Making a Zine: Female/Queer Rebellion in Revolutionary Mexico

zine: a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier.

As many of you may know, your final year at a school, whether elementary or high school, can often be accompanied by a large, year long final project. If you are a Gender Studies student at UVic the case is no different.

Before you complete your Gender Studies degree you will take a Research Seminar course which walks you through the process of a research project from ethics forms to interviews and decolonizing your work as best you can.

You will choose something you are interested in and work on it the whole year and turn in your final project at the very end. Here is where I took a pause; the typical format for this project is your traditional research paper and should be 25-35 pages (*gulp*).

But luckily for this essay-phobic student, you can get creative! Find a format that still shows all your hard work and research and you can present it with a much shorter paper and still be proud of all the time and effort you have put in, plus you can do art which is always fun! At least for me!

For my project I decided to make a zine about the Soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution. The Mexican Revolution took place in Mexico from around 1910-1920 and was a revolution in the powers that oversaw the country and was really an uprising of the people.

Soldaderas were the female soldiers of the Revolution. The majority of them supported male family members as scouts, nurses, cooks, caretakers, and all while carrying their babies with them! But here is where it gets even better — some of the women would dress as men in order to become soldiers and some even went on to be generals and formed all female troops! Think the Mulans of Mexico if you will.

There was even one soldier that we know of named Amelio who was the first documented transgender (FTM) person in Mexico and took the Revolution as an opportunity to be recognized as their masculine self. It doesn’t get much more badass than that.

As defined above, a zine is like a mini magazine typically made by hand in a collage style and can be about literally anything! What better format to tell the story of rebellious historical figures than with a rebellious form of art and information sharing?

I created my zine with mostly art I did by hand and some found materials from twine to clippings and even cut up some old Spanish textbooks to create my project.

It is quite the labor of love that I am still completing as I write this but I know this will be something I can hold in my hands and give to friends and family and be proud of. A representation of my education and a reminder of the different ways we all have power within ourselves.

Have you ever made a zine? Maybe now is the time to try!



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