NYC Feminist Zine Fest

By now the applause over Patricia Arquette's enthusiastic women's-equality Oscar speech has died down, as has the Twittersphere explosion critiquing her strange brand of feminism expressed in her backstage press interview. For more info look here, but basically it seemed that Arquette doesn't include women of color or queer women as women when she said, "It's time for all women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now." Arquette and I definitely hold different views on feminism.

What about E! Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic's comments that Zendaya Coleman probably "smelled of patchouli oil" because she chose to wear her hair in dreadlocks to the Oscars? Were Rancic's comments racist or anti-woman? While many women argued Rancic's inappropriate comments were an attack on beauty standards, others discussed false stereotypes that dreadlocks invoke.

Why are people still talking about that pesky feminism stuff anyway? (Something I imagine Sarah Palin would say). After reading just a handful of Twitter comments aimed at Arquette and pages directed toward E! and Rancic, clearly there is still an obvious need and immense desire for a platform of open dialog and feminist critique of our culture. These two pop culture references illustrate the intersection of race, gender and sexuality in feminism. Feminism isn't one-dimensional. A zine fest provides a forum to explore and share what these ideas mean.

Before the ability to launch into an instantaneous tirade on the magical World Wide Web, people actually talked about things in person. Another vehicle used to give voice to the minority and other views is the self-published zine. Zines have been around since the '30s as a means of non-commercial expression.

Just in case you aren't familiar with the anatomy of a zine, Zine Fest defines zines as "pocket-size spaces of personal expression. Within the pages of a zine you might find photos, art, text or a collage of all three. It is this handmade aspect of the medium that gives zines their special character, and the potential for explosive power."

In 2012, I wrote about the first zine fest in New York City. Zinesters (those who make zines) and attendees crowded the Brooklyn Commons that day, and the buzz of positive energy illustrated that people wanted and needed this type of community space to interact with other like minds If you missed the first two gatherings, this Saturday is your chance to check out the third annual Feminist Zine Fest.

I asked co-organizer Emma Caterine why she thought it important to hold a feminist specific zine fest. "Male privilege, cis privilege and white privilege can be very powerful influences on which zines garner attention and subsequently which zinesters feel empowered to make more zines. We want to challenge that dynamic by providing a space where women, the beautiful diversity of women, can come first."

NYC's 3rd annual Feminist Zine Fest will be held Saturday March 7th at Barnard College. The Zine Fest is free and open to all ages and genders. The festivities begin at noon and end at 6 p.m. More details about the fest including zinesters attending and interviews can be found on the official site.

You can also check out the official Facebook invite here.