Zine Submissions – At the Seams

For the last few years I’ve started, abandoned, and restarted the project of writing a zine about activist/radical womyn and disordered eating. Though there seem to be countless zines out there addressing a variety of topics this one is markedly absent.

I assume this might be due to popular assumptions that disordered eating equates to being a dupe of larger patriarchal structures. But the identity of an activist/radical womyn and that of disordered eating are not mutually exclusive. A recent survey showed that young womyn experience cognitive dissonance between knowing representations of beauty in our culture are unrealistic and valuing them as a reference for comparison. We are socialized into fearing and conquering our bodies, fighting what is often the source of our self- identity.

Outside of a simplistic aesthetic analysis we often lack control over many aspects of our lives and disordered eating becomes a way to gain some semblance of power. As activist/radical womyn we are not immune. We can see the power dynamics of our bodies and control within interpersonal relationships, our (activist) communities, and larger society.

The more I have raised this topic within safe feminist circles the more I find I am not the only one. So I want to open this zine to the multitude of our experiences, be it our theories, our stories, our practical tips for combatting self-destructive patterns, or more.
Submissions/questions/anything else should be sent to megan.brenda.fulton@gmail.com by December 10, 2010.

Call for Submissions – Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf


Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf is collecting submissions for their fourth issue focusing on ‘HEALTH’. Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf is a collection of comics that challenge hetero and gender normative practices in sexuality education. Deadline (at least contact them by) is November 1st so break out your pencils and paper!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

The month of October is a time to honor survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, to raise our voices against abuse and to think about working towards prevention. Throughout the month there are a number of events, such as the 1st Annual Westside Walk Against Domestic Violence on Thursday October 28th, starting at 10:30 am at 112th and Amsterdam Avenue in northern Manhattan. Also, Henry Street Settlement will be hosting their 10th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Conference. For national event listings please click here.

Beyond participating in events during this month, I would also encourage people to use this month to think critically about intimate partner violence. And yes, this may mean questioning the merit of only having one month out of the year to be aware of such a prevalent issue. However, for those cynics out there (myself included) this line can be used as a way to avoid taking a specific amount of time to honor those effected by an issue. So let’s really push our critical thinking skills people…

Who do you think of when you hear the words intimate partner violence? Who do you picture as a survivor? For most Americans the answer would likely be a cis – gendered heterosexual woman experiencing physical abuse at the hands of a husband or boyfriend, and because of this most services are targeted at this demographic. But what if there was no physical abuse? What if the abuse was not happening in a heterosexual relationship? What if the survivor was a man? If your aren’t able to participate in awareness month related activities, even asking yourself or a friend these questions could be a crucial way to expand awareness around the issue.

If you are looking for reading material about intimate partner violence click here for a link to The Revolution Starts at Home, an AMAZING zine about IPV and radical communities. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) blog is running a month long series on the issue. Also, for statistics and more about intimate partner violence within LGBTQ communities please look at the National Coalition of Anti Violence Projects most recent national report. And last the Crime Victims Treatment Center has compiled a fantastic brochure about male survivors of sexual assault, however much of the information relates to intimate partner violence as well.

This week’s upcoming events

Coming up this week are a few events of interest to us here at For The Birds.

The first is a discussion at Bluestockings on Wednesday entitled Women’s Radical Research, hosted by Kate Angell and Jenna Freedman. The event starts at 7pm, with a $5 suggested donation. According to the Bluestockings calendar:

Join librarians Kate Angell and Jenna Freedman for a look a 10 important resources for fostering your own critical pedagogy, including: zine libraries, open access scholarly journals, and carefully selected websites. Please bring notes about your favorite resources too! Angell is a reference librarian at Sarah Lawrence College and a zine librarian at ABC No Rio. Freedman is a research librarian at Barnard College and the creator of the Lower East Side Librarian zine.

The second is a Support NY benefit show on Thursday at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn where we will also be tabling! Hope to see some of you there.

featuring:
Aye Nako
The Butts
The Facts We Hate
Hey Baby
Hot Mess
Titfit
Very Okay
and more!
8pm // $6-10 sliding scale (no one turned away)
Thursday, October 21 @ Hank’s Saloon, 46 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY

And the grand finale of the week is the SPARK Summit at Hunter College.  This all-day event is designed to push back against the sexualization of girls in the media and will work with girls age 14-22, along with other leaders and activists, to start a grassroots movement. The day will include panels, workshops and other speakers highlighting media literacy, social justice issues, and concrete ways to take action against harmful representations of girls and women in the media. Their roster of panelists is impressive, including members of Feministing.com, Women’s Media Center, Holla Back, Girls for Gender Equity and the American Psychological Association, among others. And if that’s not enough, Geena Davis will also be speaking! You can find out more and register at their website and even participate remotely, for those outside the NYC metropolitan area.

