Tag Archives: feminist zines

Introducing the Winter/Spring/Summer 2017 Issue of Katastrophic Thoughts

The fact that it has taken me over a year to do what I used to do in three months could be a metaphor for my life now. Yes, things have gotten a lot more hectic in the last year. But, I’m still committed to the print version of Katastrophic Thoughts. New issues (along with a few old issues) will be available at Bluestockings Bookstore in NYC in the coming weeks or you can email me directly at kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com. If you were a past subscriber I will send you an issue in the next week or so.

P1130374

Here is a preview of what’s in the issue:

  • Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
    12 basic rights that women just gained in the last 100 years.
  • Special Edition of World Changing Ways
    Nine causes that need your help now more than ever.
  • Your New Feminist BFF
    The first women doctor in the U.S. and her lasting legacy
  • Pregnant Body, Public Domain
    When you are a woman your body is never truly just yours, especially when you’re knocked up.
  • There Are No Good Mothers
    Everyone is a parenting critic.
  • Stop Trying To “Empower” Women With Cutesy Titles
    Why titles like “SHE-EO” and momtrepreneur aren’t helping.
  • Required Reading
    A few great books

 

  • Women’s March…25
    A small sample of the best signs from the largest single-day march in U.S. history.

It’s Been A Year! Announcing The Fall 2015 Issue Of Katastrophic Thoughts!

With issue #5 of Katastrophic Thoughts I have officially out lasted my high school zine. A year ago I announced the first issue of my old-school printed and photocopied feminist zine. And now here I am “dropping” my second Fall edition. Hope you all have enjoy this project as much as I have.

Here’s a taste of what’s in the latest issue:

This issue’s theme: Hard Work

  • Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
    The first woman to..run for president, swim across the English Channel, fly around the world, and more.
  • World Changing Ways
    Who narrates the world, creates it.
  • Your New Feminist BFF
    A Native American woman who fought for her people.
  • Think of the Children!
    In which the government loses it shit over nipples
  • Your Ultimate Feminist Halloween Costume Guide
    Pay tribute to awesome women on the best holiday of the year
  • Required Reading (and watching and listening)

P1070469

Single issue: $5. Return subscribers discount annual (four issue) subscription: $20, New subscriptions: $25.

Back issues are available for $4 each or $15 of all four back issues.

P1060949

Contact me at kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com for more info.

Introducing Your Perfect Beach Read: The Summer Issue Of Katastrophic Thoughts

Just in time for the dog days of summer, it’s issue #4 of Katastrophic Thoughts the zine. Issues will go out to subscribers later this week or early next week. If you’d like a subscription, single issue, or back issues, email me at kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com.

P1060941

Here’s a peek of what’s in the issue:

  • Words to the wise 
    Stop tweeting and take some action!
  • Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
    The two gutsy women who were the first to run the Boston Marathon.
  • World Changing Ways
    Madre:Demanding Rights, Resources & Results For Women
  • Your New Feminist BFF
    Suffragette, activist, cartoonist, drew the inspiration for Wonder Woman.
  • My Month Without Makeup (a version of this essay ran online here)
    In which I battle with the idea that my face is “unprofessional”
  • Unraveling the Woman Tax
    Seriously, how is this still a thing?
  • Required Reading
    some pretty heavy beach reads
  • Late-Breaking Lady News
    Updates on what’s happened since last time and some final thoughts.

Collect the full set of all four issues!

P1060949

My Month Without Makeup

Note: A version of this essay will appear in the forthcoming Summer Issue of the print zine version of Katastrophic Thoughts (due out in mid July). But this should hold you over for now 🙂  

In late April Amy Schumer did a perfect spoof of a One Direction ballad titled “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” which instantly became a trending hashtag on Twitter.

It was perfect and struck such a cord with viewers for several reasons (it was hilarious and infectious). But the biggest reason, I think, is that it highlighted the crazy beauty expectations and extreme hypocrisy that women deal with: the virtues of “natural” beauty are constantly preached, from Beyonce’s “I woke up like this (only if she went to sleep with perfectly arched eyebrows, hair extensions and a full face of makeup) to boy band ballads like the one Schumer spoofed, to Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign.

