March 10, 2013

Zine: Doll House #1 & #2

 An inside look at Doll House, the feminist, punk, super awesome zine.

So I'm relatively new to the "zine scene" and was both intrigued and sort of nervous to read my first one - I asked Devon Bailey, the creator of Doll House to send me a copy, and after reading through the first and second issues, I was incredibly relieved. While Doll House is a feminist zine, it focuses more on equality amongst genders, something I now know is called Third Wave Feminism - it celebrates sexuality as a whole, in an effort to not alienate one specific group (that includes boys!) And what a relief it is to feel like someone holds similar views of loving the idea of women being powerful, but also being in tandem with men, transsexuals, parents, bakers, the lot of it.

Doll House started as a makeshift response to an essay, which attempted to fire back at the blatant sexism found in a university newspaper. Devon, infuriated with the naivety spewing from articles addressing issues like "How to Please Your Man," wanted to get people to open their eyes to the media's unabashed sexism, and try to break it down for the gross lies that they are. Next came the name, which has roots in a number of influences; "Doll" from Natasha Walters' Living Dolls, and "House," which refers to the notion of women only belonging in the domestic sphere. Doll House celebrates being a woman, but more than anything, is a healthy dose of logic and intuiting societal pressures as they occur around us.

Issue #1 provides thought-provoking mini-essays on Halloween costumes, opinions on body hair and perhaps most horrifying, an actual list published in a student newspaper on "How to Keep the Romance Alive." The Halloween discussion involves comparing pictures of the same costumes but the male and female versions; the male banana looks like a comedy routine, but the female version is strategically missing half an outfit, with legs and cleavage for days. I found this especially interesting because when it comes to Halloween, I'm the self-dubbed anti-slut. Devon questions why should female Halloween costumes be reminiscent of lingerie, when the male costumes appear relatively normal (for a banana). As for the romance list, it breaks down how a woman can keep up the spiciness in a relationship through having good breath, being on top during sex and giving blow jobs, among other things. And what the man can do? Buy his girlfriend shoes and chocolate. Does that even need an explanation of why it's so outrageous?

Issue #2 follows the same lines of issue one, but you can feel Devon getting a firmer handle on her motives and it's fantastic. She amps up the female celebration and presents art contributions and profiles of female artists as well as a feature on a humanitarian project. But perhaps most interesting was the discussion of a bestselling "novel" entitled, What Every Man Thinks About Apart from Sex. It's a lively, eye-opening book, filled with....yes, you guessed it, blank pages. And it's a best seller! It's not only an affront to women about where we fit into the thoughts and desires of the opposite sex, but it's also incredibly offensive to men who actually have brains (which I'm guessing is most). Doll House's second issue maintains a balance of defending women and men, reinforcing the notion (and importance) of Third Wave Feminism and equality. And it rocks.

Find Doll House on Facebook and request a copy of your own!

Written by Molly Morris