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i'm not sure if this has ever been mentioned on here before, but i just thought of it because i was thinking about distros and all their guidelines. i'm not sure what to think about saying "no racist, sexist, homophobic, etc etc material will be accepted". i mean aren't zines supposed to be the one place where you can say what you want? is this just some other form of censorship? surely everything written is offensive to someone right?

i just feel really censored and uninspired right now, like i can't really say what i want to say without hurting someone's feelings and that really sucks. i mean, the distro thing doesn't really bug me, but just the fact that their are so many rules even in zines, just makes me irritated. can i really be offensive if i am talking about my own experiences? sometimes i want to write about types of people that annoy me or things they do, but then i'm racist or sexist or whatever. i'm not really sure i'm explaining how i feel properly. oh well.

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Absolutely. Distros have a right to include or disclude whatever zine they please, based on any criteria they please. But it's still a valid issue for discussion in the larger zine world. It's something to bring out into the open and onto the table. The question of how we get our zines NOTICED by people who might enjoy or value them and/or how we get them into appreciative hands, structures and methods, is a very important one. I think we need a big, INCLUSIVE zine-review zine like FS5 or Zine World that will review or list EVERY ZINE, and I would like as many zinesters as possible to send their zine to it. The below discussion, which nobody commented on, addresses many of the issues of this discussion:

http://wemakezines.ning.com/forum/topics/the-big-inclusive-zinerevi...
jim is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT...on both counts...distros can sell what they want...AND...the larger issue
of what is 'offensive' belongs SQUARELY IN THE ZINE WORLD...a free and independent zine world is
PRECISELY what it needed..............censors can 'play' whatever game they choose...but do know
that it comes down to BIAS and PC......and the refusal to 'call-a-spade-a-spade!!

James N. Dawson said:
Absolutely. Distros have a right to include or disclude whatever zine they please, based on any criteria they please. But it's still a valid issue for discussion in the larger zine world. It's something to bring out into the open and onto the table. The question of how we get our zines NOTICED by people who might enjoy or value them and/or how we get them into appreciative hands, structures and methods, is a very important one. I think we need a big, INCLUSIVE zine-review zine like FS5 or Zine World that will review or list EVERY ZINE, and I would like as many zinesters as possible to send their zine to it. The below discussion, which nobody commented on, addresses many of the issues of this discussion:

http://wemakezines.ning.com/forum/topics/the-big-inclusive-zinerevi...
Ericfishlegs said:
Kind of off topic, but didn't some news stand owner get arrested for selling ANSWER ME?

That was pretty much an example of someone being too politically correct about a zine title/subject and trying to get it banned from a store/distro, so it's not really off topic. Someone saw them selling The Rape Issue (Answer Me! #4) and freaked out thinking it was pro-rape and called the cops. In reality it was more about survivor stories and experiences, tackling the issue of rape from a bunch of different angles. Donny the Punk's story about getting raped in prison as a war protester was really graphic and brutal, but also very honest. He was well known in the punk community at the time as an activist, founding the organization Stop Prison Rape (and was a cool guy, I showed him around Seattle when he visited on a spoken word tour). That happened up here in Washington in the town of Bellingham, which is pretty damn hippie. And it was an indie news stand, which was lame, the zines were confiscated and the owners charged with distribution of obscenity. But not only were they found not guilty, they sued the city and got a $1.3 million settlement because of the violation of their First Amendment rights and the damages caused by all the publicity.
oh thanks. i'll just stop publishing my zine. that solves everything. thank you. this is why i like this site so much.


Dan 10things said:
If you're worrying about needing to be more PC to get distribution, you probably shouldn't be publishing a zine anyway.

There will always be distros that focus on a certain type of zine (say perzines or music zines), or a certain political viewpoint, but there will also always be distros that like carrying more fringe point of views. Shit, if it's your distro, you should run it how you want, right? I don't think Answer Me ever had a distribution problem and it definitely wasn't PC. So I don't see much to worry or argue about here. It's silly to call a distro with PC rules censorship. Censorship is a real deal many people face with government not letting their words and images come out, just look at what happens in Iran and China. It's just not censorship for a private business like a distro to pick and choose what zines they want to carry.
What Dan said makes perfect sense. Maybe you should slow down and read it again. He is simply stating that if you feel the need to change what you are writing for distributions sake... then you shouldn't be writing a zine. Again... i'll say it for the third time in this thread alone... you don't need to use a distro. You can do it all on your own.

