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Zine queens: how women’s magazines found new life via indie publishing

Promoting diversity and representing women on their own terms, female-led, DIY zines are on the rise in the UK. Here, the industry’s rising stars reveal how they’re reshaping the genre on their own terms

The British media has a diversity problem. Research at City University last year found the industry to be 94% white, 86% university-educated and 55% male, with women largely relegated to junior positions. But there is one area of the media where the future is looking decidedly female: independent magazine publishing.

If modern feminism is multifaceted by nature, there now seems to be an independently published magazine or zine for every one of those faces. There’s Sabat, which explores modern witchcraft through a feminist lens; Typical Girls, which sets out to show there’s no such thing; the women-only zine Girls Club; female general interest mag Lyra, and Private-Eye-meets-Vogue satirical glossy Mushpit. Elsewhere, Riposte, “the smart magazine for women”; Burnt Roti, which showcases the talent of south-Asian women; gal-dem, the print version of the popular website for women of colour of the same name; and feminist indie mags Ladybeard and Fruitlands are amplifying women’s voices, championing female writing and challenging ideas about what a women’s magazine can be.

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