But all of that positive messaging rings false in the face of the constant bombardment of messages about ALL OF THE FLAWS we need to discretely hide. It seems we shouldn’t actually leave the house with the face that we wake up with, but should instead camouflage ourselves to look as if we processes flawless alien DNA. Sure, the overly “made-up” look might be falling out of fashion, but it’s been replaced with a pressure to somehow sculpt a “natural” look that involves an ever increasing amount of time, products, and of course money.

Speaking of money, the U.S. cosmetics industry brought in over $55 billion in 2014 alone – that’s not counting other “beauty and grooming products, that’s just makeup.

I had been thinking about makeup long before Schumer’s sketch. I’ve worn makeup most every day of my life since early middle school (that’s well over 20 years). Like most women, I learned about makeup from my mom. But my mother, like her mother isn’t a particularly “done up” woman, so like my mother I learned how to apply makeup in the most rudimentary way – basically a cover your zits and dark circles and try to make yourself look presentable sort of method.

And while I did receive a well-meaning intervention from a gay male friend in college that got me to start plucking my eyebrows, my approach to makeup has remained pretty basic for decades (save from the few years in college that I wore white eyeliner because I read that it would make me look more “awake” – it instead made me look like I had a white line bizarrely drawn on my eyelid).

But even though I never became interested the endless makeup advertisements and tutorials proliferate so much of “women’s” media, and even though I still bought the cheapest drugstore makeup that my mother taught me with, I still felt like I had to wear makeup nearly every single day.

Of course no one had ever explicitly told me this, and I likely wouldn’t have admitted or realized that I felt like I was required to wear makeup. But still it had become ingrained in me in a much more insidious way. Wearing makeup was like showering or putting on pants – it was simply a way of making myself presentable. But why is a boy’s and a man’s face presentable on its own but from the time I was 11 years old, my face was not?

It’s kind of embarrassing that it took me this long to ask myself that question. When I started think about this several months ago and mentioned it to my husband, he acted like it was the most obvious thing in the world: “Of course you don’t need makeup, I love the way you look without it.” Many of my friends said that their husbands and boyfriends said the same thing. Of course we are are women in long term relationships, who all meant our partners while wearing makeup, so I take it with a little grain of salt.

Still, now seemed like as good of time as any to break what I never would have thought was an addiction to my decades-long routine.

So I decided to give up wearing makeup for the month of May.

As a frame of reference, here are photos I took of myself both with and without makeup on the last day of April, as well as the makeup I apply for a normal day of work (my “evening” look usually just involves darker eyeshadow and if I’m feeling really fancy, lipstick).

P1060191P1060192

(without makeup on the left and with makeup on the right)

P1060189

(my typical daily makeup)

Day 1:  Friday May 1st

I felt really self-conscious most of the day, like people would look at me and judge as unkempt.

Even though it only takes me about five minutes to put on makeup, I was surprised how short my morning routine felt without it, I took a longer walk the subway and enjoyed the beautiful spring morning to with the extra time.

Part way though the work day I realized I could touch my face as much as I wanted, which made me aware of how little I’ve been able to touch my face during the day for my entire adult life. It’s such a strange thing to realize. Of course, I rest my chin on my hand frequently and every adult woman has had the experience of crying your makeup into a disgusting mess. But after hours of staring at a computer screen I’ve at work, I’ve never been able to rub my eyes or put my hands over my face. It’s such a satisfying experience, you guys. Not being able to touch your own face for most of the waking hours of your life is pretty messed up.

Overall though, being at work without makeup felt unprofessional – I wouldn’t wear workout clothes to the office and having no make up felt similarly unprofessional – that’s kind of fucked up isn’t it? My face is unprofessional?

