Robert Dinkins, Jr.
Zines, (not “Zenes”) are small independent magazines usually created by one person. They generally have a central message that the creator conveys. The messages range from anything like their personal life to international issues. Zines are a very effective way to get a specific message to a group of people without the necessary bureaucracy of a huge magazine company. Literally anyone can start their own zine, and one of your fellow Wooster student has done just that. Sharah Hutson ’20 has successfully published two zines this semester. I sat down to talk more with them about their new favorite hobby.
Q: What are zines?
A: Zines are self-published magazines. I find it a little weird that people here and people back home (Atlanta, Geo.), don’t know what they are. They have been around for quite some time. I have a women’s gender and sexuality class, and we talked about Kathleen Hanna and how she had this [zine] called “Riot grrrl.” They did a lot of scenes that focused and stemmed from the punk music movement. Now today they are getting fancy, and some of them don’t look like mine. Like you can tell I made mine, but some are really fancy magazines.
Q: How did you personally get involved in making zines?
A: Back home in Atlanta, Geo., I worked at the High Museum of Art. I have a friend; she used to work there and she came in for a workshop that I sat in on where she talked about zines. The problem at home was I didn’t have a printer to print all of this material. I had no idea how to use a scanner and all that. I really did not focus on zines until I came here.
Q: What is your first Zine about?
A: It is called “I Am Racist and So Are You.” Before I came here, I wrote a story about internalized racism. On campus, Caren Holmes ’17 who is running the Wooster Anti-Racist Collective and I talked about doing a zine so the both of us collaborated, and this is how this zine was created. On a website, I believe called mike.com, there was this video about how there is a lot of internalized and external racism for gay males who are using Grindr. The video talked about how there is basically a lot of racism there. Some of the guys using Grindr in the profile will say, “Oh, no black guys” or “Oh, no Chinese guys”. Sometimes they will fantasize and it would be a white man looking only for black men. The video talks about how it is racist and it breaks down the difference between preference and racism. For many minorities on this app, many people are turning them away solely because the color of their skin instead of other factors.
Q: What is the message you would like to convey in your zines?
A: For my first one, I wanted everyone to know that they are racist. I hear how certain people cannot be racist. For this [issue], it just shows that even people who are oppressed are also able to take on the role of oppressors. My next one is going to be about sex workers and problems I see within the porn industry. The zines are basically going to be [about] unorthodox topics.
Q: Where do you distribute your zines and who receives them?
A: The first people that would normally get them are a part of the Anti-Racist Collective. Some people have taken it back to their houses. I also pin some in the mailroom; I’ll come back the next day and they are gone. I also leave them around Kauke and people also grab them from the various places. Some people also ask for their own copy and I’ll print one out for them.
Q: Where do you see this going for you in the future?
A: One of the perks is [that] my friend took [an issue] to work and he talked about how it sparked a forty-five minute conversation, and I didn’t think my zines could do that. I’ve also gone to some parties and people [say], “Oh, you made that zine,” and start talking to me about how much they liked it. I didn’t think my zines would become that big [of] a deal.
For more info on zines and even to offer help with creating some, contact Sharah Hutson ’20 at SHutson20@wooster.edu