We are all people of multiple identities. We have one or many ethnicities. We were born and have lived in one or many places. We might have a religion, a political party, and ideologies about many things. We might be gay or straight or transgender. Tall or short. Large or small. Maybe we’re part of the campus Greek system, or play a sport, or Cosplay, or just love Harry Potter or Star Wars. These and many other things comprise the facets of our complex identities. If, for example, we are “Christian Feminists,” those aspects of our identity might work well together a lot of the time, but they might produce an internal conflict for us at other times.
Just about any time someone from the outside assigns an identity to you, that’s a act of oppression. Just about any time you choose an identity for yourself, that’s an act of empowerment.
We sometimes associate the term Out with being gay. But being out can apply to all aspects of our identities. You might be out or not about your sexual orientation. You might be out or not about your Star Trek obsession.
Just about any time someone from the outside outs you for some aspect of your identity, that’s an act of oppression. Just about any time you choose to out your own identity, that’s an act of empowerment.
A “zine” is a small, often artistic “magazine.” Where Time or Vogue might print a million copies of their magazines, most zines might only print 100 copies. Or in our case, one copy.
A zine can be about anything, but they are often about Art, Punk, and other subcultures. A zine doesn’t have to be about Identity at all, but I’ve learned that zines can be powerful vehicles for expressing and celebrating identity.
Your mission this week is to make a zine. Your zine doesn’t have to be about your identity. If it did, I’d be requiring you to out yourself to the class and that would be an act of oppression. Your zine can be about anything you’d like to make a zine about. But, if it feels appropriate and you’re comfortable with it, you might like to make a zine that explores some aspect of your identity.
I’ve also learned that angry people, or feelings of frustration, can make great zines. The personal and intimate quality of a zine is a great format to rant about the injustices in your world. Stephanie Valdivia made a zine, to the jack asses at work, that explored the ways her coworkers constantly dissed the many aspects of her identity.
Are you confused about graduating college and entering an uncertain world? Career uncertainty? Messed up governments and a messed up planet you’re inheriting from Baby Boomers? Feeling disconnected from the trauma of The Pandemic? Crushed by the oppression of Social Media? Or other things? A zine can be a great place to rant.
You don’t have to be upset about anything! You can also talk about the good things in your life. Your career. Give a Chemistry lesson. Talk about your awesome/lameass GB/BF. It’s your zine! Talk about whatever you want to talk about!
Whatever content you choose to explore in your zine, there are a number of media forms you can feature in your zine:
- Hand Drawings
- Anything on your Phone or Computer
You can use any paper for your zine. Here are a couple of ways to bind it:
And, yes, you can also staple pages together.
One student made a zine about a dance club and used a pair of old earbuds as the “string” to sew her zine together. Creativity, yay!
I don’t know if making Zines will be a part of your career work. You never know. A small Graphic Novel might be a great way to communicate with an audience. But even if your career focuses on more PowerPoint-esque communication tools, the ability to make simple pages with graphics and a few words will serve you well in almost any career.
Your Canvas Post
- Pictures of your zine. Or a video.
- What was your goal with your zine. If you did explore identity and if you are comfortable posting about it, discuss what you tried to share and how you feel about it. Either way, do discuss what you tried to do with your zine and how you feel about your end product.
- What would you do different next time?
- What other things would you like to explore in future zines?