on Strike: This is resistance the way we
An interview with Tanja
of Bunnies on Strike
Den Haag, The Netherlands
by Elke Zobl
under the slogan "Kicked off girl-engined: made by and edited by girls"
Bunnies on Strike magazine has a big riotgrrr-lady heart. But Tanja, Manuela,
Sanne, Reinco, Daniel, Maaike, Gijs, Hester, Keerolyn and Angela (who made the
website) are not only working on a magazine, they are also involved in other Bunnies
on Strike DIY projects:
on Strike - the Band
Bunnies Strike Talking - spoken word
Bunnies on Strike
- radical cheerleading
Bunnies on Strike Forum
Bunnies on Strike Mailinglist
here what Tanja of Bunnies of Strike says about editing the magazine and her thoughts
on feminism, and check out their web site!
you tell me first of all a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are
you originally from and where do you reside now? What do you do besides your zine?
I'm Tanja, I'm 25 years old. I was born
and raised in a small town called Alkmaar. My mother is an open-minded woman and
my father used to be an political activist in the 60's during the provo time.
Therefor my upbringing was diverse. I didn't think anything was strange and was
brought up to be able to get along with all kinds of people from activists to
hospital managers. I now live in The Hague and work full time as a teacher. I
teach 4-5 yr old children. Those children live in a neighbourhood that's considered
a (freely translated from achterstandswijk/extra aandacht beleid) special needs
area. I enjoy and love the children and want to specialize myself in learning
difficulty and behaviour problems.
how long have you been running your zine now? Are you the only editor or is there
a team? What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the
idea and the name? What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out
started writing little zines when I was in high school. I didn't know about zines
but aspired to grow it into a magazine. When I learned about zines I started to
write. I learned about zines when I started to go to hardcore punk concerts, and
read lot's of zines by boys. I was missing a lot of personal stories and discussed
this with Sanne and Hester. We had never read a riotgrrrl zine then, only heard
the music somehow... In 1998 I spoke to my friends about zines and decided to
start one with my sister and best friend. We didn't really start till we had a
name that truly excited us: Bunnies On Strike! Bunnies On Strike started as a
zine but grew to be more: a radical cheerleading team and a spoken word duo.
were working on our personal contributions to our zine when Hester and I turned
on the tv as a background noise. There was a documentary about the 70's Bunnies
and we were paying attention cos they showed a picture of Debby Harry [Blondie].
When they showed the bunnies striking for better working conditions and social
security we knew we had the name of our zine and project: Bunnies On Strike! The
name Bunnies On Strike embodies what we stand for: We believe that all bunnies
should have the right to strike: all women in and round the sex industry and the
test bunnies in factories. The name also embodies what we feel: no matter how
we dress or act, man are treating us like sex objects, bunnies. We were frustrated
by our lack of control over this objectification and wished we could take a 'day
off from the humiliation' by striking.
have never been part of a community. I like to float between communities. That
is very easy to do online. I have lot's of contact with people who work for their
ideals over email and their feed-back keeps me motivated. Through RIOTGRRRL-europe.net
I got to know many more grrrls and bois.
am the main editor, but I never do this by myself. We cover what excites us or
what frustrates us. When we are on the look out for certain info we often start
writing about it. We believe the personal is political and write about that too.
a zine is lot's of fun. Each of us spends time individually to write and think
up idea's for the lay-out. Then we pick a date to get together and make melt the
idea's together. Then one of us is left to do the final lay-out [page numbering,
an index and a welcoming story] and we're off to the copy-centre to get it copied.
The most challenging thing about making a zine is distributing it. Therefor we're
still looking for someone who wants to do that. Copying and making out packages
to send out is very time consuming and we all have busy lives so yeah, it's hard
to find the time to do it all!
you wanna start a zine? Get connected! Start mailing people and stuff and get
their advice. Start small and grow! Try half size first and get the hang of all
the work that's involved with zine-making and grow then. If you can use a copy
machine for free: take advantage of that [believe me I spend tons copying, both
time and money] and make millions of flyers and leave them everywhere you can.
