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The Edgy-catin' Mama
:
A look at homeschooling without rose colored glasses

An interview with Nina Packebush

by Elke Zobl

May 2002

"The Edgy-catin' Mama is a feminist home/unschooling zine that looks at the world of homeschooling WITHOUT the rose colored glasses. Edgy blows all those myths about homeschooling off the planet. If your kids are not little brain surgeons that read Shakespeare in their spare time then this zine is for you. If you are feminist, single, lesbian, poor, or in any way outside the mainstream and homeschool your children then this is the zine for you. Contributors always needed!" (Nina)

Can 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?
Let's see, I am 34. I have lived in Washington State my whole life. Right now I live in a very small town about 45 minutes from Seattle

What do you do besides your zine?
I homeschool my 3 kids, ages 15, 12 and 4. I also write when I have the time, garden and care for out collection of pets.

For how long have you been running your zine now? How many issues did you put out until now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?
I have been doing my zine for about 9 months. My third issue is just about to come out. I was the only editor for the first edition, but now I have 3 volunteer editors that I can't live without.

What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the idea and the name?
Edgy was birthed out of a deep desperation for community. As a homeschooling mama I was desperate for a supportive feminist homeschooling community, which in the 9 years of homeschooling I had not found. I craved a connection with other thinking, intelligent feminist women who had a sense of humor and who were outside of the homeschooling mainstream.

I came up with the idea after spending time on a few internet message
boards talking with other women who were in the same boat. The name came from a rejection letter that I received on an essay I submitted to a mainstream homeschooling magazine. The editor told me that she liked it, but that it was a little bit "too edgy".

What topics are most often discussed in your zine?
Anything and everything related to homeschooling and/or feminism.

What do you hope to accomplish by establishing yourzine?
I hope to not only get to know other like minded women, but also to provide a support network for other women that are feeling alone out there as homeschoolers and feminists. Edgy is for all of us who aren't afraid to admit that sometimes children are magic and sometimes they really suck.

What does zine making (and reading) mean to you? What do you love about zine making? What ís the most challenging aspect of making zines?
Zine making has become very important to me. I love getting submissions from other women and feeling a deep connection to them, even though we have never met. I love being able to provide a place for feminist women to say the things that are not o.k. for them to say among mainstream homeschoolers. I just love every part of putting the zine together from collecting essays to the actual paste up.

The most challenging aspects of doing the zine is keeping the subscriber list straight. My zine grew a little faster than I had anticipated and I am a very disorganized person, so that has been frustrating at times. It is also tough to come up with the money to print and mail every three months and to find the time to write my essays and put the zine together.

What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out about them? What have they come to mean to you?
The first zine I ever saw was Hipmama. After discovering that, I began
visiting the Hipmama website and message board. I found that many of the message board participants put out zines and after ordering a few I was hooked.

Zines now provide me with a feeling of connection to other like minded
people, people you rarely hear from in mainstream publications.

Do you consider grrrl zines as an important part of a movement of sorts? Do you think zines can effect meaningful social and political change?
Yes, I think so. To me zines are just so much more raw, real and honest
than anything you will ever find in the mainstream press that I think they can really touch people on a deeper level.

 

What does the zine community mean to you?
I don't really feel personally connected to a larger zine community, but I am very thankful to know that there are other grrrl zine makers out there. I guess Edgy would not be here if it wasn't for the larger zine community, because I never would have had the guts to do this without knowing there were others like me out there.

What advice would you give others who want to start a zine?
Just get out there and do it and don't worry about whether people will like it or not.

What are some of the zines you admire?
I really like V is for Voice, Miranda, Random Thoughts and The Deep South Mouth.

Could you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine community in your country?
I am really not that connected to the zine community so I guess Ican't really answer that.

Do you define yourself as a feminist?
Absolutely!

What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist)?
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Right now, being the mom of a 12-year-old girl, I am constantly being
made aware of the gender stereotypes that she is being forced to face as she enters her teen years and also the physical dangers that seem to be ever present. It infuriates me when people feel free to comment on the things she does that are not "normal for a girl her age", things like her interest in amphibians, invertebrates and the like. I hate seeing men and boys openly leer at her or make comments. And I feel intense rage every time she wants to go to the woods in a nearby park and I must arm her with a cell phone and pepper spray. That is not right. It is not the same for boys. This is a dangerous world for girls and women and watching my daughter grow up really slaps that reality in my face. I think when these things are happening to you, you don't see it as clearly, but when it is your child you see it everywhere.

Are you active in the feminist movement?
Yes

What do you think about feminism today? Do you seeyourself as part of Third Wave Feminism and what does it mean to you?
Yes, I do think of myself as a third waver. To me the third wave is not only about continuing the fight of the second wavers but also about reclaiming girl culture and Goddess centered religions...among other things.

Which role plays the Internet for you? Does it change your ideas of making zines and doing/reading zines?
The internet has played a phenomenal role in the making of Edgy. Without the internet Edgy would not exist. I have met all of my writers, editors and the vast majority of my subscribers through the internet. I have found all of the zines that I subscribe to on the internet.

 

emailing Nina at:

npackebush [AT] aol.com

Subscriptions are $8.00 per year.



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