do you do besides your zine?
I toil in my studio as a visual artist, making large drawings and installations
dealing with issues of body image, health and identity issues. I occasionally
teach classes on experimental drawing for the Cleveland Institute of
Art, and I work as a Gallery Associate at SPACES, a nonprofit artist-run
gallery, where I coordinate exhibitions, update the website, write and
distribute press materials, help with grants, oversee catalogue production,
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've only been doing my current zine, Ladyfriend, for about a year now.
Previous to that I did a zine called Sissy, after the once-great "Sassy" magazine was bought out and eventually folded - did that one from '95
- '97 or something, and took a long hiatus in between.So far there are
three issues of Ladyfriend and hope to do 3/year from now on.I'm the
only editor of Ladyfriend, though I try to include work by 5 or more
contributors to add a broader perspective on the themes covered in each
made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the
idea and the name?
Ladyfriend started out as a way to celebrate and honor the talents and
specialness of this close-knit group of female friends I had at the
time. I knew we'd all be moving to different cities soon and wanted
to make a document of the kind of empowerment you can get from being
around a bunch of supportive, motivated, talented ladies. Now that we
live in different places, it's become a way of fostering those kinds
of friendships, sometimes sparking new ones, even over vast distances.
Basically it's a zine about friendship and helping each other out, with
advice on how to haggle for a car, how to make your own pants, and funny
first-hand stories as you might hear them from your best friend. I think
that one of the primary strengths of the current feminist movement is
that there is this global network of young women who are able and eager
to help each other succeed, promote each others projects, etc. It's
becoming a more and more powerful force as many of these women gain
higher positions in law, the media, the arts etc. and have more resources
at our command.The name for Ladyfriend is probably pretty self-explanatory,
though it wasn't easy for me to think up... initially I wanted to make
it seem less female-exclusive, but as I worked on it I realized that
it was really pretty much about female friendship. There are still guys
involved, of course, hence the all-inclusive subtitle, "for ladies
and all their friends."
topics are most often discussed in your zine?
Each issue has a theme: the first one was the Super issue (all about
women as super-heroines) the second was the Hair issue (ranging from
body hair to bald women), the third is the Driving issue, the next will
be the Age issue, and so on. Despite these different themes, there are
always some constants - I always try to include at least one article
that will teach readers how to do something new, at least one interview
with a woman who are doing something really cool and DIY, and there
is always some sort of centerfold art project in each issue to liven
do you hope to accomplish by establishing your zine?
I guess a number of things: to help promote the art, writing and projects
of the ladies who we write about and who write for the zine, and to
provide another alternative to fashion magazines, which I have an intense
love/hate relationship with. I love girly culture, fashion, etc. but
hate how the media uses it to make women feel inadequate and insecure
(to sell products). I don't have the budget to do full-color layouts
and all that, and I realize there are now many grrrl zines out there
- I think that all the support we can offer our peers is important.
I hope to build and celebrate a supportive network of proactive, creative
women, reach out to younger women to encourage them to critique mainstream
media, and have fun in the process.
does zine making (and reading) mean to you?
Zines are such a great vehicle for self-expression and for disseminating
ideas and information to like-minded (and non-like-minded) people. It's
a cheap, accessible way to reach other people and accomplish a wide
variety of things without censorship.
do you love about zine making?
I love contacting and meeting new people to interview, or to do research
for an article, and I love getting letters from people who really got
something out of what I do.
the most challenging aspect of making zines?
The most challenging aspect of making zines, for me, is distribution.
It costs money and takes so much time to send these things out, do the
research on where to send samples, get reviewed, keep track of who has
what and making sure you get paid etc. that it really can become like
an administrative desk job.
What was your first exposure to zines? How did
you find out about them? What have they come to mean to you?
My first exposure to zines was when I was in high school. I went to
a punk rock show at a tiny underground club, and there were these girls
handing out their zine. It was a 1-page, double-sided legal-sized sheet
of cut and pasted text, all about activism at their high school, short
interviews with local bands, etc. and they used glitter and crayons
to hand color them. I was so excited by this and gradually sought out
you consider grrrl zines as an important part of a movement of sorts?
Do you think zines can effect meaningful social and political change?
