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On Oppression, Intersectionality, and Solidarity

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I wanted to share this comic that I saw thanks to my friend Chelsea.

 

Word! I love that this was this person’s final project, the comic highlights a common misogyny in nerd culture and it is so bravely personal. Total respect for the feminism here, this person showing their own struggle and being vulnerable, while recognizing another perspective for women in nerd culture who is also struggling even though they might conform to narrow guidelines of beauty-based-on-size.

If you relate to being left out by the rampant sexism in comics and nerd culture, if you relate to being belittled, objectified, harassed, etc. based on your gender despite thinking that nerd space should be a safe space… Well, you might also want to check out this amazing article by super intelligent nerd, Rachel Ediden. http://feminspire.com/idiot-nerd-girl-has-a-posse-taking-back-the-meme/

Speaking of super intelligent nerds, I went to the really awesome panel “Looking Past the Target Audience” at SCF this past weekend, but missed it at ECCC. It was really great to listen to the conversation with Rachel EdidinAndy KhouriFaith Erin HicksScotty IseriSfé M., and David Walker sitting on the panel. There was a lot on intersectionality, which was crucial! Intersectionality is a concept often used to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are INTERCONNECTED and cannot be examined separately from one another. Third Wave Feminism, especially, thrived on the concept of intersectionality in order to redefine Feminism as inclusive. The concept of intersectionality first came from legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression.

If you missed it or if you want to be having these kinds of discussions, I would recommend checking out their tumblr (thatonepanel.tumblr.com).

For me, one of the most moving moments of the panel was when Sfé was talking about how an aspect of their process for creating Kyle & Atticus was to write a gender queer character with positive support and acceptance in their life. I think it really hit home for me because a lot of the stuff Matt, Marco, and I have been dealing with Matt’s parents understanding what our polyamorous relationship means and learning that I am a queer atheist. Essentially, he’s been coming out to them and it’s been really hard. That in addition to struggles I have always had with people being unsupportive toward me. This struggle, having parents, acquaintances, lovers, and even a long-time best-friend have acted as if they are shamed by me or have been demeaning or hateful toward me for any of the various reasons people have antagonistic or problematic relationships with me. That I am a woman, that I am queer, that I am polyamorous, that I  am or do all these things that they can’t relate to, that I fall under any of the labels in their mind that they view as “bad” and then I go on to dare to have opinions, ideas, boundaries, and confidence to be myself. I am motivated to work with kids exactly because I want to try to be that influence in their life, to be the person who says, “You have a voice and it’s important.” Or, “I accept who you are and I will treat you as a person with their own autonomy and agency.” To be a supportive adult. To be an educator that empowers kids to think for themselves and to be themselves. I write about my experiences in the hopes that I can grow and that I might provide support to peers who can see themselves in me because I realize the positive impact that people have had in my life by being themselves and being open about it, as I have written about a few times on this blog. I really respected that Sfé talked about writing supportive roles in the comics on purpose, because I agree with her that creating those characters in stories feeds into the mothers and friends and parents and whoever seeing themselves in the life of a gender queer person or other underrepresented, marginalized people in our society. We really need those role models.

I also want to give huge props to the panel “The Big Picture,” where a bit of gender and intersectionality issues were discussed kind of inadvertently, with Alison Baker, Kelly Sue DeConick, Jen Vaughn, Shannon Watters, and Emi Lenox. As well as the focus of the panel, discussing how the internet has changed comics, especially independent publishing as, to my knowledge, most of the panelists had roots in indie comics and zines.

Personally, I believe that one of the biggest steps in activism is showing up, being visible.

If you have the ability and patience just to be there, that is a huge step.

Do what you can, REALIZE WHAT YOU CAN DO.

Do say hello to the creators and organizations you do want to support. Do buy zines and comics or whatever from the creators you think deserve it for whatever reason you value them. Do go to the panels that talk about issues you care about. Do say thank you (in person or online) to the panelists, we can’t hear it enough. Do blog/tweet/whatever about it. Do talk to your friends about the creations and panels you do enjoy or support. Do volunteer for an organization you think serves a valuable role in your community. Do go to an event that highlights creators and issues that you feel are important or meaningful. Do start your own event, especially if it’s an event you wish existed but doesn’t. Do make your own stories and creative work that reflects your experience, your passion, your values, your ideas. Do listen to or support the people who have different experiences than yourself.

