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Feminism

Amy,

My name is Jenny. I have a few questions for you. First of all, and I don't know if this is the type of questions you answer, but I'm doing a paper right now for a 1930's film class. I want to do a feminist response to the fallen woman films of the 1930's, but I have searched high and low to no avail. Have you ever run across anything like this? also, I want to start a feminist zine through an organization on campus. We want to make something that is accessible to everyone, not just college students or women and men who already feel the way we do about feminism. I want the first issue to introduce people to what feminism is to different people and the types of issues feminists are concerned with (yeah. that's going to be long!).

My question is about starting a zine. None of us have ever done anything like this, and we don't know what kind of money we need to start it, how to go about publishing or pretty much anything else. The content is going to come easily, we just don't know how to get to that point. If you can help with any of this, I would really appreciate it. I'm reading Manifesta right now, and I must say that I love it!

Thanks for everything you do!

Jenny

 

Dear Jenny,

As for your first question -- have you heard of this book called Reel Women? You might be able to find something in there. I would also try Women Make Movies, a distribution house -- though they have historically been pretty unhelpful. Now, for your zine....I had an idea for a title -- Common Denominator -- because you seem to be making the case I do constantly: that feminism is really for everyone and it's really a part of everyone's life whether we choose to embrace it or not. This way you don't have to be direct about the goal, but indirect and thus perhaps more welcoming to people who might not otherwise pick it up. Though I'm sure you can come up with a much better title that makes the same point. There are a couple of things you need to get in order:

1.) A mailing list, which will grow as you grow. For now, just start with anyone you have ever know. Even if you don't think they would be interested, they might surprise you. You could have a mailing list party, where everyone has to bring at least 20 names of people. Maybe the guy who sells you your coffee, your doctor, your old camp counselor or babysitter, your best friend, you aunt, the guy who you sit next to in English class. Really anyone and as you grow this will grow. I can't emphasize how crucial it is to start building this list -- it will your mainstay.

2.) Once you have this list together you will have a sense of how many initial copies you will need and thus how much it will cost. Do you know of a sympathetic teacher or parent or anyone who can get you access to a copy machine? That's really all you need -- I wouldn't do anything fancy -- just type or hand-write and Xerox. This shouldn't cost you much -- especially if you can get someone to do it for free. Print more than your list because you will want to just drop some at the local coffee shop. The other big expense is postage -- and there really isn't anyway around that.

You could have a mailing party and everyone could chip in 5 stamps - or something doable like that. Depending on the size you will have to figure out how much it will cost.

3.) Content -- I think it's important to keep the first issue small. You want it to be accessible, and sadly, our generation has the patience of a fly. If you just have too much, perhaps save some stuff for the next issue. For distribution purposes, perhaps you want to include in the zine somewhere a tear sheet that says "send this zine to the following people and they can send this back to you." This means that you are making other people grow your list for you.

Amy

 

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