Articles From Issue 6

The following are sample articles from Issue 6. Click here or contact to order the full zine in hard copy or PDF format.

Pop Goes the Zine (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Popular fairy tales have mostly the same elements – a stunning beauty cursed by an evil witch until a handsome prince comes to her rescue. Popular superheroines in comic books share many of the same features – flowing hair, high heels and gigantic breasts.
Sure, it’s great to have these incredibly toned women kick ass, but exaggerating their physical assets is quite generic, as a woman’s body is something that is heavily exploited in pop culture and media. And sure, Disney’s heroines have all affected us one way or another, but their passive nature, which causes them to fall under the spell of an evil witch or under the spell of Prince Charming, makes me wonder if girls don’t deserve a more powerful role model.
This is why we feminist indie zinesters look to the culture of DIY for expression and entertainment. There is nothing better than getting your hands on a demotape put out by a band that refuses to abide by the rules of popular record labels, and keeps its music as raw and honest as it was originally intended to be.
When you send an article to a popular newspaper, the editor will slice and dice it, butcher and shred it beyond recognition before publishing it. Your byline will still be on it, but the piece is clearly no longer yours. DIY zines will rarely edit anything, if only for size or grammatical purposes, and your article will keep the same explicit, bold message it was intended to convey. So DIY is a means one can use to avoid being sold out.
However, pop culture is still a part of our lives one way or another. Whether our parents read us popular children’s stories before bedtime, or if we watched popular movies or grew up with Sesame Street or the Muppets, or even if we played with Cabbage Patch dolls or G.I Joes, popular culture affected us no matter how indie-vegan-feminist-anarchist-pothead-hippy-punk we may be today.
This issue features various elements of pop culture in all its forms: art, films, poetry, music, dolls, plus a special interview with Alissa White-Gluz, the lead vocalist of Canadian Death Metal band, The Agonist.

Not Your Typical Mona Lisa - A Study of Frida Kahlo's Legacy (by Merav Fima)
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Life in Plastic (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Homage to Wonder Woman
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Ain't Got No Vagina - How Cunt Changed My Life Forever (book review by Yahm Reichart)
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Homage to Tank Girl
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Girls Will Be Grrrls - Pop Culture and Its Influence on Young Girls (by Nicole Walker)
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"OMIGOD, that MILEY CYRUS she is like... so UGLY she went all GOTH what a freak!!”
This is an acidic comment spewed from the mouth of my 10-year old neighbor, as we stood in my driveway discussing the music she liked as I tried to force, er, I mean give her, a CD of a local female-fronted band called “The Joys” ( She refused so I asked, “Well what kind of music DO you like? Do you like Miley Cyrus? Do you like Gwen Stefani?”
You see, I get all my pop-culture information, not from the TV, not from the radio, but from the few nine-year old girls I know. My best friend is 40 and I am 28. She has a daughter who is 10 and occasionally I will flip through her “pop” magazines all about boy-bands and girl pop-stars. I spend a lot of time with my 10-year old neighbor - she’s a good kid. And I am slowly but surely chiseling away at her pop-culture knowledge and inserting empowerment, compassion and feminism. Quite a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon, don’cha think?
Women in pop culture - in this article I am talking about major label musicians/actors. The Miley Cyruses, Jessica Simpsons, and anyone who graces the covers of the mainstream magazines. The gossip generators, fashion moguls, and TV-interviewees of the current time. The ones whose names are on the tip of every young girl’s tongue. The ones who schill fashion accessories and clothing at your local Wal-Mart. These women (although some are still in their teens, of course) affect the lives of girls in a myriad of ways - their opinions are weaved into the culture because their stories are published and broadcast into the lives of our girls daily. We live in a celebrity-obsessed society and these images and ideas are absorbed - but the question is: how does it affect us as women? What do these pop culture divas teach us?
I think you could divide the pop-culture women into two categories. The empowering, educating women who use their fame to enhance the lives of their fans, and the ‘fluff’ girls who only smile and nod and do what they’re told. It’s important that we take the time to help girls recognize and separate the ‘fluff’ from the ‘good stuff’.
So when my neighbor decided to spit her acidic opinion on me about Miley Cyrus - (which coincidentally is quite ironic, considering who she said it to - a pierced, angry, fashion misfit who only listens to said “goth” [heavy metal] music and dresses mostly in camo, black, and skulls!) I couldn’t help but question her judgmental attitude and caustic insults. I asked her questions such as: “Why do you judge her based solely on her image - when I was asking you about her MUSIC?” “Don’t you think she is entitled to dress/look however she wants, as long as her music is fun to listen to?” “Would you like it if you got a new hairstyle and someone judged you by it before even knowing you?”
To which, of course, as a 10-year-old faced with such ‘adult’ questions - she promptly wrinkled up her nose and looked at me, rolled her eyes back and sighed. Then she made an excuse and said she suddenly had to go home. Well, at least I tried! I planted one tiny seed in her brain to think about which side of the fence she’s going to place the women in pop culture. What characteristics does she look for in a pop culture idol? How does she feel about the women she reads about - can she separate the ‘fluff’ from the ‘good stuff’? And will she think twice before she chooses her next CD - or her next insult? I am optimistic my seed will grow.
Let’s hope next time I offer her a CD she’ll be more hopeful and adaptive to learning more about the women in the band than just what color their hair is or whether or not they are ‘goth’. As an update, I’ve given her a No Doubt mix CD and told her all about Gwen Stefani and how she’s a great role model because she’s extremely talented, driven and has founded her own businesses and is doing very well for herself. She agreed, yes, Gwen Stefani is worthy of respect. And off she ran, up to her room to listen to the CD on her own. We’ll work slowly towards the Ani Difrancos. Maybe when she turns 11. :)

