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It's a passion! (her) riot distro gives something to think about

An interview with
Stina B

by Elke Zobl
Jun 2002


"the fairy tale about (her) RIOTdistro started when riikka Ladybomb, in august 2001, asked stina to join the ladybomb crew and help her out with her distro. she said yes of course and started ladybomb swe. after a short while they decided that stina should start her own distro since she found so many swedish zines and since she was ready to go her own way. her riot distro was born and ladybomb swe was both Ladybomb and (her) RIOT distro was started because there where no distros in our countries that distroed feminist fanzines and demos and we saw it as our mission to change that. and we did.(her) RIOT distro is a non profit distro (but if yr nice you'll give me a copy for free as a little thank you gift for the work i do.) i distro feminist zines only! (although i do some few compromises if the zines is really REALLY good and is political in some other sort of way.) for me it's important to get girls (yeah there are boy feminist too but i haven't found anyone who writes a feminist zine yet so until then i write girls and nothing else) voises heard, it's hard to convince the punk boys with distros to distro yr radical feminst zine.. i don't wanna see any sexism, nor in the stuff i distro or in my own organisation, so i don't bann boys. but you'll have to write more than a short "the patriarcal system suchs" to charm me." (from the web site)


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?
My name is Stina, I’m 21. I’m originally from the north of Sweden, a town called Piteå, when I was 5 we moved to a town near Stockholm, Nynäshamn. Currently I live and study gender issues at university in Karlstad.

What do you do besides your zine and distro?
Study, write letters, try to start a band, read etc.

For how long have you been running your zine and distro now? How many issues of your zine did you put out until now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?
My distro was born a year ago. First it was named Ladybomb swe and worked as a sort of baby from Riikka's Ladybomb, I helped her out here in Sweden. But after about 5 months I think, we decided that I should have my own distro since I found so many interesting Swedish zines and it was time for me to stand on my own feet. I came up with the name (her) RIOT distro and stuck with it. I’ve got 3 zines now I think.. one music zines that I write with Riikka Ladybomb that has 2 issues out, one mini zine about feminist self defense and I am currently working on a sort of personal/political zines.

What made you decide to start the zine and distro? How did you come up with the idea and the name?
Why I started to make zines.. I have no idea! I’ve always written my own magazines when I was young.. as long as I can remember really. But I got started for real a few years ago, don’t remember why, and have been obsessed by it since. The distro thing just landed on my lap when Riikka asked me if I wanted to join Ladybomb and I thought it’d be fun to help her out and to do something creative. It was hard to come up with a name for my distro, when Ladybomb swe was no longer an option.. I wanted something powerful and pro-girl, it’s named (her) riot cuz it’s not only for girls, although I haven’t had one single boy customer..

What topics are most often discussed in your zine?
Girl conspiracy, the music zine, is about music. It has interviews and reviews and thought about music scenes. Fight Back! Is about self defense and how damn important it is to be able to defend yourself. In my personal/political zine I discuss topics that I walk around an think about, a lot feminist topics I must say.

What do you hope to accomplish by establishing your distro and zine?
I hope to help people find great zines when it comes to my distro. Also show girls that distros are not only for boys, here in Sweden there’s only guys who run distros you see. With my zines I hope to get answers to my own questions and give answers to others questions and give people something to think about maybe. Hopefully.

What does zine making, distributing (and reading) mean to you? What do you love about zine making? What ms the most challenging aspect of making and distributing zines?
It’s a passion! I loved to read girly magazines when I was a teenager and now when I’ve grown and gotten aware of the misogyny in those I turned to the zines scene. The most challenging thing with running a distro is for me personally to have it organized! And just small things like how to make zinesters realize I can’t pay full price for their zines plus the postage for the zines they send me. It’s the small things that can sometimes make things a bit hard.

A patch you can get at (her) riot distro!

What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out about them? What have they come to mean to you?
Like I’ve said I’ve always written zines my self, just didn't know there was a name for it. I think I’ve read some about zines in some free magazines we get in school. The zine that got me started for real was a Swedish one called Bleck, which has grown to a “real” magazine now. I thought the girl who did it was so cool cuz she was a feminist and not much older than me and she talked about feminism at some TV show once. Then a whole world opened before my eyes. What I love about zines is that I get a lot of new perspective on things. It’s inspiring to read what a girl on the other side of the world thinks about feminism or what a girl 2 kilometers from here thinks about rape or whatever. It gives me strength.

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?
I think zines are important as a way to communicate and as an inspiration to others, that way I think it can make a wider difference in this society.

What does the zine community mean to you?
It has given me a lot of strength and I’ve gotten new lovely friends thought that network.

What advice would you give others who want to start a zine or a distro?
For one who wants to start a zine I have just one advice: start writing! it’s really nothing more to it. For future distro owners: start with a small business, don’tborrow too much money from your self, let it grow slowly.

What are some of the zines you admire?
Swedish zines like ‘tigerskott i brallan’ and ‘bleck’ has inspired me a lot, also Marie’s ‘it’s your fucking body’ have been a huge inspiration for me, it educated me and made me realize a lot.

Could you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine community in your country?
I don’t think there is any riot grrrl community here really. I know 2 bands that call themselves riot grrrls, but that’s it I think I think Sweden is a bit too small and isolated from the rest of the world to be able to build scenes like that.

Do you define yourself as a feminist?

What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist)?
Now when it’s hot and it’s impossible to have much clothes on I gotta say body images. I don't shave and I get negative comments on that almost every day, it’s hard to be strong when so many think you’re disgusting.

Are you active in the feminist movement?
I think I am cuz of the work I do with my zines and distro. I study gender issues a lot and talk a lot about it with friends and others. I yell loud at demonstrations and all that. So yes, definitely. I do my best!

What do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as part of Third Wave Feminism and what does it mean to you?
I don’t consider myself as part of any movement or certain group.. I never feel like I belong to such. But I think the feminism today does a damn good job, it’s not easy to try to convince people that this society is wrong when all you see is bare naked ladies on every magazine cover and see films that only portray women like victims and Barbie dolls.

Which role plays the Internet for you? Does it change your ideas of making zines and doing/reading zines? Do you have any suggestions?
The internet means a whole lot. I would never sell as many zines if I didn’t have a web site up and I wouldn’t be able to have such good contact with other zinesters and friends as I do now. I’ve found some really good friends thanks to the internet, so I’m grateful for it.


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