powderbox zine distro (PzD) is a feminist/queer/trans/ friendly zine and craft distro. it is my goal to bring independant media to you from hardworking zinesters of all ages, races, and backgrounds.
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My Zine Manifesto by Hannah D. Forman
Reading Seventeen or YM when you're an adult is like revisiting your old high school; even though you graduated and moved on you can't help but feel high school drama flood back into your body when you step inside the building. You forget that the boy you liked in Math class is now an adult too and not that acne faced boy who ignored you for the girl with a slimmer body and caked on makeup. For some reason I thought that looking at the new issue of Seventeen wouldn't sting like it used to. I thought I had one up on it, that I was a feminist punk rock zinester who didn't need the American Eagle and Bonnie Belle makeup guilt trips. But just like re-visiting high school the young girl inside me started crying again and feeling empty. Fashion magazines are like a bully that won't go away.
These days I only buy BUST, Bitch, various underground zines, and comics. But my school was featured in the School Zone section of the latest Seventeen and people I knew were on the pages. How could I not shell out two bucks for this issue? After flipping straight to the Evergreen fashion spread I started the daunting task of reading the articles and contradicting advertisements that followed. They were shorter than I remembered and the writing was dumbed down; even the editors know how young there readers really are. I was amazed at how horrible this magazine was still capable of making me feel. It was as if I had wondered back into my old high school building and I felt sick to my stomach. It scares me that as a strong feminist woman this magazines could still pin me down. I can't even begin to imagine how detremental this mag must have been when I had zero confidence in jr. high.
After finishing the issue I felt taken advatage of, manipulated. I hate how all these magazines berate us with make-up and diet tips, odes to Britney Spears, and heroin chic physiques. It is amazing to me how much power a magazine holds over our self-esteem. It can build us up and break us down so we will consume more products to patch blemishes, diet ourselves down for boys we crush on, and all the other gender norms the magazines works so hard to maintain; we pay the cover price regardless.
The truth is magazines are fun to read because they are like an ongoing conversation, a soap opera of sorts. We get to read the articles and then the next issue read angry letters from the readers. But why should we be forced to feel bad about ourselves? Why should be talked down too? Why should we have to look at airbrushed belly buttons and read edited stories about girls with glossy problems? The answer is simple, we don't. We have zines. Zines will not only tell the true experiences of being female but they are self esteem builders for the girls who create them. Zines let you get down to the nitty gritty, they tell real stories that are not edited over to have a Hollywood ending; they don't cower in fear, making sure the content will not be deemed offensive to the advertisers. Zines are real, they are sometimes no more then a girl in her bedroom with a sharpie and piece of paper telling the story about being raped as a child or being pissed off at pop culture icons and the beauty ideals. Zines can be poetry and short stories, little comics about being in a mental hospital, a collection of miscellaneous articles by a group of friends, vegan recipes, or an ode to a favorite band or TV show. Not only does it feel good to read real stories but the act of creating a Zine builds girls self-esteem. They are creating something from nothing and learning that even though they may not fit the Hollywood mold they are valid human beings with fascinating things to say.
I believe Zines are part of the solution to the crisis our country is facing with girls self esteem. Not only does the act of creating build feelings of self-worth but writing a Zine opens you up to a whole new community of girls who are battling to express themselves too. If you search you will find groups such as Grrrl Zines a Go-Go: a zine and artist book-making workshop group that has formed in 2002 and facilitates workshops in community venues and nonprofit organizations in the San Diego area, and especially focuses on the empowerment of teenage girls through the production of zines and artist books. Zines really bring home the old feminist theory "the personal is political." Sometimes sharing your stories with the world is a political act. We learn to not feel ashamed of our own thoughts and feelings and come to realize that we have the power to turn a blank piece of paper into a work of art.
I wish I had known about zines when I was in high school - maybe I wouldn't have been left feeling like my only options were Teen and Cosmo. We need to stop being told what to wear and what to say and start setting the rules for ourselves. All hail the art of Zines!
i am 23 year old zinester from Brooklyn, New York
who now lives part time in WA and part time in NH.
i'm a radical sex loving feminist with a pink typewriter
and glitter fetish who writes for girlpunk.
check out my livejournal if you wanna know more about me.