According to The Guardian “The British journalism industry is 94% white, 86% university-educated and 55% male. Nearly 50% of female journalists earn £2,400 or less a month, compared with just a third of men…0.4% of British journalists are Muslim and only 0.2% are black.” It’s clear that the British journalism industry is lacking in the diversity department. But why is this the case? When you really try to disseminate the reasons for this, you begin to reveal inherent problems which revolve around nepotism, systemic racism and misogyny.
For those women who are able to break into the industry, there is limited job progression, with only 22.4% of women securing senior management positions; if you’re a woman of colour, this percentage is significantly less.
These disparities have paved the way for a new wave of feminist literature, which has come to light in recent years, in order to readdress the lack of diversity in journalism, in the form of zines. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a zine (which comes from the word magazine) is a small-circulation, self-published magazine which is often, self-funded, however, the rise of zines has resulted in some being mass-circulated. Feminist zines dispel the ignorant idea that all women care about is makeup, celebrity gossip and how to lose weight in 24 hours. Through the mainstream media’s lens, women are nothing more than competitors all vying for the limited positions in power, but zines have proven that there is enough space for all of our voices to be heard.
Here’s a list of some incredible feminist zines that you might already know about, and for those of you who don’t, you can thank me later.
Gal-dem is an award winning print and online magazine created by Liv Little, with a team of over 70 women and non-binary people. The magazine is created by people of colour, for all to share, explore and learn. The collective are already on their second print issue, Home, which delves into the meaning of home and explores how it can vary depending on people’s lived experiences.
Typical Girls is an inspiring collection of interviews, art, photography and creative pieces aimed to bring women together. The zine is led by a Brighton based trio: Jamila Prowse, Chani Wisdom and Celiya Koster, and aims to create a “positive representation of women in the media” as stated by Jamilia for i-D. The zine shows its readers that women and girls are multidimensional, and that there is “no such thing as being a typical girl”; there is no rule book, women decide how and what they want to be.
Roundtable Journal is not just a print journal and online blog, it’s a safe haven for womxn to have candid conversations and share their stories on thought provoking topics which include: how to combat the whitewashing of alternative sex practices, and analysing black twitter and how it has revolutionised how black people share their experiences.
Sister magazine is a bi-annual magazine with a core belief that “all issues are women’s issues.” In providing a platform for women to share their stories and experiences, the Sister Team hopes to raise awareness and create a permanent change in contemporary society.
Burnt Roti showcases the talents of South Asian women, providing them with an outlet to talk about a wide range of topics free from judgement and the male gaze. Topics include toxic masculinity, sexual abuse, colourism and identity.
This new generation of zines, have given self-identifying women the power to show readers that our voices matter, our opinions are valid and that we are a force to be reckoned with. Feminist zines have created a new world of literature that has provided self-identifying women and non-binary people, with opportunities to represent and empower groups of people, who have been neglected by mainstream media for way too long. It’s refreshing to witness a diverse range of talents and experiences, which are dominating the conversation, and chipping away at the glass ceiling, with hopes that we’ll be able to dismantle it soon.
Written by Adesuwa
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