CocoaPuss Zine said:
oh thanks. i'll just stop publishing my zine. that solves everything. thank you. this is why i like this site so much.


Dan 10things said:
If you're worrying about needing to be more PC to get distribution, you probably shouldn't be publishing a zine anyway.

There will always be distros that focus on a certain type of zine (say perzines or music zines), or a certain political viewpoint, but there will also always be distros that like carrying more fringe point of views. Shit, if it's your distro, you should run it how you want, right? I don't think Answer Me ever had a distribution problem and it definitely wasn't PC. So I don't see much to worry or argue about here. It's silly to call a distro with PC rules censorship. Censorship is a real deal many people face with government not letting their words and images come out, just look at what happens in Iran and China. It's just not censorship for a private business like a distro to pick and choose what zines they want to carry.
There's plenty of room for everyone's work. I don't want to carry anything racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, etc in my distro because I don't like to promote these things - I do not like them, they are damaging and horrible. But that doesn't mean that you can't publish your zine.



Clementine Cannibal said:
you can do it all on your own and cocoa/puss does. i find it a little condescending that you're saying 'slow down and read it again'. she was never saying she tries to write her zine to fit distros standards, it's just that it seems like every single distro has those same guidelines for submissions. i too have felt very hesitant to submit my zines to distros. grrrls like cocoa/puss, who has the guts to say what's on her mind even if it's hard, have to carve out spaces for themselves everywhere. we always have to do it 'all on our own'. it would be nice if the zineworld had more room for truly subversive voices.

NicoleIntrovert said:
What Dan said makes perfect sense. Maybe you should slow down and read it again. He is simply stating that if you feel the need to change what you are writing for distributions sake... then you shouldn't be writing a zine. Again... i'll say it for the third time in this thread alone... you don't need to use a distro. You can do it all on your own.

CocoaPuss Zine said:
oh thanks. i'll just stop publishing my zine. that solves everything. thank you. this is why i like this site so much.


Dan 10things said:
If you're worrying about needing to be more PC to get distribution, you probably shouldn't be publishing a zine anyway.

There will always be distros that focus on a certain type of zine (say perzines or music zines), or a certain political viewpoint, but there will also always be distros that like carrying more fringe point of views. Shit, if it's your distro, you should run it how you want, right? I don't think Answer Me ever had a distribution problem and it definitely wasn't PC. So I don't see much to worry or argue about here. It's silly to call a distro with PC rules censorship. Censorship is a real deal many people face with government not letting their words and images come out, just look at what happens in Iran and China. It's just not censorship for a private business like a distro to pick and choose what zines they want to carry.
What's stopping you from creating your own distro to support these types of zines, then?

Clementine Cannibal said:
you can do it all on your own and cocoa/puss does. i find it a little condescending that you're saying 'slow down and read it again'. she was never saying she tries to write her zine to fit distros standards, it's just that it seems like every single distro has those same guidelines for submissions. i too have felt very hesitant to submit my zines to distros. grrrls like cocoa/puss, who has the guts to say what's on her mind even if it's hard, have to carve out spaces for themselves everywhere. we always have to do it 'all on our own'. it would be nice if the zineworld had more room for truly subversive voices.

NicoleIntrovert said:
What Dan said makes perfect sense. Maybe you should slow down and read it again. He is simply stating that if you feel the need to change what you are writing for distributions sake... then you shouldn't be writing a zine. Again... i'll say it for the third time in this thread alone... you don't need to use a distro. You can do it all on your own.

CocoaPuss Zine said:
oh thanks. i'll just stop publishing my zine. that solves everything. thank you. this is why i like this site so much.


Dan 10things said:
If you're worrying about needing to be more PC to get distribution, you probably shouldn't be publishing a zine anyway.

