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Viva Adelita:
"Revolutionary Force "

An Interview
with

Sabina Barat
from Monterrey, NL, México

by Haydeé Jiménez & Elke Zobl

March 2008


 
 

"...it is important to make ourselves be heard, let our critiques be known, but even more important, to share our ideas and/or solutions… and if they don’t want to listen to us, then let’s pave ourselves the way by forming our own spaces, our own tools and media."
- Sabina Barat

Versión Español- haga click aquí

*****


  Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are you originally from and where do you reside now?
I am 24 years old. I was born in Monterrey, México and I have lived here all my life, with the exception of some sporadic periods when I lived in other countries.

What do you do besides your zine?
I work at the State Women’s Institute (Instituto Estatal de las Mujeres) and I am about to begin a masters in social and public policy. Besides this, I am part of a collective called Alcachofa and also of AEPI (Student Association for Indigenous People/ Asociación Estudiantil por los Pueblos Indígenas)..


Can you please tell our readers about Viva Adelita? What topics do you discuss in your zine most often?
Viva Adelita really started because of the simple need to make myself heard and to share my ideas with others. At the beginning, I didn’t have the zine project structured very well yet. I knew perfectly what my objective was, but I didn’t know how to obtain it. No one teaches you how to make a zine, but as time passes, you start learning and discovering the best ways to transmit your ideas. So, the first issues of Viva Adelita were a bit of everything- freedom of expression, indigenous rights, migration, environment, feminism- of course. However, now I have been focused on talking more about all of these issues particularly from a gender perspective. I also like to touch on citizen participation and to include local art and phrases of people I admire.

What inspired you to create this zine?
The revolutionary grand-mothers or the Adelitas of the Mexican Revolution, of course. All those women who bravely fought side by side with men, and who, without a doubt, paved the way for all us Mexican women to obtain our most basic rights. They were the first to question the roles and stereotypes of our society and to fight for a better world where our guarantees would be respected.

How long have you been making zines?
About one year and a half.

How did you become introduced to the culture of zines?
Before starting Viva Adelita, I knew what a zine was and even read a few, but I never had considered the possibility to make one myself. Until me and two friends- one from Colombia and another from Monterrey- agreed to make a zine and call it La Gallina Aristotélica (The Aristotic Hen). For some reasons, we ended up not doing this zine, but I kept my intention and did not let the idea slip away since I had a lot to say. So, I started Viva Adelita alone and up until now the project has grown bigger and has become one of the things I most enjoy. But I am thankful to those two guys for giving me the little push I needed, intentionally or not.

Where/how is your zine distributed? Who are your readers? What kind of responses do you get from your zine’s audience?
I would say that my audience is made up of all those people who are open to listen. I distribute my zine making copies of it and taking it to small cafés, libraries and restaurants, mostly in the city center. Response has been very positive and people sometimes ask me to bring more zines and more often! The only bad part is that I have not gotten many people to contribute with articles or other material. I would like there to be more readership participation.

What do you hope to accomplish by making and distributing your zine?
A big part is getting out of the confinements of information we are all subjected to. We know that the big media companies (newspaper, TV, radio) do not talk about issues that make them uncomfortable, that are not beneficial to them, that do not produce ratings, or that simply do not form part of their agenda because they simply not interested, but at the same time, we know that these are fundamental issues and that they need to be brought up and discussed about. With this zine I also intend to open up a space for reflection and to give another point of view on questions and issues that interest a big part of society, who does not see itself represented and/or who does not agree with the information and discourse that traditional media provides.

What do you love and find challenging about zine making?
What I like most about zines is the freedom we have to write and publish whatever we want without having someone to censure or restrict us. I think the biggest challenge is to break away from the apathy of people and to really get them interested in what you have to say. Another big challenge is to find funding to make and distribute the zine, especially if you want it to be free and that it reaches many people.

What do you think about zine-making today?
I think it is a good way to get to know yourself and an excellent way to share information. If more people were around making zine, we could create an interesting network of local and international information, where there would not only exist discourse but many different points of views.

Which role does Internet play for you?
It is very important. It allows me to get in contact with many other people and friends, who I otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach due to high costs. For example, I send the PDF version of Viva Adelita via email to my friends who live in other countries. My next goal is to make a blog or a web site where I could upload the zine in PDF so that other people can download it. I would also like to have news and other material for downloading like videos, stickers, stencils, etc., all making it possible that information reaches more people.

Please name some zines and the reasons why you like them.
It’s not precisely a zine but there is a small local magazine called, or used to be called because I haven’t seen it lately, The Collective (El Colectivo), and I like it a lot because it contains really interesting articles and good tips on where to hang out or eat delicious and cheap.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a zine?
Don’t think about it too much and simply do it. With time, you learn about your errors. However simple or clumsy an idea may seem, the best thing one can do is to go for it. Once you have your first issue out, things start falling into place.

What does the zine scene look like in Monterrey? Do you feel part of a (grrrl or general) zine community or network and what does it mean to you?
From my point of view, there isn’t really something you could call a “zine scene” in Monterrey. Even though there are some publications in the zine format, there is no proper exchange or network or distro. Where I have seen most zines is in the Fundadores Market, and they are mostly anarcho-punk in style.

Do you consider yourself as feminist?
Of course. I believe the majority of women today are feminists, even though a great deal of them don’t know it or don’t want to accept it. I still do not understand why people- both men and women- fear to call themselves feminists.

What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist/…)?
What some people have called the “glass ceiling”. It’s true that today, we women have more opportunities to work and study, just like men, but up to what point are we really allowed to ascend to the decision-making and leadership positions? For example, we work in companies; this way we feel we are advancing, but how many women are there in executive or presidential positions? In general, the most we often attain is “just” a managerial position. This is to say that discrimination towards women and their capacity to work is still very present.

What do you think about feminism today? How would you explain what feminism is to someone who has no idea what it is?
The primary thing is to make it clear that it isn’t something that is exclusively for women, that it greatly requires the participation of men. Feminism is a movement that recognizes equality among people and therefore seeks equal rights and opportunities for all people, regardless of the gender we assume. I think that if it came to be called “feminism”, it is because it is us women who are at a disadvantage here (because of the socially imposed roles and stereotypes) in relation to men and mostly in the areas of public issues, politics, labor and more, and because we all deserve the same rights, it is through this movement that we seek to participate in all these activities, if chose to, so that we may enjoy from the benefits.

What would a “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?
For me, the ideal would be that everyone of us have the same opportunities to be free to chose what ever we want to do with our lives, our bodies, our professional career; to be able to make our own decisions without feeling pressured or obligated to fit into some role or behavior just because it is normal or it has always been, and also being able to do so without being afraid of being shunned or discredited by society.

What are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you like to share them?
I would like, with the zine Viva Adelita, to make more people interested in starting their own zine and/or collective, or maybe get them interested in more active and direct participation in local issues. I would also like that the zine develop into a bigger project- like a civil association.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Like I said at the beginning, it is important to make ourselves be heard, let our critiques be known, but even more important, to share our ideas and/or solutions… and if they don’t want to listen to us, then let’s pave ourselves the way by forming our own spaces, our own tools and media. I am very convinced that women represent a great revolutionary force that is able to change things.

Thanks for the interview!

*****


info:


Viva Adelita


vivaadelita [AT] gmail.com

e-mail

Versión Español- haga click aquí

 


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