Sisters (by Sara K. Eisen)
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Daughter of the Barricades (by Roy Runds)
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Sympathy for Cinderella's Step-Mom (by Leah Moses)
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Juno (by Leah Moses)
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Cunterrific (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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A vagina is truely a work of art. In fact, this is probably why a small underground group of people began creating art using the female genetalia as their main subject, and named it Cunt Art.
It was only during that Cunt Art exhibit in Tel Aviv that I actually found out there was such a movement called Cunt Art, which actually began in the 70s. Yes, it’s literally various depictions of vaginas in various mediums and different contexts.
The exhibit I went to was in this small intimate bar called Ashmoret, on Rotchild street, Tel Aviv.
The usual summer weather of Tel Aviv set the atmosphere quite well for a night of looking at vaginas - hot and moist.
Anyway, there were some beautiful painting and sculptures, photographs and slideshows of various collages depicting vaginas or naked women.
Along with that, they had live presentations, women talking about the history of Cunt Art and what it represents - power, beauty, depicting the vagina not for pornographic means but as something beautiful and strong that should be respected, celebrated, adored, etc. - and also some very moving poetry readings.
I also got a couple of booklets in Hebrew about it. One is a collection of interviews with women talking about their experiences with their body, their sexuality and their vagina (kind of like The Vagina Monologues).
The second is about body hair - an issue I personally struggle with, and wish I had the courage to ignore really.
There were clearly many women there, many lesbians, and a surprisingly high number of men, one of which was my cousin! I love seeing a nice turnout of men (especially straight men) at a feminist event. I think something like that can only happen in Tel Aviv because it’s much more open and liberal than Jerusalem, for example.
Jerusalem... well for one, Jerusalem would probably not have such an event to begin with. I would have LOVED to see a presentation of The Vagina Monologues or some feminist exhibit or anything related to the female body in the Holy City. But God forbid the orthodox community caught anyone depicting the impure part of the woman to be displayed in the public forum. This is immodest! It should be hidden because it is used for immodest purposes like intercourse and menstruation.
Immodest purposes, my ass. The only immodest thing about it would be if these closed-minded men were to look at these paintings, run home and jerk off, clearly not understanding that these paintings are not meant to be pornographic but represent something very important and crucial in our twisted society.
Vaginas, however, are still taboo. It is considered a dark place, moist, hairy, smelly, scary and sometimes even mysterious for those who haven’t yet managed to find the clitoris.
Of course, there are those (men) who see the vagina as the complete opposite of that. My cousin is one of those people and we’ve had a very long and interesting discussion about the event afterwards.
Another guy is my ex. When we were together, he all but worshiped my cunt. I won’t go into details, but it was unbelievable.
Back to the immodesty claim - what about the power of the vagina to bring life into this world? Would the orthodox community also consider that impure? These people have like 12, 13, 14 kids in their family, they clearly worship their wife’s vagina in one form or manner, because these men couldn’t begin to conceive (forgive the pun) the agonizing pain of childbirth.
Cunt Art deals with all issues pertaining to the female body in general and the cunt in particular. There were depictions of birth, rape, masturbation (which made up most of the paintings), and they were all different but significant in their own way.I tried researching the history of Cunt Art and found very random and very vague articles. So I’m happy that the organizers of this event managed to pull off this event and have a pretty big turnout as well, and have me among the crowd :-D

TaDa! (by Mindy Aber Barad)
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McWorld (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Your Opinion!
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As mentioned in the intro, an indie band can remain as raw and honest as it wants to be on its various demotapes and underground gigs. But if such a band signs with a popular record label, how will your opinion of that band change, if at all? If the band becomes popular, does it ultimately mean that the band sold out? Can a band ever stay true to their sound if they emerge from the underground and conquer the mainstream? Is it possible to be popular and still remain raw?
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Riot Grrrl Corner - Interview with The Agonist's Alissa White-Gluz (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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