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Why the Badass Zines Matter

The Badass Womxn & Enbies in the Pacific Northwest zines are compilations of curated biographies featuring women and nonbinary people with connections to the PNW region of the United States. Undergraduate students worked together to write these biographies in addition to multilingual poetry, artwork, behind-the-scenes videos, and lots of other group-centered, student-led work and research that made the zine possible.

As all of the projects on this site emphasize, marginalized history has to be told and preserved intentionally by feminists or it will be forgotten. This zine captures that by memorializing and honoring the lives of minoritized and silenced voices that would otherwise fade into obscurity. Included in these zines are people from across disciplines and decades, from environmentalism to drag to authorship, from the 19th century to the 2020s, preserving their social justice work and experiences.

The students that developed these zines performed first-hand research and collaborated both within and across the classroom, and learned about community, research, and social justice history. Below are student reflections on this work:

Being part of the process of creating this zine with the entire class developed my collaboration skills and understanding of how it directly relates to feminist knowledge production. Self-publishing formats aim to elevate historically marginalized communities’ stories and voices. Allowing this zine to be open-access and center the stories of these voices is what feminist knowledge production is all about. The words are accessible to anyone, easy to understand, and center on womxn. We answer the question: Where is the badass history of womxn, enbies, and queer communities? Completing this critical and creative work as a team benefited the overall process and meaning of zine-making. It brought students in class together to reach the common goal of telling untold stories of badassery. […] I think it is empowering to have these diverse marginalized voices into one booklet, as a reader can understand intersectional feminism in an accessible way. It is important to highlight the lived experiences of womxn from varying backgrounds. This zine de-centers the narrative and production of books featuring white, cis-gendered, men, and demands for the voices to be heard from silenced voices, especially with overlapping forms of oppression. Lastly, it shows how many identities are working for social, political, and cultural change to make the lives of EVERBODY better.

Sarah McDermott (she/they), Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies and Community Psychology major, Diversity minor, 2023.

Working cohesively as a class on a final product was a positive experience. I think it brought our members together and gave us a new way to connect with each other. It felt like something we all could take pride in, and it let our individual talents and interests manifest into a muti disciplined project. Not to mention, it was inspiring to take the time to dive into the life of a person that had a real impact on our community.  I would love to see more cohesive class projects like this one. I think there is so much to gain from it in terms of individual learning and knowledge production.

Zachary Peeples (he/him), Community Psychology, 2023.

The Badass Zines have brought students together for the common goal of highlighting the vital stories of feminist resistance and the badassery of womxn and nonbinary people that have, all too often, gone unrecognized and unremembered. This is our way of reminding the world that marginalized people always fight back, and their efforts deserve to be written down, celebrated, and taught.

By Tessa Denton

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