Spread the word by making a site with a sneak preview, and get yr url on every
search engine and every forum. But most of all: Have fun!!!
you see another action of Bunnies On Strike: a zine workshop at Ladyfest Belgium
in Liege 2003. Nina took the photo's there.
On Strike do several kinds of workshops, like "zine-making" and "how
to become a radical cheerleader". We participate in all kinds of events and
speak out! We're loud and we're proud.
do you hope to accomplish by making and distributing your zine?
Have fun and get issues/stories of my chest
2) Show that activism can be fun
with radical cheerleading
3) I hope to get a discussion going
people to get their own DIY way of getting their thoughts out there
the BUNNIES ON STRIKE project growing by finding new people who are interested
in participating in one of the existing projects or wanna start a new project
of their own in name of Bunnies On Strike.
are some of the zines you read and admire?
Most zines I admire are
older grrrl zines that were made before I knew about them and cover issues like
the guerilla grrrls the start of DHR-Fatal, how to make music how to start a band
am very interested in international grrrl zines. Could you please describe a little
bit the grrrl zine community or network in the Netherlands or in Europe? Are there
others and who are some of the most active participants? Do you think that there
is a separate grrrl zine community/network from the larger zine community?
are lot's of small 'communities' that make zines in Holland, like the anarcha
feminists. They are very well connected and have a very specific goal and public.
Bunnies On Strike is not connected to a community but is just made by a few friends
with totally different lifestyles yet rather like-minded: Hester owns a gallery
in Rotterdam and is daily confronted with the conservative art world that doesn't
shy sexism or racism. Sanne lives in a squat in Amsterdam, works in an anarchist
bookstore and studies sociology, she's daily confronted with the sexism in the
teachings of a modern university. I live in and work in neighbourhoods that are
crowded with unprivileged people and try to motivate women to stand up for themselves
and educate themselves. Our mixed experiences in different cities makes the zine
you consider grrrl and genderqueer zines as an important part of a social movement?
Do you think grrrl, lady, queer and transfolk zines, resource sites, and projects
can effect meaningful social and political change at large - or do they have significance
mainly in individual lives?
is there to show the world what's missing out there. I see that more and more
DIY zines are getting more and more professional and change into magazines [think
of BUSTmagazine] I think that's a very good sign. The more diverse mainstream
culture gets the smaller the DIY scene will be, but for now there's enough missing
to keep on DIY-ing. I think they're very important as they are a very good non
digital and personal way to get the word out! The more a zine is connected to
a specific community, the less it will reach others. Only zines that outgrow their
community can reach people who aren't aware of the issues inside. These zines
will always have the potential to change politics. However the changes of the
mind within even just one individual is an achievement as such and a goal reached.
pic shows Manuela and Tanja performing in Leuven, Belgium at Ladyfest.
Tanja and Manuela do the spoken word section of Bunnies On Strike:
BUNNIES STRIKE TALKING. They have performed at Ladyfest Belgium and Ladyfest Amsterdam.
They are now writing more pieces and making recordings. They are in the process
of getting bookings for coming festivals and projects like Ladyfest Paris, Ladyfest
Manchester and more.
were some of main influences that have empowered you in your life?
free spirited aunt and father, my grandmother who was never scared to change her
strong-minded opinion if new information concluded her to do so, my always motivating
and proud mother, my 'so what?' and 'I'm not sorry' childhood and forever idol
Madonna, my dear friends who were willing to read what I had to write, my faraway
friends who convinced me that my writing was interesting, Hanin Elias, who has
a major inspiring project called 'Fatal,' Huggy Bear for getting the art world
into the DIY scene showing everything can be adapted into a DIY project, and my
fellow Bunnies On Strike friends: Manuela, Sanne, Hester and all the Radical Cheerleaders
role does play the Internet for you?
helps me get the thought out to people all over the world even some who aren't
aware of the zine world. It motivated some girls to start zine-writing too [like
Nina of Riotgrrrl Belgium] and it helps me to motivate me to keep writing, I need
positive feedback every once and a while.
you define yourself as a feminist? [answered
by Tanja personally, this does not reflect the answers of all members of bunniesonstrike]
I try pointing people on their sexist behaviour, and show people around me why
that needs to change.
