they release issues slowly, working hard on one specific subject for sometimes up to a year at a time. This really shows with this issue, which is thick and filled with content. It’s the “sex” issue, and the articles are incredibly varied and interesting. There’s interviews, art, guides/tutorials, and articles. There’s a real mixture of people’s real-life experiences in there, coupled with informative think pieces. I’ve been flicking through the issue trying to decide what my favourite part of it is, and I simply can’t choose one.
OOMK (One Of My Kind)
OOMK is run by an amazing team of women, Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin, Heiba Lamara and Sabba Khan. Not only do they put out the OOMK magazine several times a year, they also host events such as zine fairs, exhibitions, creative gatherings, and talks. They focus on activism and art, particularly with regards to Muslim women, and the magazine always has a different theme. My favourite issue so far has to the “drawing” issue. Their newest issue is out now and concentrates on the “internet” as a concept, so, as a blogger/vlogger/online activist, I’m really eager to get a copy of that one soon.
While the two magazines I mentioned above are beautifully printed and perfectly bound, The Chapess is more of a traditional DIY feminist zine. It’s compiled through photocopying and scanning, and is always in black and white. I absolutely love The Chapess. It’s old-school, it’s traditional, and looking through the pages you can see that it’s a real collaborative effort. So many people contribute to each issue, and their work always looks amazing in the stark b&w print format. There’s poetry, art, doodles, photography, and everything included within each issue always seems so honest and raw.
Girls Don’t Do That 1&2
Girls Don’t Do That is a series of glossy, full-colour zines that discuss, through photography, art, writing, and poetry, things that girls aren’t supposed to do (but do anyway). It’s a comment on expectations, stereotypes, “girliness”, and femininity. I love these zines because you can flick them open to any random page and will see images of women watching porn, getting drunk and pissing on the street, being sexual, fighting, and eating shit-loads of junk food. The illustrations and photographs are all so beautiful and I just want to contact each and every contributor to tell them how awesome their work is
Diaspora Drama is exactly what it sounds like – a zine about the experiences of people of colour living in diaspora. It’s 100% contributor-based and is another zine that is glossy, full-colour, and so interesting. My favourite article in the first issue is the interview with The Black Balloon Archive, who has worked with M.I.A amongst many other people, and I also absolutely love the “Stoic Indian Series” photographs towards the end of the issue. There is so much variety in each issue with regards to the stories that are told and the experiences that are portrayed, whether those are through writing or art. They also have a blog, which is updated regularly and features much of the same content.
I have a total love-hate relationship with Polyester. On the one hand, it is gorgeous: it’s so colourful, the designs are beautiful, and it’s quirky and interesting and awesome. On the other hand, this is totally a zine for those hipster feminists out there, and that kinda bugs me. It seems like it focuses on trendy feminism, and while the photography in it is always super creative and aesthetically pleasing, every single photograph is of a model who is absolutely tiny – there’s not much diversity, whether that’s regarding size or race. Maybe I love it because I hate it. Maybe it’s just too darn cute to hate.
Poor Lass is a zine that discusses the realities of women growing up, or living in, working class/poor households. It’s run by two working class Northern women and the stories within it are ones that you might not have ever heard if you’ve grown up in a middle/upper class household. Generally positive, the zine gives women the opportunity to tell their stories and generally uplift one another through shared experiences. It’s encouraging, it’s honest, and it’s raw. It’s a zine that I bought when I was struggling through university on minimum wage jobs, and it’s one that made me feel better about the fact that I wasn’t alone.
I am so happy that I managed to find copies of Spare Rib. I was at the Women of the World Festival in London, and was going through the marketplace when I saw the Feminist Library stall. After getting my hands on an awesome “Feminism in Fairy Tales” poster (which now has pride of place on my wall), I spotted out of the corner of my eye some copies of the magazine. And I instantly grabbed 3 or 4. Spare Rib is great. It is a record of feminism from years gone by, and it’s super matter-of-fact in its content. The copies that I have got cover literally everything: non-monogamy, being an anti-racist parent, police occupation, lesbianism, homophobic doctors, and why women should not under any circumstances vote for Thatcher. It’s so good. And it’s really quite educational: you’ll probably get more information about feminism in the 80s and 90s from issues of Spare Rib than you would from an academic paper on the subject.
Some honorable mentions…
Love You Like a Sister Always, Soul Sister Rebel Girl (A Sketchbook of Some Super Ladies Pt.1) by Kellie Huskisson
This zine does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a sketchbook of super awesome ladies, from Frida Kahlo to Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time. The artist, Kellie Huskisson, has several other zines out which are similar to this one, and I love them all.
Make it Work by Kirsty Fife
These zines (I have 2 of them) are about being fat in a thin world. There are articles, personal think-pieces, plus tutorials on making your own clothes and other DIY things.
Your Body is Beautiful by Rebecca Barnett
I just love Rebecca Barnett’s illustrations. That’s all I can really say about this one. Her illustrations are beautiful. Plus, this zine is full of body-positivity and is one of the loveliest things you can look at if you’re having a bad body-image day.
Bitchcraft is possibly the first zine I ever purchased. It’s an old-school, DIY, photocopied zine which is all about feminism, and crafting/craftivism. There’s tonnes of tutorials and lists and recommendations inside each issue.