I finally made it to Junky Comics on Sunday last weekend! I'd been planning on going for months, since before it even opened. Things, life, etc, managed to get in the way, as they always do. First, of course, my partner and I went to Blackstar Coffee to grab a cold pressed coffee (yum!), then I went and entered the store.
It's filled with a huge variety of comics - sure there's not the sheer volume of comics as at Comics Etc, but there are a lot more quirky, hard to find, political, LGBTIQAP+, feminist, etc ones. They also have a section for zines! Local (and not so local) artists and writers are able to bring in some zines/comics that they have made and sell them in the store (the owner takes a commission of course).
I subscribed about two years ago to the One Woman Project, with every intention of going to their meetings about feminism, gender, sexuality, human rights, etc. But then I was working so much and I was dealing with a chronic illness so it all just fell to the side. Luckily, there's a Feminist Fortnight coming up soon, a fortnight of workshops, Q&As and documentary screenings put together by the UQU Women's Collective and One Woman Project.
To find a full schedule of events, head here.
I'll be attending some of these events with a pen and paper, and writing up what happens, what we discuss and what interesting/new ideas I've gotten from the experience. I'm really excited that I can go to these and I hope to see some of you there!
For many people, gender and sexual identities may not seem important or worth talking about; these people have most likely always known 'what' they are. For me, I have struggled with not fitting into boxes from a young age. While Australia is pretty open about the idea of 'gender equality', there are many who enforce strict binary gender roles.
Our PM is one of them:
In Australia, we tend to be all about the 'blokey bloke' men who are 'mates' and drink beer, eat meat, watch sports, etc. Women are housewives still, destined to have children, do most of the cleaning and childcare, and dress 'nicely'. I'm not saying that these roles are all that exist (nor that they are bad), but I have grown up having them enforced in one way or another my whole life, be it through media representations, family comments, or comments by complete strangers.
When I was much younger, in primary school, I enjoyed running about, playing in the dirt, getting into scraps and more. If I had been AMAB (Assigned Male At Birth) this would have been seen as 'normal' and 'healthy'. Because I was AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth), I was labelled a 'tomboy' - a girl who acted like a boy. This label is based on rigid ideas about how boys and girls are meant to behave and what they are meant to like.
I recently joined the Aussie Readers group on Goodreads. They have a challenge for 2015; read 12 different books in different genres in 2015 (Aussie Author Challenge 2015). It's been a struggle but I've finally picked 12 (most of which I already own thankfully!). I will update this blog post with my reviews as I finish the books :).
1. Non-Fiction: Crime & Punishment: Offenders and Victims in a Broken Justice System
2. Short Stories: Peripheral Vision
3. Autobiography: Am I Black Enough For You?
4. History: Forgotten War
5. Science Fiction: The Swan Book
6. True Crime:
Content warning: this piece contains talk of menstruation, sexism, and also contains photos of my abdomen after surgery.
by Keira Edwards-Huolohan
Thirteen years. I waited thirteen years before I was diagnosed with endometriosis. When I was twelve, I had terrible period pain; I would have to call my mum from the school office and ask to be picked up, then spend the day in bed loaded up with painkillers, trying to sleep through the pain. I would dread my period each time it was coming, thinking about the pain that I would be in. I had to take time off work and uni whenever it came. The pain became a part of my normal life. Doctors and everyone around me said that period pain was normal. Doctors dismissed it as a 'normal women's problem', probably assuming that I was just 'weak' and complaining and 'hormonal'. So I never really questioned it after that. At age twenty-two I started being in pain during sex; I avoided sex for 3 months due to fear. That's when I realised I should maybe ask a doctor about it. A year later, I went under the knife and I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I finally understood why I had been in pain for all those years. Unfortunately, my story is not uncommon.
There are heaps of great comics out there with women or a woman as the main character. I can only really speak about the ones that I myself have read, which is why maybe one of your favourites isn't here. Feel free to tell me about your favourite in the comments though!
#1 Bitch Planet
#2 Rat Queens
#3 Honour Among Punks
[2015 EDIT: This group was disbanded]
Blair and Jess were inspired by the documentary The Punk Singer to create a feminist zine in Brisbane. The facebook event went up on December 3, so it was pretty short notice and yet it has gotten a lot more interest than they were expecting. There are currently over 50 members in the facebook group.
Today 18 people showed up to talk while eating vegan finger food. We talked about why we are interested, the direction that the zine and the group are heading and shared different perspectives on the problems that we see in Brisbane.
One of these people showed up after being harassed and stalked by a man for two days and feeling unsafe when he followed them on public transport. If that doesn't show why this zine is important I don't know what does. I almost cried when they showed up because I was just so sad that someone was made to feel so unsafe and scared in Brisbane. All of us need to work together to make Brisbane as safe as possible for everyone.
Blair made a point to say that this zine and the group will be inclusive of all types of feminism and of all types of people. There are things that will not be tolerated however, such as racism, ableism, transphobia, body shaming and all those other nasty attitudes. It is expected that everyone will treat one another with respect and kindness.
Why I am involved
I was personally excited about this zine because I have dealt with a lot of bad times due to things like sexism, misogyny, rape culture and patriarchal attitudes. I will be talking more about my personal experience in the upcoming zine. A lot of these are things that I see being reinforced by the media and by some of the people I know. I think that an independent zine is a fantastic way of challenging these attitudes and giving a voice to the people who are not being heard or listened to or talked over.
The zine itself
At the meeting today it was decided that the zine would be published every two months (maybe more often in the future). The first zine will cover such things as “what is feminism?” “why is feminism needed in Brisbane?” “what are some things we'd like to see change in Brisbane?” “why am I a feminist?” and “why am I involved in this zine?”. Each zine will have a theme, with about ¾ of that zine dedicated to the theme, allowing room for submissions that don't fit into it but are still needed. Each submission can be anonymous if people want.
So far there are some ideas that are still being discussed in the group, such as the themes for future issues, the name of it (there's a tentative lean towards “Feminist Fury”), how many copies to make, if we should put a price on the physical copies, a launch party, fundraising, places to disperse it/sell it and more. There will be a memorial page or two in the zine for Eunji Ban who was murdered recently.
If you're interested in submitting to the zine, please go to the facebook group to learn more about the submission guidelines. If you want to make an anonymous submission you are more than welcome to, by contacting Blair or Jess through the officlal tumblr (there isn't one yet but there will be soon - I'll add the link).
A great inspirational day
I had a brilliant day. I felt like I was understood and appreciated in this circle of people. I felt like I was safe and I felt inspired to make change happen. I really recommend that if feminism appeals to you, you come along to the next meeting or at least join the facebook group. Everyone was lovely and the atmosphere was relaxed and yet also energetic and filled with possibilities.
This blog contains posts about my personal life, as well as feminism, gender, comics, eco-friendly products and other things I find interesting. My fiction/poetry works can be found here. All posts are written by Keira Edwards-Huolohan and belong to me. Please credit me if you share them. My pronouns are they/them.
© Keira Edwards-Huolohan 2013 - 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keira Edwards-Huolohan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.