are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist/
of women is still in the image of the male example. What still considered the
work of an man is appreciated more and has more status. EG man work full time,
so women can do so too. But women are not appreciated as easily and have to prove
themselves harder. The work known as womens-work is still under appreciated and
has no status. Women are objectified. Because Holland is a country that has a
lot of laws that are supposed to discourage sexism, most sexism is hidden. When
pointed out, they try to make it sound logical and women are made to believe they're
oversensitive. Sexism is still not a serious political point, that worries me.
do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as part of "Third
Wave Feminism" and if yes, what does it mean to you? Or, why not?
believe feminism is definitely vivid in the little things, but the third wave
is yet to come. It would excite me if the third wave would come from non-western
Tanja, Sanne, Bianca and Frits are Bunnies On Strike - the band. They
have performed at several festivals in Amsterdam, Alkmaar, Rotterdam, Germany
and [of course] at Ladyfest Belgium and Ladyfest Amsterdam. They now have a split
7" out. It is a split 7" with BEER FOR BREAKFAST, in which Sanne plays
bass as well. For more info, check the site Bunnies On Strike - the band.
would a utopian grrrl-friendly society look like in your view? How do you think
society might be re-thought and transformed to come closer to an "ideal"
world for women, grrrls and queer folks? Do you have any suggestions for the development
of women/grrrl/queer-friendly policies?
I hope for a future that looks
beyond sex, sexual preference, class and race. Where people can find a goal in
life that suits their personal talent and wish. A world where there is such a
variety of status's that everyone can find a field in which they have a higher
status. A world in which everyone has options in the ray of their qualities. However,
a utopia within this society and world, I believe to be non constructive. I believe
that to be fooling oneself and am not looking for a sheltered little paradise.
are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you like
to share them?
the far future I wanna make a magazine like Bust magazine for younger girls. This
magazine will be as glamourous as political. It will have photo's and stories
on the latest pop stars and trends as well as an update on women's issues, self
defence tips, interviews with women in unconventional jobs or hobbies, non religious
spirituality etc all in an easy to understand way of writing and links to sites
that have more info. If I ever choose to do that I will have to have the right
people around me so it couldn't fail, cos I believe it's important for young children
to have access to such information on their level, for I remember really missing
For this project the cheers have been written and are continually
written. The goal is to surpise people at protests and have a laugh whilst protesting.
But we'll expand... Go check the site: Bunnies on Strike - radical cheerleading
there anything else you'd like to add?
Bunnies on Strike is a project
that has many individuals in it. When I answer these questions I speak for myself
Tanja as an individual. I am a part of Bunnies on Strike but cannot speak for
all the others in Bunnies on Strike, so if you notice that other Bunnies on Strike
grrrls/boys are disagreeing with me then that's because we don't always have the
same thoughts and conclusions.
FOR THE INTERVIEW, TANJA!
On Strike have:
are 1,50 Euro. Five zines are 6,- euro.
= issue #1::::::::::::sold
a lot of the content is found online.
= issue #2
the fast issue, format A5, 36 pg. on recycled paper.
contains: Emy writes on
virtual lustobjects, Tanja and Keerolyn write poetry, radical cheerleading, Punk
pretty: Jackie Joice interviewed, Suzi Blade recordings and the Color Guard in
conversation, diy-tip: the t-shirt print and more!!
= issue '10 ways
to be a radical cheerleader', format A5, 16 pg. available on white or recycled
paper. We have made on version of this zine in english and one in dutch. It starts
with a guide through readical cheerleading, centres with how to make pompons and
ends with the cheers written by workshop-attenders at Ladyfest in a cut-and-paste
style. Limited pages, but loads of fun!
Free on request if you order something else.
One A4 folded into a tiny
=split 7" of 'bunnies on strike - the band' with 'beer for breakfast'
in which sanne plays the bass and reinco does the vox. You can choose if you want
Sanne (l) or Tanja (m) on the cover.
undies and some t-shirts
soon to come: recordings of radical cheers!
=> soon to come: recordings
of spoken word.
fotos and images are taken from the Bunnies on Strike website.
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