“Zines resist and challenge binary thinking; they evoke the complexity and plurality of ways of being.” -Randi Nixon and Kristin Rodier
Zines are self-produced and often hand-made magazines that are circulated by mail or by hand. Feminist zines were first produced in the early 1990s, and as Alison Piepmeier points out in her 2009 book Girl Zines: Making Media, Making Feminism, these little books cover “every imaginable subject matter, from food politics to thrift shopping to motherhood.” Despite the wide variety of topics and the multiple ways that zines can be defined, one of the primary characteristics of zines is to share, spread, inform and educate about experiences that have been historically marginalized and suppressed. In this way, zines have become important sites of both community building and identity formation.
Students in Kristin Rodier and Randi Nixon’s WGS 201, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, explored zines in a creative assignment this winter. Students were asked to work in small groups to make zines that engaged with course concepts, issues and themes. Students were encouraged to relate what was discussed in the course to real world examples and personal experiences, through song lyrics, poetry, collages, illustrations, recipes, how-to guides, or any mode they deemed effective.
Several zines from this class were on view in the Feminist Exhibition Space, along with an exhibition of “zine pages” – individual pages from some of the many zines produced for WGS 201, from May 1 to September 4, 2015