Recently I began to question what we were doing with GirlZone, the initial idea was to celebrate and take control of girlhood/being a girl through a zine supporting female and feminist artists, writers and other creative’s. Which is awesome, yes, and wasn’t the sleepover issue just adorable? But then I started to think about all the other awesome and amazing feminist teen dreams out there (Rookie, for example) and I started to think whether we, as young (gulp) adults, were really the best people to be celebrating girlhood and teenagedom when there are already so many amazing teenagers and girls out there doing it for themselves. So I started to think about my generation. The spice girl’s generation. Those just on the cusp of growing up, of adulthood. Those of us that grew up in the settling of the dust that was riot grrl. With Buffy or Sabrina on in the background while we practised our girl power posses with our bff’s, the ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality second nature in a way that the 80’s could never understand. Yes we were fed feminism through a capitalist lens, buying our way into empowerment with a power puff girl’s backpack and baby spice crop top but we still soaked the culture in. From our view point girls were powerful, girls could do anything and do it wearing platform trainers no less. Yet as we aged through the noughties the dust of the riot grrl revolution cleared and we, with our faded girl power tattoos, were faced with a new reality, a time and place that jarred with our sensibilities, our young minds full of feminist promise, were subject to Disney princesses, to size 0, girls aloud and Cosmo. Rehashes of 50s cliché’s creeped in to tell us how to dress to please a man, to cook to please a man, to have sex to please a man and god help you if you didn’t have a man. And as I watch the steady grumbling of feminist collectives like Girls Get Busy, the protests of the Slut Walks and the bright haired, cropped top sporting, pink bow this is all wrapped up in I watch in amazement as the Girl Power tribes remerge, their feminist roots now bursting at the seams as they shout No means No! and Free Pussy Riot! And paint each other’s nails with glitter. I am proud to be a part of this moment, with my sisters as we tell the world we won’t take it anymore, that we want the world we were promised in the 90s haze of spice world and PVC and that we are sure as hell going to fight for it.
But where does GirlZone fit in? Is it little more than rose tinted nostalgia for a generation already that little bit too old to fully connect with Rookie mag, and yet read with gusto all the same and if so are we really making a difference, changing opinions, helping our sisters?
I took these questions to the collective. We talked about what was important to us, what we wanted answers to, needed help with. We talked about what we wanted to see and what we felt we were lacking. We talked about all the other amazing collectives and zines and tumblrs and feminists that inspire us and we did it all other a cup of tea.
And when we came away we found we had something new entirely, something exciting and relevant. Something we hope others will find the same excitement in, something others will value and need as much as we, ourselves, do, even in the infancy of it all.
A new zine, a new outlook. Born from the same pleasure as GirlZone, but with a more challenging disposition, a more critical eye and for the spice girls generation, those of us coming of age, trying to figure out what we want to be and how to be it.
Project:BABE present to you WANNABE, a feminist coming of age through the medium of zine.
Critically discussing the social pressures of the ambiguous age when society expects you to be getting married yet you just want to be left alone to glitterate your face and try to discover who you are, locking yourself away with Ghostworld, Girl Interrupted and reruns of Buffy season 6 and Twin Peaks season 2.
And so we welcome you to contribute to Wannabe. Our first theme is becoming, and we ask for entries related to feminism.
With this in mind we want you to tell us why you became a feminist, when it was, what made you realise that women weren’t equal, that anyone that wasn’t white, straight, cis or able bodied wasn’t equal. What was it like, announcing to the world that you were now ‘feminist’, was it awesome and empowering, was it scary and intimidating? Was it all of the above? Did you get a backlash? Did you get, ‘gawd, don’t go all ‘feminist’ on me!’ and how did you deal with this? Who’s your inspiration? What advice would you give? What would you say to others to stop them saying ‘well of course I think women should be equal, but I’m not a feminist’? What feminist issue is most important to you? What do you want feminism to look like? What doesn’t get discussed enough in feminist circles? How do you want to change things? What do you want our future to look like?
Interpret these issues (and add your own) however you like, in the form of drawings, collage, photography, craft, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, song lyrics, fashion, reviews, memoirs, how to’s, you know, anything that can be photocopied really. We would also really like images of your favourite feminists for a pull out poster and feminist book suggestions so we can compile an awesome feminist reading list.
To contribute to WANNABE, becoming please attach your work in an email with your name and web address/contact details (as you wish) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title Wannabe submission.