August 20, 2014

Zine: Illuminati Girl Gang #4

Illuminati Girl Gang Vol. 4 illuminates all those teenage feelings. 

Founded by Gabby Bess, Illuminati Girl Gang is a girl-forward Internet institution, rounding out its repertoire with the recent release of Illuminati Girl Gang #4. This latest zine aims to showcase female perspectives in art and literature through short stories, essays and poems, with the most recent volume aptly titled “A Catalogue Of Internet Feelings.” Maybe I feel connected to this issue because of the name or maybe it’s because I’m a 20-something-year old girl and it’s all so relevant to my life, but either way, IGG is making me feel feelings. Even in just the way it starts off with a piece by Mary MacLane:

 I am not good. I am not virtuous. I am not sympathetic. I am not generous. I am merely and above all a creature of intense passionate feeling. I feel - everything. It is my genius. It burns me like fire. 

It made me think that maybe feeling is my genius too.

One section entitled "Loneliness & Other Poems" by Mira Gonzalez particularly stood out to me as well. Mira describes the inconsistent feelings of both wanting a connection and craving loneliness, but really just having feelings of being wanted. Her work brings attention to our basic human instinct of belonging. However much I may like being alone, curled up in bed on my computer, I still long for that connection of another human wanting to be with me.

I have planned my life around fetishizing loneliness

each day i allot myself 5 hours to quietly stare at a computer screen

trust me when i say that every hour will become shorter
until hours don’t exist anymore

i grow my hair and nails long in order to incrementally decrease
the physical distance between my mouth and your hand

There's also a really amazing piece by Alicia Eler called “Besties," a story of the emotional intensity that can come from female friendships, especially ones experienced in our teen years. She talks about the teen girl Tumblr aesthetic; it was incredibly interesting to think about how teen girls are publicly putting so much of their lives on the Internet. She relates this notion back to Gabby Bess and how she writes about what it’s like growing up on the Internet and realizing your body, gender and identity are in front of both friends and strangers. I think the most truth I found from this piece was when she warns the audience, “Don’t cross a teen girl. She is more powerful and fragile than you will ever be.” That may be the most perfect description of being a teen: the mix of being very emotional and constantly questioning yourself, yet at the same time feeling invincible. Those feelings are happening during such a strangely beautiful time and oftentimes, we don’t even realize it.

Honestly, every piece inside IGG is so full of emotion, it inevitably gets to you. It’s the girl talk you have with your best friends late at night, but in this perfect magazine. The subjects covered in this issue range from everything you might talk to your best friends about: friendship, lost love, reality TV, sexuality and longing. It’s got it all. So maybe one night you don’t have to have girl talk with your friends. Instead you can just stay in and read this and let all of your emotions well up inside of you in the privacy of your bedroom. That’s what I did.

Support your local girl gang! Order Illuminati Girl Gang Vol. 4 here.

Katie Walck is an art doer, cat lover and believer in aliens. She spends many hours online trying to find the center of the internet/universe. Result: Still looking. Follow her on twitter @katiewalck.