I long lost the patience to volunteer for SCF, but I try to keep showing up to support the people who I do see promoting real conversations and ethical work I commend those who love comics and other cismale/white dominated communities. I have been able to devote myself to working on the Portland Zine Symposium as an organizer for so many years because it strives and works hard to be a safe space, an inclusive community with anti-oppressive ethics.

Also, I want to take this opportunity to promote the Women of Color Zine Symposium at PSU happening this summer, on June 8th. This is such an important event to support to me. It was started by Tonya Jones, a long-time Portland Zine Symposium attendee, powerful writer, and zine educator. The WOC Zine group that she started has self-published three issues of “Women of Color: How to Live in the City of Roses and Avoid the Pricks.” All three issues are available for $3 from the group, Powell’s Bookstore, and In Other Words. The zines can also be checked out from the Multnomah County Library!

And, speaking of the “Women of Color: How to Live in the City of Roses and Avoid the Pricks” zine, they have a submissions call up right now for their fifth issue! The fifth issue is themed for interviews and it’s an opportunity to interview a fantastic woman of color/person of color that you know doing great work in Portland and contribute to a great project. You can read more on their websitehttp://wocpdxzines.wordpress.com/woc-zine-collective-submissions.

If there is a theme to this post, it is that, whatever your battle in coping with oppression, you are not alone.

Keep showing up and we’ll find each other at all the nerd cons and wherever.

International Zinesters!

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Just over a week ago, I met two really awesome people while on shift at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, Asao Yoshida and Canaco Tomono!

asaocanaco
I talked with them for awhile at IPRC that evening, but then I also hung out with them a little bit the following two days. We hung out on Monday evening for dinner and then some Ground Kontrol fun with my partners Matt and Marco, and then Tuesday, midday, for some walking around PNCA and getting lunch with just Matt. Then they flew back to NYC. Meeting and spending time talking with them was very inspiring! They are both incredibly nice and creatively driven people, which I really respect. They had traveled to Portland for 3 days to visit Portland and, more specifically, the IPRC. While they had flown from NYC, where Asao is learning about his departed father’s life and artwork (which is on display as part of the Gutai: Splendid Playground exhibit at the Guggenhetim Museum), they are from Japan. As I (very unfortunately) know almost nothing of Japanese language, I found myself relying on their English knowledge and a little help from my google translate app to cover the gaps. I learned that they were interested in visiting the IPRC because they have a similar project going in their town of Hamamatsu in  Shizuoka, Japan. AND, SERIOUSLY, THEIR PROJECT IS AMAZING.

zings
I am totally using the word amazing on purpose here, because their project is called Zing! Zing! is a combination of the words “zine” and “ing,” which fits well because it involved opening a space for people to create zines for a month for each volume of Zing! From what I understood and the wonderful pictures Canaco showed me on her iPad, each volume of Zing! was the result of a month-long community event in a temporary space. It seems that they rented a space in their town for a month, set up all kinds of materials and a copy machine, then held parties and workshops to encourage people to come in and participate! Check out their blog to read about the launching of Zing!, to see photos of their really wonderful set up, to see their really awesome templates, learn about Zing! events, and more! They were really into sharing their work, they gave Matt, Marco and I some copies of Zing! zines, as well as some beautiful posters they designed, a cd of Asao’s music (Tategu Telepathy, music from a exhibition of tategu, a style of doors or openings), and a couple of Canaco’s prints of her illustrations. I gave them each a copy of The 3 of Us (because it was one of my zines that I had on hand),  some IPRC paraphernalia (like the latest catalog and buttons and such), Matt gave them a copy of Garage Raja, and Marco give them a cd from his old band.  I also felt very flattered as Asao and Canaco seemed to have printed out the Zine Machine template in anticipation of their visit and liked it.

exchangingzinetemplates zing2sundaystreet

sundayzinetategutelepathycd zingsandfliers

Above, you can see the shared treasures! In the second photo, I am holding volume 2 of Zing!, which is very image heavy and another zine called Sunday Street.  In the third photo, I am holding a zine by Canaco that is ALL illustrations of ice cream sundaes (!) and the Tategu Telepathy cd (which I haven’t listened to yet, somehow). The fourth photo is a spread of zines and illustrations from Asao and Canaco. From what I understood, Asao works in design and Canaco does work illustrating fliers, posters, and other cool things for community organizations. Asao and Canaco weren’t just being so generous sharing with us, I watched them approach other creative people around IPRC in the same vein as well as my friend Kinoko, who we happened to run into when we were at PNCA, she actually knows some Japanese language because she had lived there. I really admired their spirit of sharing creative work and ideas, they seem to have come prepared to share their work. Not only did they seem to have a lot of Zing! issues with them and other examples of their awesome work, they even had little plastic bags that they would put issues of Zing! and posters/fliers in as they were giving them out.

kinokoasao

In this photo, you can see Kinoko excitedly receiving ziney gifts from Asao and Canaco.