There will always be distros that focus on a certain type of zine (say perzines or music zines), or a certain political viewpoint, but there will also always be distros that like carrying more fringe point of views. Shit, if it's your distro, you should run it how you want, right? I don't think Answer Me ever had a distribution problem and it definitely wasn't PC. So I don't see much to worry or argue about here. It's silly to call a distro with PC rules censorship. Censorship is a real deal many people face with government not letting their words and images come out, just look at what happens in Iran and China. It's just not censorship for a private business like a distro to pick and choose what zines they want to carry.
If someone looks at my guidelines about racism/sexism/other -isms, and thinks "oh, hmm, maybe she wouldn't like my zine then"...I probably wouldn't want to see that person's zines anyway. It's my distro, so I sell what I like. I'm not going to sell some shitty offensive zine because I want to PRESERVE FREE SPEECH. The zine community can be pretty alienating to begin with for POC, disabled folk, and women (as well as others), so why would I want to continue that cycle by distributing bigotry?

Clementine Cannibal said:
i don't have the time to commit to a distro. i'm not trying to tell distro-owners what to sell, obviously with making such a huge commitment, all the details should be up to who puts the effort in. i'm just observing, along with cocoapuss, that a lot of distros have very similar guidelines, and i'm speculating that this might prevent certain people from submitting. what to do about this, i don't know. but i think this thread is good in that it opens up discussion.

NicoleIntrovert said:
What's stopping you from creating your own distro to support these types of zines, then?
i've only been making zines since march, but my writing style is fine. i've found it already. my zine isn't shitty or offensive or horrible or whatever else you all were assuming. don't assume the problem is me especially when most of you haven't even read any of my work. i'm a single mama. i'm in grad school. i work. so no i'm not just going to open a distro. i don't have time to be the change i wish to see. i just want to bitch and moan about it because this is the internet and that's what people on the internet do. but this is so not about me. it's about distro guidelines.i was wondering why they were there. now i know. feel free to stop repeating yourselves now.
I don't think anyone was saying your zine is horrible or offensive.

CocoaPuss Zine said:
i've only been making zines since march, but my writing style is fine. i've found it already. my zine isn't shitty or offensive or horrible or whatever else you all were assuming. don't assume the problem is me especially when most of you haven't even read any of my work. i'm a single mama. i'm in grad school. i work. so no i'm not just going to open a distro. i don't have time to be the change i wish to see. i just want to bitch and moan about it because this is the internet and that's what people on the internet do. but this is so not about me. it's about distro guidelines.i was wondering why they were there. now i know. feel free to stop repeating yourselves now.
How is not wanting racist/sexist zines cutting off people from marginalized groups? Maybe we have different definitions of racism etc? I'm slightly confused now.

Clementine Cannibal said:
i'm not saying you should distribute hateful content. i think the zineworld should be inclusive, and it's a place where voices can make room for themselves, that aren't heard anywhere else. i'm just saying: what about people who are members of these marginalized groups, who feel their own zines wouldn't fit based on those submission guidelines? i think it's possible. i'm not sure what the answer is. but it seems like there's more and more distros popping up lately, like yours (and i noticed your catalog has a bunch of zines i haven't seen in other distros), maybe this will create distribution possibilities for more zines.

Erin H said:
If someone looks at my guidelines about racism/sexism/other -isms, and thinks "oh, hmm, maybe she wouldn't like my zine then"...I probably wouldn't want to see that person's zines anyway. It's my distro, so I sell what I like. I'm not going to sell some shitty offensive zine because I want to PRESERVE FREE SPEECH. The zine community can be pretty alienating to begin with for POC, disabled folk, and women (as well as others), so why would I want to continue that cycle by distributing bigotry?

Clementine Cannibal said:
i don't have the time to commit to a distro. i'm not trying to tell distro-owners what to sell, obviously with making such a huge commitment, all the details should be up to who puts the effort in. i'm just observing, along with cocoapuss, that a lot of distros have very similar guidelines, and i'm speculating that this might prevent certain people from submitting. what to do about this, i don't know. but i think this thread is good in that it opens up discussion.

NicoleIntrovert said:
What's stopping you from creating your own distro to support these types of zines, then?
why would anyone want to be offensive to begin with?!?!
i know that sounds impossible, our views differ from others.however, i think it's possible for us zinesters to reduce offending shit, if we just...don't..write about it? it would 'promote' a different kind of free speech, share a positive attitude, and hopefully it would open people's eyes on how others can be easily offended by some shit and how we can fix that. if there were no offending material to be read, then poeple wouldn't be all like "dayum, he's right, mexicans are...blahblah" or some shit like that. excuse my vagueness, hah. it would take me a whole day to explain in details what i really mean

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