Feminist Zine Fests: On the Up and Up

This past February, two New York zinesters organized the NYC Feminist Zine Fest, hosting over 30 tablers, 300
attendees and abounding feminist vibes. In reaction to the sexist and overall offensive material they saw at general zine fests, Kate Angell, librarian and writer of the zine My Feminist Friends, and Elvis Bakaitis, writer of the zine Homos in Herstory, decided it was time to create a safer, feminist-specific zine fest.
“There are a lot of people out there working on really important feminist and queer-positive art and writing
projects,” says Angell. “We need space and support to come together and share our work and ideas.”
The New York fest has motivated other cities to use their DIY ethics to organize separate zine fests, including
August 2012’s Philly Feminist Zine Fest that saw over 30 tablers and hosted a number of inspiring workshops such as “Putting the Pain to Paper” which was presented by the For the Birds Collective and taught attendees how to use writing as a tool to process painful experiences.
“There’s an entirely different feeling in a room full of feminist folks,” says organizer Sarah Rose. “I haven’t been in a lot of spaces where people take such great pains to be respectful and kind to one another in such a calm, enthusiastic way.”
In June, the first annual Women of Color Zine Fest was held on the opposite coast in Portland, Oregon.
Tonya Jones, founder of the WOC Zine Group, had the idea when she noticed the lack of diversity at the Portland Zine Symposium, one of the longest standing zine fests in the States.
“I think now is an important time for feminist zine fests as women’s rights are constantly being attacked,” says Jones. “I think, particularly for women of colour, our issues and voices especially need a space as we tend to be marginalized in mainstream (white) feminism.”
Upcoming feminist zine fests in the US include the Sarah Lawrence Zine Fest, focusing on feminist and queer
zines, on Saturday, November 10th in Bronxville, New York. Organizer Ciaran Rhodes believes specific zine fests for certain identities foster support and crucial networking.
“When we can share the experiences of all different types of people,” she says, “we can get a better understanding
of what feminism is, what it needs to be and how we need to get it there.”
(Cynthia Ann Schemmer)

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