Gender Studies | Topics in Gender Studies: DIY Feminism: Zines, Blogs & the Politics of Everyday Activism
G104 | 8476 | Schusterbauer

Throughout her introduction to To Be Real: Telling the Truth and
Changing the Face of Feminism, Rebecca Walker defines U.S. feminism
at the turn of the twenty-first century by its affinity for a
decentralized, or “everyday,” kind of activism.  Contrasting this
contemporary, or Third Wave, feminism with the kinds of Second Wave
feminism popular during the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, Walker
argues that U.S. feminism today revolves around individual acts of
self-expression and revolution.
In this course, we will investigate the origins, contents,
and political effects of two specific forms of everyday feminist
activism popularized in the last two decades: zines and blogs.
Recognizing that both forms of self-publication have been
particularly influential for young U.S. feminists—who have come to
political activism in a period marked by the “do it yourself”
sentiments of the Riot Grrrl movement and the increased availability
of internet access—we will think about zines and blogs as
exemplifying a younger, less centralized, form of activism. But, we
will also analyze the ways in which blogs and zines, which promote a
politicization of the personal, take up many themes already
articulated by Second Wave feminists.
In this way, we will use our analysis of zines and blogs to
understand both what is distinct about Third Wave feminism and how
Third Wave feminism draws upon a long history of U.S. feminist
ideology and activism.
This course will start with a brief survey of influential
Third Wave feminist texts in order to provide students with a
context for analyzing how “everyday activism” differs, in theory and
practice, from centralized activism aimed, for example, at direct
legal reform.  From here, we will move on to analyze specific
feminist blogs and zines, using scholarly essays on these media to
guide our discussion.  We will pay close attention to some well-
known feminist blogs and zines—like Feministing, Our Bodies Our
Blog, Jezebel, Venus Zine, and Persephone is Pissed—as well as
lesser known and more locally produced blogs and zines.
In our analysis of these texts, we will consider:
•	Why zines and blogs have become attractive modes of self-
expression for a younger generation of feminists
•	How zines and blogs function politically—what populations
they reach, whose minds they change, what political goals they
•	Who writes zines and blogs and how identity categories like
gender, race, class, age, ability, and disability intersect in these
•	Why the popularity of blogs has increased while the
popularity of zines has decreased
•	How blogs and zines both diverge from and intersect with
practices and political goals popularized by U.S. Second Wave