Yeah, as I said above I think grrrl zines are a really important part
of the contemporary feminist movement, and all sorts of other social
and political movements in that they can be created by anyone, without
censorship, and can be distributed to just about anyone. Word of mouth
advertising, spreading information that way is the most powerful and
most sought-after form of advertising. If an idea is potent enough it
can spread like a positive virus or epidemic: one person makes a zine,
passes it on to his/her friends and contacts, they in turn pass it on
to their group of contacts, and so on. Its an amazing process. The band
Le Tigre and singer Ani DiFranco are both very political, and have become
internationally recognized and hugely popular -- without being on a
major label, without being on MTV, without compromising their lyrics
or their message, purely through the power of independent media and
word of mouth.
does the zine community mean to you? What advice would you give others
who want to start a zine?
I don't know that I'm really connected to the zine community at large,
but the community I do have gives moral support, feedback, and a sense
that I'm not the only person who feels the way I do about things. If
I were only aware of mainstream media I'd probably worry that I was
are some of the zines you admire?
I really enjoy and admire East Village Inky, Found, and Doris, and although
they're now crossing over into "magazine" (or mega-zine?)
territory, I've always loved Bust, Bitch and Venus. It's becoming harder
to discern between what's a zine and what's a magazine these days, which
is kind of exciting
you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine community in your country?
I'm not really an expert on the grrrl zine community here, except that
it seems to be pretty active. I don't think it is very diverse in terms
of race or age, but it is a part of the larger feminist movement and
in that I think it's important and successful. I do zine workshops and
even did a "zine-signing" at a local indie bookstore, and
while people are really interested, there don't seem to be many people
making zines in my area. Maybe because I'm in my mid-20's, I feel a
little out of touch with the grrrl community, as far as I can tell there
are hundreds of us spread out in different parts of the country, and
zines are a great way to exchange ideas and meet new people.
you define yourself as a feminist?
Of course I do.
are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as
Personally, I'm hyper-aware of how gender roles and stereotypes (for
both men and women) are perpetuated and abused in movies, television
and other media. For a culture that's as media-obsessed as ours is,
these things can be more powerful than they might seem. I also fear
being raped or sexually violated, harassed, etc. It makes me so angry
that it's not safe for me to walk the two blocks to the library at night
to do research alone, because a girl was raped there a few months ago.
Women have to worry about their safety every single day, in ways that
men have never have to consider.
course President Bush's stance abortion issues, international affairs,
health coverage, etc. are deeply troubling to me, though I haven't had
as much personal involvement with these issues as other women have.
I think many of the most serious issues are faced by women in countries
where feminism hasn't yet taken root as much yet, isn't taken seriously.
do you think about feminism today?
I think feminism today is pretty exciting. It's opening up information
to a much wider range of women than ever before, and many feminists
are finally becoming very media savvy, making feminism "cool"
and taking the stigma away. The older feminists I've talked to seemed
unaware that young women were still becoming involved in feminism. I
think this is because we're doing it in different ways. They laid down
the groundwork for us - starting up women's health clinics, forming
support groups, rioting and writing and speaking out about the immense
and unacknowledged injustices of the time, etc. Not that there aren't
young feminists doing these things today, but many of us are working
through music, zines, artwork, and other more subtle ways of infusing
our culture with those viewpoints and inviting everyone to join the
crowd. Often this networking is done long distance, so although we may
not appear to be getting together and mobilizing, we're actually creating
a vast network of support and feedback and letter-writing and creativity
and feminism. It'd be great to see more feminists creating their own
organizations and mobilizing together to start huge demonstrations,
but I think the "small" things get a lot more done than we
you see yourself as part of "Third Wave Feminism" and what
does it mean to you?
Sure. It means I have an international network of cool, proactive feminist
peers, and it means I can enjoy wearing glitter nail polish and baking
cookies if I want to, without anyone discounting my feminist stance.
It means I can do workshops on body image where we use gold lame and
pink lace, among other things, to decorate drawings of participants'
least favorite body parts.
role plays the Internet for you?
I use the internet a lot. It is sort of scary how dependent I've become
on the internet for research, communication, fun, etc. I have a website
for my artwork (http://christad.homestead.com), and another one for
my zine (http://ladyfriend.homestead.com), and these have brought me
an important new audience for my work, new readers for my zines, and
the ability to communicate with them much more easily and quickly.
it change your ideas of making zines and doing/reading zines?
Well, it has allowed me to put some things from my zine online, which
means more people can find out about what I do, and it doesn't cost
me anything (paper or postage) to produce and distribute, which is a
great advantage. On the other hand, it's not really practical to post
everything on the web - takes too much time. It is much more satisfying
to me to have the actual paper zines I like, so I can refer to them,
give them as gifts, carry them with me to read. I don't see the internet
replacing paper zines anytime soon, just adding to the kinds of things
that are out there, adding to the tools we have.
you have any suggestions? Something you want to add?
Nope, I think that covers it!