They took many more great pictures than I did, and Asao wrote a blog about their experience visiting Portland, which you can find here:  zinggniz.blogspot.com!

Written by lovemotionstory

April 4, 2013 at 5:19 pm

PZS is HERE!!!

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So, I have been so swamped with the Stumptown Underground issue that came out a couple weeks ago and also with organizing the Portland Zine Symposium, that I haven’t been posting!!

But, anyways, the Portland Zine Symposium is THIS WEEKEND!

Here is the final general update we posted online and sent out to everyone

I have a lot to say about PZS, as an organizer and a zine enthusiast, but I have to keep this short because I gotta go help setup tables at Refuge for tomorrow.

So, in short, this is PZS wonderfulness is happening all weekend, starting tonight, and I really hope you come check it out!!!

I can’t tell you how hard I work to organize PZS, countless hours every year, and I still feel like I am not doing enough or well enough. Doing SU, PZS, and other zine stuff drives a fair almost all of my life and challenges me to work harder and do better at every turn. It’s also incredibly rewarding, which is what compels me to keep trying harder and doing more.

Tonight, at the IPRC, we are starting with an IPRC Open House and PZS Kick Off Party, complete with a game of Zine Jeopardy.

Tomorrow is the first day of tabling and lots of workshops at Refuge. I will be there all day, of course, but the hours are from 10:00am until 6:00pm. This year, we also worked hard on an app  that allows you to “heart” the tablers you want to see and set notifications for workshops. : portland-zine-symposium.getbloodhound.com

In the evening, one of my favorite bands, Point Juncture WA,  and several of my favorite readers will be doing a music show, zine reading, and reissue party all to benefit PZS at Backspace. This should be a huge fund raiser for us and it has been written about in every paper in town and I want to give a huge thank you to Michael Heald for helping make it happen.

On Sunday, we have the second day of tabling and workshops from 10:00am until 5:00pm. Also, if you check out pdxzines.com, you will see that I have been working hard to post a bunch of interviews with many of the PZS tablers this year. Those interviews should give you a great idea of why I love zines and doing PZS. <3

Sunday night, we’re going to have a huge after party with karaoke at IPRC.

Hope to see you this weekend!

Written by lovemotionstory

August 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Accountability, Joe Biel, and Microcosm

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What I love about the zine community! Holding a person and a collective accountable for habitual abuse… http://heavymentaldistro.org/blog/open-letter-to-microcosm-publishing/ –  For those of you who ask why I don’t like Microcosm, here is a start for your reading and deciding for yourself. –

I have had several friends over the years ask me what the deal is with Joe Biel and Microcosm. Why don’t I like Microcosm? Should they participate in an anthology being put out by Microcosm or Joe? Should they have their zines sold by Microcosm? Does one guy really ruin it for everyone?

Well, maybe not for you, but, for me, yes.

When I first met Joe at a board game night about 8 years ago, I was just as charmed as most people are by him. This was despite the fact that he was as condescending as all get out, including making fun of me and saying I was a vegan poser because I went with my friends to Denny’s and ordered coffee. I didn’t take the remarks he made too seriously then, until I realized later that he can just be generally demeaning.  When I learned more about him from our interactions and from friends, including Alex Wrekk, I quickly became uncomfortable around him or anyone close to him. I don’t hate him, hate is too strong of a word… I just think he is boundary pushing, disrespectful, and probably emotionally abusive.

Probably that is, if any part of any story I had heard about his relationships was true, which I do believe many of the accounts I have heard to be true indeed. Of course, I heard about the complications of his relationship with Alex Wrekk first, but there were more beyond and past him, including a woman he as in relationship with after Alex who now tells a similar story as Alex’s about their relationship… As well as knowing the perspective of outside mediators that have tried to work with Alex and Joe. And also, knowing how he and Microcosm have related to other businesses and people whose work they publish and/or distribute.

