Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why Zines Are Important For Asexual Education and Visibility

While I realize that blogging and forums are the main sources of communication between asexuals right now, I feel that zines have a unique power and usefulness to asexuals which has been largely untapped.

Blogging has some advantages, certainly. Obtaining and writing a blog can be done without having to spend any money, especially if one uses public internet connections. Blogs are easy to direct people to and can reach a mass audience, with the right marketing and networking techniques.

However, blogs are not always the best way to convey information in face-to-face meetings. Here's a scenario: you come out as an asexual, and your acquaintance has questions about what asexuality is. You give a brief explanation. Not wanting to tire yourself out with the more complex questions which usually follow, you offer to email them a link to some blogs or other articles on the internet, or you write down the names of some blogs on a scrap of paper. This is all well and good, but there's no guarantee that this acquaintance will take the time to follow up and go read those blogs, or perhaps you'll forget to email them or be too busy to concern yourself at the time with that.

This is where a zine is useful. If you have a little booklet with information about asexuality already printed out, you can distribute this as freely as you want to. You can hand it out to passerby on the street, you can sell it at music festivals, you can share it with your friends so they'll get to know you better, you can take it with you to parties or always have a couple on hand to give out to new acquaintances.

Perhaps the greatest facet of zines is that they can be about absolutely anything, and they can be constructed however you wish. Zine writing can be academically rigorous or written in klingon if you want. Therefore, if you want your audience to learn about asexuality and how it relates to your own personal experiences, you can write about that. If you don't feel comfortable sharing your personal stories with strangers, you could also print out various materials from the internet that you think are relevant and make your zine from other people's writings (be nice and credit the authors, perhaps offer to mail them a copy!). If you still want to refer your readers to blogs, go ahead and put the URLs in the zine! There's nothing wrong with that. Anything goes!

Another great thing about zines is that it helps ground our communities in the real world. I so often feel that asexuality is an internet phenomenon, even with meetups most of the information that we share about ourselves with the world is online. What if at your next meet up you proposed to put a zine together sharing the stories of your local aces?

This is also a way to create a literary culture of asexuality, where one has never existed before! So maybe you don't write in a way that's publishable or the politics of mainstream publishing don't appeal to you. You can write and sell your story through zines at coffee shops, music shops, zine shops, through public libraries, anywhere in the world. Hell, put it on etsy! How widely your story is read all depends on how much effort you put into it. You can put your story out there, you can decide who read it. Who knows? Maybe it'll reach someone who needs to hear your story because it resembles their own. If people of other sexual orientations get to connect through personal stories, why shouldn't we do the same thing and boost our collective self-esteem?

If the cost of printing seems daunting to you, consider creating one page zines to cut down on the price. These zines are usually folded into 8 sides (therefore have 8 pages), and are rather small, but can be a rich source of information if utilized well.
Here is a great page with tutorials on folding. 

I recommend creating the template first, and then cutting and pasting your info onto the template, or handwriting onto the template if that's your style.

Do you make zines? What would your zine on asexuality touch on? Do you wanna do a zine trade with me?


  1. I'm glad you posted that page with the tutorial on folding, as I had downloaded the PDF of your zine and then realized that I had no idea how to put it together! I'll take a look at it later and try to figure it out... Mind letting me know which method you used? And are the sheets supposed to be printed double or single-sided?

    It might be a good idea to post a little tutorial with a link to the PDF file on here, too. I'd totally post it up on my blog as well! :D

  2. They're double sided, and fold in half (folio style, as in the tutorial). All in all there should be ten (double sided) pages.
    The .pdf is confusing as hell, kuddos to you for trying to use it. If you want I'll send you a copy of the zine through USPS, though! My email for the zine is

    I'll try to post up a tutorial on how to fold the zine from the .pdf soon (maybe tonight or tomorrow if possible).

  3. ...and I just got the email you sent earlier today *facepalm.* So I'll email you back asap!

  4. Heck yes. It's great to see zines on asexuality. I've been doing zines for the past 15 or so years, and am always happy to see more people doing zines.

  5. Hi! I am the archivist at the Center for Sex & Culture Library and Archives here in San Francisco. We have three zine initiatives under way and we would like to collect (or have donated to us since we are a non-profit) zines on asexuality or demisexulity. We have a growing number of people interested on the topic and feel that traditionally published (even alternatively published) resources do not meet the information needs of our patrons. Therefore, we are openly asking if you know of anyone who would like donate their asexuality titles to our Library/Archives. You can reach us via our Tumblr page at sexandculture dot org if you care. Kind regards, Tess