Gender & Women’s Studies
This project examines the Riot Grrrl punk feminist movement of the 1990s and its production of girl zines as artistic, cultural, and political artifacts. Zines, or self-produced and self-published magazines, allowed young women access to DIY (do-it-yourself) mediums for self-representation. As Riot Grrrl’s third-wave feminist consciousness and cultural production tactics spread to more girls throughout the 90s, zines became a primary method of communication and community-building for girls in the movement and on the outskirts of the scene. From girl zines in the Barnard Zine Library, I gathered data to map over 600 zines from the 1990s in the United States to show how girls used zines to form non-geographical communities. In addition to being neither private nor public, zines also disrupt binary formations between the mind/body, producer/consumer, and personal/political discussed in each chapter. In Chapter 1, I analyze both the content and materiality of girl zines such as Nomy Lamm’s i’m so fucking beautiful and Lauren Jade Martin’s You Might As Well Live among others to show how they challenge the patriarchal mind/body dualism by applying political consciousness to personal experiences. In Chapter 2, I examine how girl zines like Marie’s Rock Candy emphasize communication and community-building as tactics that blur traditional hierarchies between producers and consumers. In opposition to many scholars’ construction of Riot Grrrl as only a cultural or personal revolution, my third and final chapter claims that girl zine creators were actually developing accessible and experimental third-wave political strategies that feminists can continue in the 21st century.
Szmodis, Paige, "Riot Grrrl and Girl Zines: Intersectional Feminist Art in Action" (2018). Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies Honors Papers. 1.