The Worst Issue 2: How do Feminists Grieve?


The second issue of The Worst, a compilation zine on grief and loss, is finished!  In it, 16 contributors have shared their art, writing, and insight into their experiences dealing with the death of friends, parents, grandparents, partners, children, and fellow organizers.  The authors articulate their thoughts on how grief impacts our sense of our own identity in the world and on our ability to take care of ourselves and each other by creating sustainable activist projects that acknowledge grief.  The zine contains a template you can use to create your own living will and appointment of attorney for healthcare decisions, a resource list, and a hand-printed fabric patch with a quote from Audre Lorde.   You can order a copy of the first or second issue here or pick one up at our distro at the next FTB event.

Why discuss grief processing on a feminist blog? For me, working towards an authentic, community-based model of grief processing is an inherently feminist act.  On a basic level, radical feminism seeks empowerment for those who are subjugated or harmed by the patriarchal capitalist mainstream.  As we are socialized into this system, we are often taught to suppress or contain our emotions and feelings lest we be labeled “hysterical,” “bitchy,” “weak,” or “too much.”  And yet, racism, sexism, homophobia, able-ism and other structural inequalities in our society justifiably invoke outrage in anyone who dares to expose or work against injustice.  We are told, as usual, that we cannot trust our own voices, feelings, and experiences of the everyday losses that those holding power in our society depend upon to maintain control.

Often, our reactions to the deaths of important people in our lives are forced into specific templates or time frames that don’t always reflect our true needs.  We may experience few instances of genuine support amidst the hospitals, Hallmark cards, and “Stages of Grief” we are supposedly moving through.  This repression and denial of grief inhibits authentic communications from occurring around the universal experience of loss and alienates us from one another during times when we may need other people the most.  To claim our grief—to claim that our relationships with each other matter–within this climate of isolation and denial is feminism in action.  Any method by which we can reclaim our authentic selves results in empowerment and creates a space for more of us at the collective table (yes, even we who grieve, we who struggle with illness and chronic pain, who have survived sexual assault, addiction, intimate partner violence, the list goes on. . . )

In her book, Aftershock: Confronting Trauma in a Violent World, the wise eco-anarcha-feminist Pattrice Jones explains that feelings must be spoken in order for healing to occur.  Noting that language is an inherently social activity by which we communicate meaning to others, she concludes: “one general principle of good emotional health is to talk about your experiences and feelings” (38).   The Worst seeks to provide a space for us to practice making meaning out of chaos by trying to find words for what we have lived.  The process of writing or speaking our truths is itself a healing process, and enacts our feminist refusal to collude with the denial of our emotions.

The dual purpose of the zine is to help us become more comfortable with providing support for those who are grieving, something we are rarely taught.  Words are not only spoken and written but also heard and read.  Jones continues: “one way to help create a healthy . . . community is to listen with empathy when other people talk about their experiences and feelings” (38).   Becoming an active witness to other’s loss narratives is an essential part of community healing.  This entails welcoming conversations about loss that are usually deemed taboo: transforming our “worst” experiences into something from which we can and will recover together.

RESCUING PERSEPHONE at Bushwick Project for the Arts

The BPA [Bushwick Project for the Arts] is proud to present The Survivor Theater Project‘s RESCUING PERSEPHONE on Saturday October 16th, at 7pm, on the stage.

The Survivor Theater Project is a Boston-based theater company. RESCUING PERSEPHONE is their original play about sexual violence, childhood sexual abuse, and the experience of living in a society that tries to ignore such traumas. The actors are themselves survivors of sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse, and they draw from their personal experiences to deliver an emotional, highly-charged performance. This is their first time performing in New York.

Read the full announcement here.

GIRLS WRITE NOW (AND FOREVER)

Tonight Girls Write Now had their housewarming party at their new home! Writers and those interested in youth mentoring should definitely check out this rad nonprofit organization that combines all-girl youth mentoring and a creative writing program to NYC at-risk or underserved high school girls. Girls Write Now pairs girls ages 13 – 20 who attend high school in any of the five boroughs with writing professionals to develop their individual voices on paper. Mentors also help girls to explore careers in writing and make safe and healthy choices for the future.

I recently talked to the Girls Write Now staff at their booth at the Brooklyn Book Festival a few weeks back; to see women so fervid in encouraging young girls to write was just totally excellent and hopeful for the future of women in writing.  I looked through their annual anthology that showcases the year’s best writing, and the women told me that nothing was more rewarding than seeing the girls’ reactions to their own published works. I can only imagine!

Girls Write Now is always looking for mentors and volunteers! You can check them out on their website http://www.girlswritenow.org or stop in at their new headquarters located at West 37th Street (just east of 8th Ave), Suite 1800.