Days 2 & 3: Saturday & Sunday May 2nd and 3rd

It is much easier to go without makeup on the weekend because I frequently do. But when Mark took pictures at me at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden I purposely kept my sunglasses on to hide the dark circles that are always under my eyes no matter how much sleep I get.

On Sunday night Mark asked me how the experiment was going so far and when I told him about my insecurities he seemed surprised, and a little disappointed. When I asked him what he thought of it so far he said he loved it – it didn’t take me as long to get ready and he liked seeing my face, he commented that he liked that he could see my freckles, which are subtle and always get covered up with makeup.

When I pointed out the weird discoloration that surrounds my eyes making me look slightly unwell all the time he kind of shrugged “I never really noticed.” I’ve always been convinced this is my face’s biggest flaw.

First Full Work Week: Monday May 4th – Friday May 8th

I’m getting more used to my new morning routine which is only 5-10 minutes shorter, but since the weather has been so nice I used that time to walk to the next subway stop on the way to work, and get exercise and enjoy the weather.

It’s still on my mind when I talk to people at work that my face is bare and my flaws are out but no one has had any visible reaction – when I started this I half expected to get the “are you OK, you look tired (or sick)” (both I should say are comments I’ve received when I was wearing makeup). I had one meeting and one interview with a job candidate and while the “my face is unprofessional” feeling did come up, I was able to brush it off pretty easily.

Most of the time I forgot that there was anything different about my appearance. And while the first few days when I would catch my reflection I would be startled and a little repulsed, as the days went by I started to have my normal reaction: “eh, good enough.”

makeup

Week Two: Saturday May 9th – Friday May 15th

Not wearing makeup has become a natural part of my day and I’m finding myself forgetting that there’s anything different about the way I look…most of the time…

I forget my hang-ups and don’t leave sunglasses on for pictures, some of them still make me cringe and my eyes are quickly drawn to my flaws, but some are OK. It’s probably the same range as photos of me with makeup on.

At work I have several meetings and an interview and it does cross my mind the impression that I’m making, the thought is easy to pushed aside once I’m talking to people – no one treats me differently. It’s possible I’m given a “less professional” impression, but more likely people don’t pay as much attention to my face as I do.

But for all of that progress, old habits are hard to break: On Thursday I had a conference where I’d be meeting a lot of people followed by my first meeting with a new writing group. In short, I’d be making a lot of first impressions – with my bare and blemished face. Mark left before me in the morning and I spent an uncertain moment in the bathroom, my hand hovering over the makeup bag I hadn’t touched in 14 days.

I actually caught myself thinking “If I just wear makeup today, no one will know.” I would have never classified myself as “addicted” to makeup, but that thought sounded seriously addictive, and to my credit I realized it, was embarrassed for having thought it, and carried on with my day and making my first impressions with my real face.

Also this week, I am offered a small bag of makeup on the street, but it wasn’t a reaction to my bare face – it was a promotion. “No thanks, I don’t wear makeup,” I responded, feeling ever so slightly emboldened. But then, a moment later I thought “hmm…I wonder if there is anything good in there.” Hey – free stuff.

Week Three: Saturday May 16 – Friday May22

Most of the week and the weekend was the new normal: not thinking much about my looks and shedding more of the self-consciousness when photos were being taken. But again when I was with people who knew me who I hadn’t seen in a while (extended family in one case and a group of friends in another case) it crossed my mind to tell them why I wasn’t wearing makeup—but I didn’t because that felt too close to apologizing, in the same way that you politely say to guests “I’m sorry it’s such a mess in here.”

makeup 2

This week however I did make an exception to my month without makeup rule. On Monday I was asked to be in a video at work, aside from not having material prepared, I panicked because I wasn’t wearing makeup – I couldn’t have a professional video recorded of my naked face and broadcast from a major publication to the entire world. Is that even allowed?! So I put it off until the next day and broke my rule and put makeup on.

