Zine Review: Cockroach #18

Cockroach Issue #18
Advice zine, Various, 26 pgs, cockroachzine.com, $5

ZINES_Cockroach (Jeff Low)It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a zine with a clear purpose. Cockroach is here to lend a helping hand and a little bit of perspective. The latest issue of the long-running Winnipeg-based eco-feminist zine compiles a handful of personal experiences and stories. The elements of interactivity scattered throughout are a nice touch too. The cover is meant to be decorated with doodles, and there are prompts for discussion that allow the reader to write their own ideas, questions and doodles in the blank page that they can then post to Instagram. These prompts attempt to further involve the reader in the content and motivate the mag’s potential for inciting change. Topics of conversation range from self-harm and suicide, to sexual abuse, to anxiety and psychological health, to thrift shopping and commodity-owning and more. Perhaps the most constructive interactive prompt follows a personal article by Megan Linton on sexual abuse and the surrounding culture that silences and further traumatizes victims. The following interactive nugget asks readers to contemplate the possibilities of change toward a consent culture. “If we’re living in a consent culture, ensuring potential are partners were cool with everything going down would be normal and expected,” the zine’s editors write. “Obviously, we’re not there.” The mag also offers some modest advice to jumpstart the dialogue on the matter: “Talk about what consent looks like, especially with partners … Allow children to decide what happens to their own body … Sex is fun but it’s not a prize or a goal. Stop talking like it is one.” All in all, this issue of Cockroach is a sincere read, where experience dovetails into constructive societal criticism. (Jeff Low)