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Girl Zines

Making Media, Doing Feminism

Alison Piepmeier, Andi Zeisler

Publication Year: 2009

With names like The East Village Inky, Mend My Dress, Dear Stepdad, and I'm So Fucking Beautiful, zines created by girls and women over the past two decades make feminism’s third wave visible. These messy, photocopied do-it-yourself documents cover every imaginable subject matter and are loaded with handwriting, collage art, stickers, and glitter. Though they all reflect the personal style of the creators, they are also sites for constructing narratives, identities, and communities.

Girl Zines is the first book-length exploration of this exciting movement. Alison Piepmeier argues that these quirky, personalized booklets are tangible examples of the ways that girls and women ‘do’ feminism today. The idiosyncratic, surprising, and savvy arguments and issues showcased in the forty-six images reproduced in the book provide a complex window into feminism’s future, where zinesters persistently and stubbornly carve out new spaces for what it means to be a revolutionary and a girl. Girl Zines takes zines seriously, asking what they can tell us about the inner lives of girls and women over the last twenty years.

Published by: NYU Press


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TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. xi-x

I highly recommend that other scholars delve into the world of zines. This is the only research I’ve ever done that has resulted in surprise packages in the mail: zines, handwritten letters, buttons, and posters—sometimes with creative doodling on the envelope itself. ...

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pp. xi-xiv

I was living in Chicago when I discovered them, interning as an editor/ proofreader/general office gal at a tiny literary magazine run by a thirty-something married couple out of their apartment. I knew only a little about the medium of zines: I’d read reviews of them in Spin and Sassy magazines. ...

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pp. 1-22

We have big plans for a grassroots, girl power, teenage girl movement of youth rebellion—jackets, we need jackets. The power of style must not be downplayed in terms of political mobilization. Can’t you picture it—gangs of girls—teenage girls in gangs all across america, breaking through boundaries of race and class ...

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1. “If I Didn’t Write These Things No One Else Would Either”: The Feminist Legacy of Grrrl Zines and the Origins of the Third Wave

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pp. 23-56

In 1988, Sarah Dyer began working as producer of the successful, nationally distributed punk zine No Idea. She and her co-producer, who was male, started a record label and put on punk shows in addition to publishing and distributing the zine. They worked collaboratively at every level. ...

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2. Why Zines Matter: Materiality and the Creation of Embodied Community

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pp. 57-86

I became aware of the significance of the materiality of zines through my teaching. Every time I teach a class about zines, a significant percentage of the students begin making their own. Many of them have never heard of zines, but when I bring in a pile for them to flip through and take home, they become inspired. ...

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3. Playing Dress-Up, Playing Pin-Up, Playing Mom: Zines and Gender

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pp. 87-122

Disrespect and violence form a constant background noise for girls and women, defining features of a culture where “fighting like a girl”—or doing anything “like a girl”—is an insult. Stefanie Moore describes life in a body that is liable to be “ignored humoured beaten raped,” as well as “not . . . taken seriously.” ...

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4. “We Are Not All One” Intersectional Identities in Grrrl Zines

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pp. 123-154

Grrrl zines are a space for girls and women to articulate complex identities, with attention to the intersections of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and history. As a number of scholars have noted, “multiculturalism” and “diversity” are now popular, pervasive ideas that have, in the post–civil rights, ...

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5. Doing Third Wave Feminism: Zines as a Public Pedagogy of Hope

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pp. 155-192

In an essay called “Ohio” in Doris #24, Cindy Crabb muses on a number of things—determining a turtle’s age from the rings on its shell, change in her life over the years, how she has come to reconsider her own fears and assumptions, and the tools for social justice work that she’s assembled from groups ...

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pp. 193-200

Recently I gave a presentation on zines for an undergraduate American literature class. I described zines, showed slides of zine pages, and discussed the wide variety of things people do with and in zines. At the end of the class, a quiet student approached me. ...

Appendix: Where to Find Zines

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pp. 201-206


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pp. 207-240


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pp. 241-248

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About the Author

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pp. 249

Alison Piepmeier directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the College of Charleston, where she is Associate Professor of English. She is the co-editor of Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century and author of Out in Public: Configurations of Women’s Bodies in Nineteenth-Century America. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814768501
E-ISBN-10: 0814768504
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814767511
Print-ISBN-10: 0814767516

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2009