Zine, Christina Hajjar & Jules Hardy (eds.), 74 pgs, email@example.com
At 74 letter-sized pages, 68 of which have their own contributor, the first-ever issue of Whiny Femmes is almost overwhelming in stature, but arguably such is the importance of femme voices in print. Editors Christina Hajjar and Jules Hardy begin their compilation with a call to arms, announcing with a refreshing verve that they “believe in a politic that addresses the simultaneity of cis white capitalist colonial heteropatriarchy!”
Positioning Whiny Femmes as a response to the ambiguity and fluidity of femme identity, Hajjar and Hardy have reclaimed a hearty space for no one meaning of femme-ness, drawing from queer trailblazers such as Audre Lorde and Ivan E. Coyote in their vision of self-definition, of “broadening the joining.” To take on “whiny” as a queer femme positionality is indeed rife with potential, and it shows on these pages. karina killjoy (@femmefilth on Instagram) provides the issue’s opening contribution, “bitching as revolutionary political praxis,” writing with candor of the complex relationship between femme erasure, justice, and healing.
Vanessa Rochelle Lewis offers a love letter to their baby femme self with their “Why Every Femme Needs Another Fierce Femme Warrior.” Sharing equal parts self-testimony and self-care within their undeniably necessary advice, Lewis writes “Choose your femmes like you are choosing your tomorrow.” Words and contributions such as these are the highlights of a compilation packed full of radical sentiments. Looking past the aims of the zine itself, there is arguably perhaps too much to take in with this issue, but to that I would counter that it is imperative of queer femmes to take up space, to be given space, to denounce claims of being “too much.” Aisha Nelani writes, “Don’t you want to look at great modernist paintings while waiting to have shards of glass pulled out of your face?” I can think of no better way of expressing the immediacy of queer femme experience. (Sarah-Tai Black)