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Be inspired and encouraged by Ladybomb distro

An Interview with Riikka

by Elke Zobl

May 2002

Ladybomb is a Finland based non-profit anarchist distro (distributor) of political zines and ladymade diy projects, run by Riikka since 2000. Riikka also does her own zine "Girl Conspiracy" and plays in a band called "Dada Stunt Girl"! I emailed her and asked her a couple of questions. Check out her wonderful distro and zine and order some!

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 Riikka, I am a finnish-italian-swedish-russian blooded girl and I currently recide in Finland. I don't really like to talknabout age because it doesn't matter to me at all and I don't want to be defined by it -but my sunsign is an aquarius -I love astrology!

What do you do besides your zine and distro?

I play guitar & sing in a band called Dada Stunt Girl. I also set up gigs for lady fronted bands in Finland and I am starting up a new anarcha feminist activist group. I also work at a candystore and try to finish high school.

For how long have you been running your zine (and zine distro) now? How many issues of your zine did you put out until now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?
I do a zine called Girl Conspiracy (which is my third "real" zine) with Stina from Karlstad, Sweden. We mostly interview various lady musicians, label owners & talk about the problems in our music scenes.


We just released the second issue about a few months ago (you can get it from Ladybomb Distro). I also do various informative minizines and pamplets, the last one was about the harms of disposable, corporate tampons and pads

.I started Ladybomb Distro in December 2000. I do most of the work alone but my best friend / room mate Minna helps me out sometimes. 

What made you decide to start the zine and zine distro? How did you come up with the idea and the name?
I started Ladybomb Distro because;
*there wasn't any feminist zine distros (in finland) and i wanted to start my own
*we need to create our own, new forms media that really speaks to us
*i am so fucking sick of the heterosexist, sexist, anorexic, racist propagandist mainstream media
*i want to support lady made, diy political art
*i want to support & encourage all women to be active participants in the dialogues happening in our society
*we need to create forums of art that base on support and encouragement, not on competition and standarts of what "real art" is or is not
*i want to be truly revolutionary & radical and support all women, not just a priviledged few
*i want you to be an active participant with this distro, not just a passive consumer
*i want to inspire YOU to join us to fight againts the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy!

I came up with the name before I came up with the idea of the distro. I was just walking around and though that the word & the idea of it word was cool.

We started Girl Conspiracy because it just pissed us off so much how rock n' roll women are basically ignored within the mainstream music scene and because we didn't know any music magazines that would positively cover female music and also women's problems & oppression within the scene. So we decided to do it ourselves. The name came up after a lot of thinking and we just couldn't think of a better one and didn't want to arque and we both kinda liked this one.

What topics are most often discussed in the zines you stock?
I mostly distro zines with a political meets personal view, most the zines are feminist focused but I also distro some anarchist publications (I also hope that someday in the future I will get to spead some animal
liberation/ vegan stuff).

I like zines that show that the "personal is political" isn't just a cliched sentence but it is actually very true. Everything is political. Every choice you make in your daily life is political, at least to me.


What do you hope to accomplish by establishing your zine and zine distro?
To smash the white supremacist, racist, unloving capitalist patriarchy!

What does zine making and distributing mean to you? What do you love about zine making/distributing? What ís the most challenging aspect of making/distributing zines?
Both mean a lot of work and a lot of fun! And that I am a part of something bigger, something that challenges the barriers of this society and that I am showing people that there is a viable option to the mainstream, capitalist way of living. I feel like am a part of building a new, better society or at least a cummunity.

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 read is Hella & Nyrkki, a finnish feminist comp zine, after I started to get interested in feminism and riot grrrl.

Zines really mean a lot to me. I feel like they (good zines) are intellectual but yet easy to approach by a regular person. Many feminist books are too tied to theory that most people can't really get anything out of it, but most zines aren't and that is what I find amazing. And, as I said, I like the personal view, so its easier for people to relate and understant things, problems and issues. Plus zines are diy, normally propagandist advertising free and cheap so available to many people.

