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?
29, born in Boston, early childhood in L.A., but mostly grew up in New
York City (age 8-18). Went to college in the midwest and now live in
What do you do besides your zine?
As of late summer, *nothing*! I am a full time Bitch. (I used to
be a proofreader and copyeditor, mostly in corporate settings.)
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?
6.5 years, we just published issue #15, and it's been a team thing
from the very start. My coeditor Andi Zeisler and I hatched the idea
together and brought in our first art director, Ben Shaykin, in the
middle of working on the first issue. Now we have a different art director
and a small handful of other editorial and business staff/volunteers
What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with
the idea and the name?
Basically we started it out of a sense of outrage at the way women
are treated in mainstream media. The specifics of naming etc. are lost
to the fog of memory.
What topics are most often discussed in your zine?
our subtitle pretty much says it all: feminist response to pop culture.
We try to get a balance between criticism/analysis of negative things
and spotlighting of positive things (activist projects, positive portrayals,
alternative media, etc.).
What do you hope to accomplish by establishing your zine?
At first we just wanted a forum to express our outrage. Now it's
more broad, to foster critical thinking among our audience and (hopefully)
effect the way that pop culture imagines women and feminism.
What does zine making (and reading) mean to you? What do you love
about zine making? Whatís the most challenging aspect of making
I love being able to get my ideas out there and have them read.
The most challenging thing for me is keeping up with all the work, especially
the business side, and also the increased pressure with our planned
expansion (from twice a year to four times a year).
What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out about
them? What have they come to mean to you?
I didn't really have much exposure to zines before we started
Bitch. It was more of an awareness that self-publishing was possible.
So i would say that most of my exposure to zines has come after the
fact--through people sending stuff to us and just through poking around
on the newsstand.
they mean to me...
that's too hard a question to answer. Mainly, they mean good reading
material (for me) and a freedom from top-down editorial decisions (for
the zine makers).
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, definitely. Zines important to the political development of
both readers and writers (re: the latter, writing really helps you hone
your ideas and so become a more effective activist). And by giving people
options outside the corporate media, they can help break corporate media/adertising
stranglehold on our reading material.
What does the zine community mean to you?
Because Bitch does not have its roots as a zine, I don't feel that
much a part of the zine community (and I know many in that community
wouldn't consider us a zine anyway because of our size, slick cover,
bar code, etc.)
What advice would you give others who want to start a zine?
Just get started! don't put it off.
What are some of the zines you admire?
nebulosi, the east village inky, peko peko, arcane, my evil twin
sister. the (sadly defunct) fat girl. fat!so? beer frame. many more
that i am forgetting--i always forget things when asked questions like
Do you define yourself as a feminist?
are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as
that's such a huge and complicated question, i don't think i can
really answer it concisely. on a very prosaic level, there's street
harassment and the like walking to work every day (though generally
it's something that i have learned to insulate myself from mentally).
immersed in feminism all day every day at work can be kind of depressing,
as far as a hyperawareness of how fucked up everything is, and what
uphill battles feminist activists are faced with. but the other side
of that is feeling connected to feminists working on wide ranges of
issues, seeing the potential in that.
to get back to what I think is the thrust of the question, I think the
most pressing thing facing feminists today is the havoc unrestrained
capitalism wreaks on all of our lives--so many feminist issues, from
the wage gap to sweatshops to corporate control of news and other media,
come down to the ruthless pursuit of profit at any social cost.
Are you active in the feminist movement?
Yes, I consider myself active.
What do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as part
of ìThird Wave Feminismî and what does
it mean to you?
Another huge question, so
I'll just address the latter half: While I do see myself as part of
it to some extent, I am not sure that the "third wave" is
a meaningful category. I think that too often it is used to set up divisions
among feminists and obscure the contiguousness of generational feminist
Which role plays the Internet for you? Does it change your ideas
of making zines and doing/reading zines?
use the web for research and read a lot on the web, but I am so enamored
of print that the web will always be a limited presence in my life.
It also presents a paradox for zinesters: it can be cheaper
to produce and/or read a webzine(if you already have access to the technology--but
if you don't have the technology it is tremendouly expesive to get it.
So the web can be more inclusive/accessible or vastly more elitist,
depending on the situation.