Exhibit: "Word of a Woman: 40 Years of Feminist Publishing"

 

"Word of a Woman: 40 Years of Feminist Publishing" was on display in the exhibit cases outside the Rare Book Room in Duke University's Perkins Library through October, 2005. 

Overview

Culled from a diverse collection of books, feminist periodicals, zines, artist's books, pamphlets, and even mainstream publications from the Sallie Bingham Center's holdings on the women's movement from the 1960s to the present, the exhibit demonstrated the importance of self-publishing and publishing outside-the-mainstream to the development of the feminist community, culture, and activism.

In keeping with the symposium's theme of intergenerational and transgenerational feminisms, the exhibit paid special attention to generational parallels in feminist publishing and the evolution of publishing technologies and formats over the years.

 

Themes (with a sampling of pieces included)

Manifestos

  • S.C.U.M. Manifesto, by Valerie Solanas, 1973.
    S.C.U.M. Manifesto, reprinted by Lizzard Amazon, Riot Grrrlz Outerspace, 1993. From the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection. Valerie Solanas' Society for Cutting Up Men (S.C.U.M.) Manifesto is the most famous of the late 1960's radical feminist manifestos. Third wave feminists republished this and other seminal second wave manifestos in order to spread the message to a new generation of women.
  • What is Riot Grrrl?" by Riot Grrrl D.C., n.d. From the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection. The riot grrrl movement grew out of the punk scenes of Seattle and Washington, D.C. in the early 1990's and spread throughout the U.S. and abroad. This manifesto, while calling for "Revolution Girl Style Now," reflects the fact that the riot grrrls often had to defend their right to exist within their own culture.

Feminism and Art

  • Women and Art, Winter 1971. From the Women's and LGBT Rights Periodicals Collection. Feminist art journals reclaimed and re-imagined the definitions of "artists" and "art" by declaring art to be a reflection of and a tool for feminist social change. This particular issue includes a front page article by Pat Mainardi, author of the classic movement text "The Politics of Housework" (1970).
  • Crackers & Honey, by Karissa Cove, October 2000. Each issue of Crackers & Honey blurs the lines between an artist's book and a zine. Cove creates both a forum for discussing art and an art object in itself.

Feminism and Literature

  • No Known Pattern: Twelve Poems by The American Voice. The Kentucky Foundation for Women, Inc., 1989. From the Kentucky Foundation for Women Records. Many feminist poets, including Peggy Steele, Denise Levertov, and Gwen Head, contributed to this chapbook, which was produced with support from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
  • Butterfly, by Hilary and Faith. Summer 1995. From the Sarah Wood Zine Collection. "A Publication of Women Artists". This zine contains original fiction and poetry along with information about AIDS and STDs.

Feminism and the Mainstream Media

  • Letter from new editor-in-chief Robin Morgan to Ms. subscribers, July 1990. From the Alix Kates Shulman Papers. This letter announced Ms.'s trailblazing decision to become advertising-free following years of struggle with advertising agencies over their editorial content.
  • Sassy, June 1992. From the Paula Kamen Papers.
    Bulldozer, issue #1, n.d. From the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection. When Sassy, once celebrated for its feminist, often controversial articles, changed its editorial direction in 1994 and began to imitate "lighter" teen magazines such as Seventeen, many faithful readers, such as Bulldozer's Rebecca, published outraged articles in their zines.

Feminist Publishers

  • Catalog of The Feminist Press, 1976. With a current, critically-acclaimed catalog of 250 titles by both rediscovered and new female voices, the press is now celebrating its 35th year.
  • Action Girl Guide, 1993. From the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection. Sarah Dyer's Action Girl Guide was the first effort to document the enormous outpouring of women's and girls' zines in the 1990s.

Grrrl/Girl Culture

  • Jenny's Secret Place by Sara Evans Boyte, 1970. This children's book was the first title published by Lollipop Power, Inc., which was formed in the late 1960s by members of a Carrboro/Chapel Hill/Durham area feminist consciousness-raising group.
  • Dream/Girl, c. Winter 1999. From a private collection. A magazine dedicated to nurturing the creative expression of girls, Dream/Girl, founded by Durham resident Frances O'Roark Dowell, published articles, poetry, stories, and artwork submitted by its young readers.

Feminists Online

  • http://www.redstockings.org/. The online home of the Redstockings, one of the most influential women's liberation organizations of the late 1960s-early 1970s.
  • www.bamboogirl.com. The online home of one of the best-known zines. "Challenging racism, sexism, & homophobia from the Filipina/Asian Pacific Islander (API)/Asian mutt feminist point of view since 1995."