There was a noticeable difference in the way I was treated throughout my makeup day –or at least I thought so, but it very well could have a bias I was inventing. I even received a direct complement from a coworker on my make up at which point I revealed that I hadn’t been wearing makeup all month. She said she hadn’t noticed. Does this prove that makeup is unnecessary or just that a naked face just fades into the background?

Week Four: Saturday May 23 – Sunday May 31

I was on vacation most of this week (in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon), so I feel like it almost didn’t count: I would normally not think to put makeup on for something like an early morning flight or a hike, so there were some no-brainer makeup free days.  On the other hand, I “broke the rules” and wore makeup twice when we got dressed up for a fancy dinner and a show for our anniversary, because makeup felt like an obvious part of getting dressed up.

Final Thoughts

Over the last month I have become more comfortable with my face, and while I don’t think I’ll quit makeup cold turkey for the rest of my life or even only reserve it for special occasions, I am moving to a place where I no longer think my face is “unprofessional” or where I’m startled or disgusted with my reflection.

So I guess that’s where I’m landing after my makeup-free month: makeup is like high heels, it’s not something I “need” and I’m not less of a woman without it, but it’s an option available when I want play dress-up (for work or leisure).

Still, these personal revelations don’t solve the bigger problem: the subconscious feeling that as women we aren’t good enough as we are. I’m not advocating that all women forgo makeup or that we move to some sort of androgynous version of appearance. No one should be made to feel shamed for wanting to get made up and dressed up (female or male) – it can be fun, and there are talented people who have made careers out of mastering it.

But I do think that more women should question it. Do you really want to wear makeup every day or do you just feel like you should or need to for vague, yet deep seated reasons? If more women were comfortable bringing their bare faces out in the world, would we no longer feel it was “unprofessional” to do so?

Happy Spring! Issue #3 Of Katastrophic Thoughts Now Available!

It’s my birthday and you get the present! The Spring 2015 issue (#3) of Katastrophic Thoughts (the analog zine version) is now available. It will go out to subscribers next week, and if you are in New York I’ll have all three issues at the Brooklyn Zine Fest on Sunday April 28th.

Otherwise send me an email to get your hand on a copy: kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com

Here’s a taste of what’s in this issue:

P1060127

What’s in this issue:

  • Words to the wise
    Screw up your courage to the sticking point
  • Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
    When over 1,000 women flew planes in WWII
  • World Changing Ways
    Honoring a beautiful spirit by helping others.
  • Your New Feminist BFF
    You know Rosa Parks, but do you know the other women behind the Montgomery bus boycott? Now you will.
  • I’m not sexist, but…
    Exploring the subtle ways unconscious bias creeps into our daily lives
  • Talkin’ Bout Revolution 
    How We Can Do More Than Just “Raise Awareness”
  • Beyond Ball Gowns and Place Settings
    Giving The First Ladies at The Smithsonian The Respect They Deserve
  • The Happy Feminist
    There is a lot to be angry about, but we should celebrate our wins as well.
  • Required Reading
    Books I’ve loved, books I hope to love and now comic and zine recommendations!

What’s In A Name?

Note: This essay is from the Winter Issue of the print version of Katastrophic Thoughts. Due to a mistake in pagination this article was printed and mailed to readers with two missing sentences. In the interest of getting the whole story, it is re-printed here in its entirety. Issues #1 and #2 are still available, please contact me at kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com if you are interested in a single issue or a subscription. 

In the last issue I wrote about your new feminist best friend (from the 1800s) Lucy Stone. She was an awesome woman who was both a suffragist and feminist as well as an abolitionist (which is more than can be said of many of the other more well known suffragists). One of the things that Lucy Stone was most known for keeping her own name when she married and fighting for other women’s right to do so. This woman was born nearly 200 years ago. Two Hundred.

Yet, as recently as 2011, according to an NBC poll, 50% of Americans believed that women should be legally required to change their last names to their husbands when they get married. That’s not 50% that believe that women should do it – there are no doubt even more than 50% of people ready to tell women what they should do – that’s 50% that believe there should be a law that requires women to change their names.

