Girl Zines

Making Media, Doing Feminism

264 pages

46 illustrations

November, 2009

ISBN: 9780814767528

$25

Paper

Also available in

Authors

Alison Piepmeier directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where she is associate professor of English. She is the co-editor of Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the Twenty-First Century and author of Out in Public: Configurations of Women’s Bodies in Nineteenth-Century America.

All books by Alison Piepmeier

All books by Andi Zeisler

With names like The East Village Inky, Mend My Dress, Dear Stepdad, and I’m So Fucking Beautiful, zines created by girls and women over the past two decades make feminism’s third wave visible. These messy, photocopied do-it-yourself documents cover every imaginable subject matter and are loaded with handwriting, collage art, stickers, and glitter. Though they all reflect the personal style of the creators, they are also sites for constructing narratives, identities, and communities.

Girl Zines is the first book-length exploration of this exciting movement. Alison Piepmeier argues that these quirky, personalized booklets are tangible examples of the ways that girls and women ‘do’ feminism today. The idiosyncratic, surprising, and savvy arguments and issues showcased in the forty-six images reproduced in the book provide a complex window into feminism’s future, where zinesters persistently and stubbornly carve out new spaces for what it means to be a revolutionary and a girl. Girl Zines takes zines seriously, asking what they can tell us about the inner lives of girls and women over the last twenty years.

Reviews

  • "Piepmeier's work is an insightful and long-overdue engagement with the feminist work in zines, which played a pivotal role not only in Riot Grrrl but also in the development of the Third Wave in general."

    —Virginia Corvid, Feminist Collections

  • "Feminist identities are the central concern of Piepmeier's Girl Zines, the first full-length academic study of young women's zine production to take third-wave politics as a serious subject of inquiry."

    —Red Chidgey, Signs

  • “Before you could Tweet your every thought to the world, young women cut, pasted, Xeroxed, and traded their own handmade magazines through the mail. In fact, the gorgeously glossy mag you’re holding in your hands right now started off as a ’zine. Girl Zines analyzes the beginning of the movement and its ’revolution grrrl style’ roots, as well as the way ’zinesters used the medium to explore race, sexuality, and identity.”

    Bust Magazine

  • “It’s thrilling to see zines taken seriously in Piepmeier’s Girl Zines, which explores the world of handmade magazines created by women as a kind of social activism.”

    Bookforum

  • “Overall, [Piepmeier’s] analysis about the political role that grrrl zines played is dead on. They were central to the evolution of my own feminist development in college in the early 1990s, speaking directly to my feelings of exclusion, disgust with pop culture, and surliness about the lingering sexism that second-wave feminism had failed to abolish.”

    The American Prospect

  • “Piepmeier’s careful study of the zine movement in girl culture is a powerful and convincing articulation of the ways women’s and girl’s activism has developed, and the creative forms it has taken.”

    —Leslie Heywood, editor of The Women’s Movement Today