Zines have a political history. Many think of feminists or RiotGrrl when the topic of zines arises. They were created to disseminate information to people when the mass culture had limited access to alternative perspectives. Corporations still control a huge amount of media in our lives, so small publications and zine culture can still promote a wider world view for consumers.
Although currently, most zines at zine fests are creative outlets for artists, every now and then, you will come across a politically-inclined zine. Zines can be powerful and healing. Publishing is not as expensive as it used to be, but it can still be costly. If a person just wants to share their writings or their stories with others, zines can be a more cost-effective way of doing so.
How Zines Can Help You Heal:
When you come from a community or population that does not have a strong voice, creating media to have your stories heard can help develop empowerment. This is the case for many who choose to use zines and zine culture to share their stories, and the stories of those whose voices have been oppressed in the past. Representation is important, and continues to be a concern and struggle for most minority groups.
There is a larger cultural norm that is represented in the media, and this includes forms of art, film, and publications. Zines help those with minimal means to have their stories and identities validated and heard. One of the difficult parts of coming from small and underrepresented groups, is that it can feel like you do not exist in the eyes of the greater culture. Zines can help remedy these feelings of being less than.
Attending zine fests can also help promote community. It can be isolating not being able to find others who "get" your story or struggles. Zinesters usually come from life experiences where they were born fighting, and wish to encourage others to speak out on injustices or share their victories over hardships. Solidarity is part of this community, and I am thankful to have discovered and participate in it.
You can make your own zine to share your story, your creativity, and insights into any cause you are championing.
These photos are from OC Zine Fest, and it was held in Santa Ana on July 2015. Most of the works are inexpensive, so it's easier for a consumer to support their local artists. I like stickers and they usually range from $1 to $3. Many times artists give them away for free :)
These events usually draw out a younger crowd, around college-aged, and it's a treat when families visit. Some works have mature content, but most works can help inspire creativity in young artists. Exposing children to possibility can help them create a clearer image of how they want to be when they grow up. Conversing with local artists can help encourage success and prepare young artists with the right tools and expectations.