Untitled

This is, I hope we can all agree, completely preposterous. There are many things people should be legally required to do: not murder people, stop at red lights, refrain from robbing banks. Why anyone would care what someone else does with their own name is insane. People name their children after fruit and consumer goods or characters in tween vampire romance novels. I would think keeping the name that you have lived with for 20-40 years or more would be among one of the most benign things a person could do. But I would be wrong.

So since we can all agree that legally requiring women to change their names is crazy pants, let’s back up and get the origin of that other thing that many more people believe: That women (and only women) should do it.

The story of this tradition goes back to the bible, upon marrying Abraham, his new wife no longer existed as herself but as the “wife of Abraham.” This kind of shit went on for a really long time and has been used to justify some of the biggest battles that feminists have fought: one of the pieces of logic keeping women from getting the vote was that most women were married and they would just vote the way their husbands did anyways.

Women couldn’t own property because they weren’t real people, husbands could rape their wives because their wives where essentially their property, and even as recent as the 1970s a woman couldn’t get a credit card without her husband’s permission. Fast forward to 2015 and married women receive mail addressed to Mrs. Her Husband’s name, as if we’re all still just “wife of Abraham.”

If you think that a married woman is still a person, the logic behind why women should change their last names seems pretty flimsy.

The other reason for the existence of the tradition stems from having children (something we all know not all married couples do). The child was given the father’s name to prove that he was the rightful heir and not “a bastard”, this is the same logic I would assume that’s vaguely behind the propensity for unmarried women to give their children the father’s last name even when the father has no role in raising the child.

Just as we all agreed a few sentences ago that married women are in fact still human beings, can we now all agree that there is no such thing as an “illegitimate” child? No matter what’s going on in your parent’s life when you’re born or trendy thing they name you after you are still a person and still part of family.

So we can hopefully all agree that the tradition as a tradition is pretty ludicrous. But most traditions come from places that are irrelevant to our lives today. And this one is one that’s holding on. More than 90% of women change their name when they get married (statistics of men who change their name when they get married are so slim that their basically never reported on).

Now for the not-at-all-surprising news that I didn’t change my last name when I got married. It was a decision that I made when I was a little girl and one that I shared with my husband early on. He response was something like “Well, it’s your name.” I know there is part of him that would have liked me sharing his last name, but it was a pretty easy thing for him to get past. I am no less part of his family for having my own name, just as he is no less part of mine for keeping his.

A person’s name is the most fundamental marker of their identity and although the majority of women who change their names when they get married do not associate themselves with surrendering their identity to their husbands and certainly view themselves as individuals not property, that’s still what’s at the heart of altering your identity on the most basic level.

Once you start considering it there are so many reasons why a woman would want to keep her own name: in an age when women are getting married later in life and building careers, changing your name erases the most searchable marker to your past accomplishments, plus changing your name in the modern world is a pain in the ass (in fact there is so much paper work involved with getting a new version of everything that entire companies have been built around helping women navigate the process).

namechange

All that said, I don’t think that women should keep their names or even that men should change their names. When it comes to personal choices that don’t hurt others I am all for freedom of choice. If you want to take your husband’s last name, who am I to tell you that you can’t? You can change your name to Scrimhorn Shacklebot for all I care. I just hope you have a good reason for doing so, one that you’ve come to on your own rather than just following what every one else made you believe you should do.

Changing your name when you get married and giving babies their father’s surname is so staggeringly unquestioned. And that’s all I’m really making an argument for – a little critical thinking about the most visible symbol of personal identity.

And that goes for men too. In the United States, only eight states have an official name change for a man as part of their marriage process, others may petition a court. So few men even let the issue of name change cross their minds. For a world of true equality to happen all couple would start at zero in the discussion – his name, her name, any combination there of, a new name all together – everything should be equally considered if everyone is truly equal.