Do you consider grrrl and lady zines as an important part of a movement of sorts? Do you think zines can effect meaningful social and political change?
I personally don't really like the words "grrrl" and "riot grrrl", I associate them within a movement that is or was a part of the punk rock scene and I never felt I ever belonged / felt good in punk...So if riot grrrl is a part of the punk scene, then it alienates /excludes non-punk people and I don't want to be a part of that. I don't really think that riot grrrl was ever well defined, to some girl it means a way to dress, to some other feminism, to some girls playing punk. Plus I find that riot grrrl really lacks true activism & feminism, at least in Europe it just seems to be more music & internet oriented. And the most important reason to be is that why should we / I as an European girl tag myself with a word / movement that is over ten years old and happened in the States, I think we need to create our own, new movements and terms that are well defined instead of using a term that is so old and that has been fucked with in the media. Sorry, I might have gotten a bit off topic with this.

But yes, I belive that zines are extremely important to various political movements. You can connect, relate, share ideas, get important information and most important, be inspired. Knowlegde is power.

What does the zine community mean to you?
I don't really see myself as a part the zine community, since I don't really have many close friends associated within it or anything. But I know "superficially" a lot of zinesters & distro owners, most have been really kind & supporting to me and my work.

What advice would you give others who want to start a zine or a distro?
With zines; don't hurry, give everything of yourself to the issue you are currently working on. Challenge, arque, think, define, prove your points.

I like distros that are a bit picky with zines (since there is a lot of shit too, hehe) and maybe have sort of a theme of what kind of zines they want to distro. Also, if you aren't too rich, be prepared to be a little low on money sometimes. And it takes time before your distro starts growing but you will get more and more orders as your distro's name starts growing.

What are some of the zines you admire?
I like really personal, really political or personal-political zines but I feel like they have to have a gathered theme and have to make some kind of a clever point, some perzines are awfully boring. I like a zine that makes me think "oh I hadn't thought about that before" or "what a clever point she or he is making" etc. Maybe something that puts some of my ideas on paper cleverly. Some zines that I love and admire are Quantify, External Text / Consider Yourself Kissed, Subject to Change, Document One /Rockstar With Words, Red Scare, Hermana, Resist, Channel Seven, a Renegade's Handbook to Love & Sabotage, Getting Louder Everyday, etc.

Could you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine community in your country?
The only kind of zines that I have seen in Finland are punk rock zines. We have had two feminist zines, Hella & Nyrkki and Suffragetti but I think both of them are passive (which I can totally understant since Finnish people aren't very zine/ activist supportive or ready to participate). So I guess the only "grrrl zines" in Finland are the ones I or my friend Tukru [Kersa X, a personal zine] make.

Do you define yourself as a feminist?
I consider myself as an eco-anarchafeminist. Or an ecologically focused animal friendly queer anarcha feminist.

What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist)?
Oh.. I will try to keep this short. Beauty standarts, fat phobia, pornography, sexism within the music industry, getting harrassed, and the dirty sexualization of every single fucking thing. I am forgetting something.

Are you active in the feminist movement?

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 consider myself as a "no-wave feminist", I am not really keen on "the wave feminisms", I am just an anarchafeminist, hehe. But I feel like there is certainly a new wave of these really intelligent, smart, amazing women raising that are really critical and challenging and bringing up new, important topics that the older feminists might not have noticed.

Which role plays the Internet for you? Does it change your ideas of making zines and doing/reading zines? What effect does it have on your zine distro?
I have a bit mixed up feelings for the internet. I would rather spend my days outside with my friends or really doing something concrete and important than spend my days on the net. However I am a bit netholic and my distro would NO WAY be this popular without it. And I don't even think that I would have no idea of what a zineis without it, I would no way be on this point with my thinking and with my activism. I have met most of my feminist friends through the net and really connected for the first times of my life. The internet is such a wonderful opportunity to people who have no friends in real life, for shy people or folks who feel like they are totally different from the rest (like I felt), it is sure that you can find people atleast a bit alike from the net.

When I started reading zines I was already a technology / internet girl, I was introduced to zines by the internet so I cannot really say that it would change my idea of making, doing or reading zines. But I would say that zines are much more important & interesting to me than just words on screen, I hope that people will keep on doing zines instead of just webpages. I will rather read a paper zine than a netpage. I feel like it is a nice thing that at least in Finland it is possible to use the internet for free almost anywhere so it isn't just the rich ones who get to benefit from it. But I hope that people will make real friends and real connections through the net and not get too hooked up online.