It’s complicated to explain more about all of this in  blog post. I started writing this post as a much longer entry, but, ultimately, I don’t have time or energy right now. So I will post what I have told many friends over the years:

If you want to here a lot more details about all of this and my personal perspective, just give me a call or let’s have coffee. I will tell you what I know, how I feel and why…

Meanwhile, I will volunteer what I have said a few times, including what I told a lady friend who asked me recently over the phone about Joe Beil and Microcosm. I, personally, don’t feel comfortable with him or Microcosm for a variety of reasons, but I would not hold it against you or anyone else for deciding to participate in an anthology project or being distributed with them. You have my acceptance, I just don’t advise it because I think he and the collective are unethical and not accountable. I am not going to judge you for getting involved with them if you feel skeptical because you don’t have a first-hand experience of being treated unethically by Joe or Miscrocosm… And I hope you don’t. When I know a person or a company or a organization has behaved unethically, however, I try to steer clear of it. Unless, of course, I do see some real accountability on the person’s or company’s or organization’s part.

While I think Joe Biel is lame and the situation with Microcosm kind of sucks, I am glad for what I see in the wake of all of it: A community that calls out abuse and talks about it. A community that expects accountability in a respectful way. A community that doesn’t launch a witch-hunt, but does demand a dialogue about unethical practices and seeks a meaningful solution.

Thanks to all the zinesters that are brave about standing in solidarity against abuse and other unethical behavior. You are all rad.

Written by lovemotionstory

June 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Big and empty house, big and fruitful garden, big and goofy dog…

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I am dogsitting for the next 3 weeks while the main family I nanny for is on vacation. I love my house, my garden, and my cats, but dogsitting is a fun change of pace.

Being in a big house can get kind of lonely, but I always get extra work done whenever I am dog/housesitting. I can’t decide if it’s because I set up more like I am in an office or if it’s because the house is empty so I feel slightly more comfortbale slumming it for a whole day in front of the computer, answering a bajillion emails.

The family’s garden is much bigger and older than mine, like, can you see all those yummy artichokes in the foreground of this pictures? I am going to try really hard not to eat all of them.

I wouldn’t ever want to own a dog because it’s more of a time commitment than what I feel I can make room for, which is why I have two cats, but Joy is quite adorable and I am happy to pretend I have a dog for 3 weeks… And I am going to have a pretty happy running buddy. Joy is a great dog, the kind of dog who is so sweet and loving that she also can’t be left alone for too long, she gets anxious and sad. She also doesn’t realize her own size (she is SO big) and leans into you for love and pets.

This little vacation couldn’t come at a better time, last week was so busy with events for Portland Zine Symposium that I help organized and other things, that this downtime to stay up late most days and sleep in, catch up on emails and projects (like writing about all the mini zines we’ve gotten at the IPRC for the Zine Machine) and plan for all the events in July (like the 4th Annual 24hr Zine Challenge and the Science/SciFi release party for Stumptown Underground) is welcome. Maybe I will even get some writing done.

One thing I probably have coming up the next few weeks is teaching  at least one week at the Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls! Maybe even all three! I offered to help find them an additional instructor for at least the Thursdays of the 2nd and 3rd sessions, which I can’t do, but would love to split with a friend. I am so excited!

Written by lovemotionstory

June 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm

AmaZine Day!

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Thanks to everyone who came out to AmaZine Day yesterday, it was so wonderful and fun! I am so glad to be helping organize another, more frequent zine fest here in Portland, I am so thankful for the Independent Publishing Resource Center and its new, bigger space so that the Portland Zine Symposium organizers could organize something like this. We had all the tables full and people in and out, including just random foot-traffic. It was so great to have the first one go so well. Justin, the director at the IPRC, took some video that we should have up soon, plus a lot of pictures various people took.

I had the PZS Pedalpalooza Zine Bike Ride and the PZS Bike-In Movie (we showed The Goonies this year, had our biggest turn out ever), another big event that had nothing to do with zines that I was helping organize on Friday, and AmaZine Day yesterday. I am glad the only thing I have got going on today is teaching comics/zines drop-in class for kids at the IPRC and a coffee date. I am tired.

Written by lovemotionstory

June 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

Activism and teaching…

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I was asked to teach zines at the Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls!!! I still have to reply and apply, but this is one of the things that I am putting on my application that I wanted to share:

“I feel that, if there’s any hope for the future, it lays in helping kids think critically, behave kindly, and create fearlessly.”

That about sums up where all my activism energy comes from and goes into, so I had to share. Plus, I am excited!!

Written by lovemotionstory

June 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm