Ten Things to Love About Zines!

In honor of July being International Zine Month, Alex Wrekk, of Brainscan and Stolen Sharpie Revolution, has called for 31 days of zine-related shenanigans. Number one of her list: write 10 things you love about zines. So here goes: 

(by the way, this isn't Jenna- I'm Rowanne, student at Barnard and zine assistant extraordinaire).

  1. Being able to make stuff with your hands. Creating digitally is great for a lot of reasons, but there's nothing like using good old scissors and glue. Unlike with a lot of digital media, it's okay if there are some mistakes-- I think a little messiness can add to a zine's charm. 
  2. Practicing drawing/writing. I love brainstorming what I want to write or draw for a zine. Often the 'Notes' app on my phone is full of half-ideas for pieces and zine-making gives me a place to put all of my thoughts and ideas.
  3. Getting glimpses into the lives of others. People and their lives are so fascinating! I love nothing better than reading a personal zine about someone's everyday life no matter how "ordinary." 
  4. Realizing I'm not alone in any experience/feeling. Kinda like reason number 3, but worth emphasizing. It can be really hard to remember that you aren't the only person who's felt [x] way or had [x] problem; Zines provide the opportunity to read a first-hand account of someone who's had similar experiences. Zines are spaces for people to share and be heard, which helps build solidarity and empathy among the human race! Yay!
  5. Creating your own platform. Voices that are overlooked or silenced are often the ones that most crucially need to be heard. Zines are all about making the ability to publish accessible to anyone.
  6. Lack of censorship. Most media is processed through several editing voices, even if the by-line is attributed to only one person. Zines come directly from the source: what the author thinks is important ends up in the final product. 
  7. Working with awesome people. I've only started making zines on my own recently, most of my zine experiences have focused on collaborating with others. Making zines with friends and organizations at my school (should-out to the Barnard Zine Club) has been a great way to get into zine-making in general. 
  8. Inherently radical in form. No matter the nature of their content, self-publishing zines is a subversive medium of art-making (I call them works of art, even though I know not everyone would). As an Art History student, I have to study a lot of "high-art" (I know, that term is the worst). It's great to see work being made by people outside the art world bubble that is personal, political, and beautiful. 
  9. Zines are proof that analog is still alive both in that they exist, and that they can be a great way to find out about other forms analog media through reviews: books, records, other zines, etc. 
  10. The zine world is virtually jerk-free! Or at least, everyone is trying their best to make it so. The people who make them are dedicated to trying to make the world fairer and more noble by calling out BS when they see it.

Number 11/honorable mention might be that zine libraries wouldn't exist and therefore I wouldn't have my job without zines! ;)