There was an excellent article by Molly Caro May for The Hairpin a few months back titled “What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name” (spoiler: people acted shocked but the world did in fact keep spinning). She says:

I would never advocate for all children having their mother’s last names. But imagine if 50% them did. Imagine the social impact on our collective unconscious. It would be a movement requiring no money, no lobbying, no elbow grease. It’s a choice anyone of any background can make—harder for some, I know. And our naming system would actually be diverse. No one gender would occupy it.

People might say these are small peanuts, but language is never small. Language shapes how we view things before we even know we are viewing them. How we name something determines how we value it. If women’s last names are consistently absent from history, never passed down, then where is their—our—value?

Issue #2 Of Katastrophic Thoughts Now Available!

Yes, January is officially the bleakest, most depressing month of the year, but now you have something to brighten your month: A brand new (and still free!) issue of Katastrophic Thoughts (analog zine version).

If you’d like a copy send me your mailing address to kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com

P1050027

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in the issue:

  • Words to the wise
    Eleanor Roosevelt Edition
  • Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
    The night the two most admired women in the world snuck off for a nighttime flight in evening gowns.

  • World Changing Ways 
    A cause that you should care about.
  • Your New Feminist BFF
    A woman so powerful she was called “her “the best man in the cabinet.” In the 1930s

  • Speaking About The Unspeakable
    An essay about one of the few remaining taboos about a woman’s body.

  • What’s in A Name?
    In which we all agree that women are people and think about what a name really means.

  • That’s Not All She Wrote: Short Fiction
    Twenty Dollars…A story about money, and the people we appear to be.

  • Required Reading: Books You Need to Love
    A book about trying to get pregnant, the odd history of Wonder Woman, and other must reads.

 

Katastropic Thoughts the zine is a quarterly ad-free print-only publication and is currently funded, written, produced, printed and distributed all by yours truly. If you’d like more information, have ideas or questions or want to contribute in any way please send me an email!

 

Introducing The First Issue Of Katastrophic Thoughts The Zine!

“Katastrophic Thoughts” has taken many forms over the years : my high school and college newspaper opinion columns, and for the last two and a half years this blog.

But since so much of my life is spent online, I have longed to do something a little more hands on and smaller scale. So in July I started work on an analog version of Katastropic Thoughts.

This isn’t my first foray into making a zine, I had a four issue run of an alternative teen magazine in high school, read only by me. It was hand written and created mostly by cutting words and images out of my Seventeen YM magazines.

My new zine is slightly higher tech, but only slightly: It was created mostly with MS Word and a copy machine.

Katastrophic Thoughts the zine is slightly different than Katastrophic Thoughts the blog, or rather an amplified and expanded version of one part of the blog’s content. Yes, it is a feminist zine, but it by no means just for women.

P1030990

In other words, if you like what you read on this site, you’ll likely like the zine.

Take a look at the first issue’s table of contents below to get a better idea of what’s inside:

• Words to the wise…
Some thoughts on getting started

• World Changing Ways…
A cause that you should care about.

• Your New Feminist BFF…
This bad ass woman may have lived 150 years ago but you’ll still wish she your best friend.

• A Feminist By Any Other Name…
Consider it a PSA that’s long overdue

• Writing a New Chapter In The History Of Pink …
Forget #LikeAGirl, can’t we just let kids be people?

• That’s Not All She Wrote: Short Fiction…
Silver Lining, a story about the weather.

• Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History…
Remember that time a bunch of feminists had a sit in at the offices of Ladies Home Journal? You will now.

• Required Reading: Books You Need to Love…
Men Explain Things to Us, we raise our hands for funny women and more.

• Group Think: Crowdsourced wisdom…
I take to the Internet to get a smart take on dealing with Street Harassment

If you’d like a copy, send me an email at kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com

Katastropic Thoughts the zine is a quarterly ad-free print-only publication and is currently funded, written, produced, printed and distributed all by yours truly. If you’d like more information, have ideas or questions or want to contribute in any way please send me an email! P1040095

My first reader enjoying his advance copy!