In our digital age, intersectional feminist activists have revived the art of zine-making to create grassroots publications for consciousness-raising and community-building around anti-colonial, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, disability, queer, and feminist politics.
Zines exploded in popularity during the punk movement in the 1970s and again with the feminist RiotGrrrl movement in the 1990s. They were handmade small-run noncommercial paper publications, usually produced through do-it-yourself techniques.
As zines are relatively easy to create and distribute, they were quickly taken up as projects for DIY political resistance among young women seeking authentic self-expression and connection with other radical thinkers. Their zines were often filled with free-flowing illustrations and collage, printed with the help of a trusty photocopier, and distributed through local markets and mail order.
In this post, I wanted to share with you some zines that have been created by intersectional feminist activists. Almost all of the intersectional feminist zines featured below are freely downloadable as PDF, with the exception of one that is available to purchase for a small fee.
After you’re thoroughly inspired, I’ll also walk you through how you can create your own zine. I have instructions for both print and e-zines.
This digitally designed zine is an accessible primer for intersectionality theory featuring collected writings by students Mya Gamble, Lola Williams, and Autumn Sumruld.
This gorgeous celebration of queer folx, women of color, and the Chicana feminist movement has amazing collage work and hand-lettering. Created by students Carolyn Mai, Safieh Moshir Fatemi, and Arielle Valesio.
This Montreal-based zine has several issues available online between 2014–2018 full of art, poetry, and essays.
This simple yet richly informative zine was created by the Planting Seeds Community Awareness Project. Archived here, it reminds us how zines were primarily about disseminating vital, and sometimes literally life-saving, information to people who are marginalized and oppressed.
This is another vibrant, graphic zine utilizing collage and hand-lettering featuring assorted pieces on radical feminists, postcolonial feminism, and LGBTQ+ issues. Created by students Yasmeen, Irene, Lexi, and Jackie Domi.
This zine is created by Vikki Law features the art and writings of incarcerated women around the United States.
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This is a radical decolonial Native Xicana feminist zine created by Daisy Salinas, who in addition to being a zinester, is also an activist and punk musician. As you’d expect, Muchacha packs a punch.
A graphic zine all about body image and oppressive white patriarchal beauty ideals. Created by students Patty Martinez, Claire Tafoya, and Madison Mercer.
This is a Black punk zine created by Osa Atoe. There are eight issues in total published between 2006–2018 available online for view.
Zine-making in the new digital age has been taken to the next level with talented designers and artists like Soofiya. This one’s all about people’s experiences with menstruation with an intersectional feminist ethos. The zine was previously crowdfunded and now has limited copies available for sale on Etsy.
This is an old-school zine from 2007 that was created from an academic essay by Renya K. Ramirez about Native feminist consciousness. It reminds us that intellectualism and activist practice have always been closely entwined and that as academics, we need to continually look for ways to communicate our writing beyond the exclusive walls of universities.
How to Make Your Own Zine
I’ve created this image to show you the basic template for a print mini-zine.
The size of the paper doesn’t matter as you’ll be folding it in eights so each page will just work out to be 1/8th of your original paper size.
Typical sizes for zines are:
- 5.5” x 8.5” (larger book-sized zine),
- 2.75” x 4.25” (medium standard-sized zine), and
- 4.25” x 5.5” (mini zine).
You’ll need a pair of scissors and pens, pencils, clippings, glue, stickers, and really anything you’d like to decorate it.
But first, you’ll need to assemble the zine and it’s a bit of an origami exercise:
Instructions for Zine-Making
- Take your paper and fold it in eighths along the lines in the template above, then unfold. All the dotted lines marked in the template should now be creased.
- Fold the paper in half crosswise and cut a slit through the middle, following the guide above.
- Unfold the paper again and refold lengthwise.
- Holding the left and right ends of the folded sheet, gently push the ends together so that the slit you cut opens into a diamond shape.
- Keeping pushing inwards until the folds meet together in the center and your paper now resembles a cross shape.
- Fold pages around like a book to get the basic structure of your zine.
If you got that from the instructions alone then you’re a zine-making wizard.
If you’re anything like me, you’d need someone to show it to you. Watch this video below to see how it’s done:
If you’re drawing the pages of your zine or designing them on the computer before you print, fold, and assemble the zine, remember that pages 1–4 on the top row of the template will need to be designed upside down.
When the finished zine is assembled, they’ll end up the right way up.
Digital Zine Template
Digital intersectional feminist zines can be easily made via free graphic design tools such as Canva, a browser-based drag-and-drop app. It’s filled with visual elements, fonts, and templates with which you can design and publish your creations. You can also upload your own images and graphics to use in your designs.
I’ve created an 8-page 5.5” x 8.5” zine template on Canva that you’ll be able to copy as a file and decorate as you see fit. I’ve included a few decorative elements scattered through the pages just to show you what you can do with Canva’s in-built graphics, but you’ll be able to change them, move them, and delete them as you see fit.
You can also add more pages as you need just by hitting the “+” button on the top-right menu.
Barnard College has an impressive Zine Library you can visit.
The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University also has a collection of over 4,000 zines.
The Sherwood Forest Zine Library has made an epic collection of zines available for download on Black Lives Matter, policing, and protest.
Alison Piepmeier (2009) Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism
Janice Radway (2011). Zines, half-lives, and afterlives: On the temporalities of social and political change. PMLA, 126(1), 140–150.
This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase through my link at no additional cost to you.
Featured image by Luke Porter