Zines have a very special place in feminism. At the turn of the century, the Riot Grrrl Movement rose out of the US west coast DIY punk scene and rallied under the slogan “Revolution Girl Style Now.” Their basic credo–that girls should take care of each other–was spread through homemade underground band fanzines such as Girl Germs, Bikini Kill, and Sister Nobody. Zines, as they came to be called, were filled with personal stories, artwork, and music lyrics; a space to rage against societal abuses and spread girl love. In DIY fashion, they were copied and delivered by hand or through the mail.
Zines are motivated by a desire for self-expression and creators combine media, quotes, and comics with personal stories and rants, advice, artwork, poetry, music lyrics, and satiric commentary–whatever it takes to express what’s real and powerful.
Check out “The History of Riot Grrls in Music” by Kristin Schilt.
To find out more, take a look at the GrrlZine Network. The Book of Zines has links to everything you’ll need to know about how to create your own zine or group zine. Check out the British Library’s collection of zines, graphic books and comics.
Comics are a great way to make a political statement, break down stereotypes, take on some of the crazy assumptions people make, and celebrate people who do courageous things.
Berkeley, California cartoonist Rebecca Cohen, also known to many as Gyno-Star, does all of this by creating snarky, smart feminist cartoons.
Alison Bechel, creator of the popular comic strip, Dykes To Watch Out For, and known for the Broadway play Fun Home, an adaptation of her graphic memoir, is also famous for drawing The Rule, which describes what is widely known as the Bechdel-Wallace Test.
A movie passes the test if:
(1) it has at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.
You’d be surprised how hard it is to ace this test!