Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Brisvegas

This is a review I finished today - of Spinster zine, sent to me by Darlene. I might try and get this published in Vibewire, too...

50 Things About Spinster Zine

Men are from Mars, Women are from Brisvegas

1. Spinster zine is produced by Brisvegans Darlene Taylor and Carmen Seaby.

2. The zine has an ancient and venerable history, going right back to late 2004!

3. Currently, a grand total of ONE Spinster zine has been published!

4. The magazine contains no mention of rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, elephants, woolly mammoths, or other pachyderms.

5. Though it does have a kitsch 1950s photograph on the cover.

6. It also contains several well-written articles, mostly dealing with feminist issues.

7. Quote: ‘The “guilt”, “pain” and sanctimonious and oversimplified thinking guiding these correspondents might be familiar to many people raised in earlier times. Advice from the sickly-sweet counsellors such as “another good boundary is not to lie down together on the floor, couch, bed – anywhere” possibly also rings a bell, and reminds of a lack of ring-a-ding-ding.’(On an article about purity pledges, by Darlene)

8. Clearly, this ain’t a zine to share with your moma.

9. Unless your mama is a very cool liberation feminist and/or you want to shock her very badly.

10. You do not receive any free dildos and/or condoms with the zine.

11. Though perhaps if you did, the relatively low (and possibly non-existent) subscription rate could be boosted.

12. But we’re getting off track here.

Let’s Disagree to Agree

13. Spinster is a zine you can agree with -

14. Quote: ‘… the political leanings of newspaper publishers and managers colour reporting on sex differences. While conservative newspapers tend to use biology to explain those
differences, more liberal newspapers explaining them in terms of socio-cultural effects.’
(Sheila Gibbons, ‘Science Reporting Skews Sex Differences’).

15. Or: ‘…. I found it so strange in a book so concerned with women’s access to career paths and financial independence that NOT ONCE does she suggest that maybe men should take more responsibility for childcare’ (From Carmen Seaby’s review of The End of Equality, by Anne Summers)

16. Spinster is also a zine you can argue with:

17. Quote: ‘I could be married to a multi-millionaire, be a stay-at-home Mum and get the full payment… I don’t think there is a more blatant example of the patriarchal class system at work. It makes me so mad to know that low income-earners and women are so disadvantaged by the tax system. Is there a more blatant example of structural oppression?’(From the Anne Summers review, again)

18. ‘Is there a more blatant example of structural oppression?’ Yes. Easily - since the only alternative would be to grade the payments in relation to the amount of money earned by either member of the family, which would inevitably discriminate against people who attempt to move up through the different income brackets.

19. Spinster does not contain any examples of full-blown rantiferous communist propaganda;

20. (Although I was secretly half-hoping that it did. I love rantiferous communist propaganda,

21. and although it does contain at least one gratuituous joke about John Howard wanting to put women ‘back in the kitchen’. Ha ha, I’ve heard that one about a kazillion times…)

Bridget Jones’s Knickers

22. But then, you don’t just read a zine to get your own political prejudices confirmed. The best sort of zine will confirm other people’s political prejudices as well!

23. Which is the good thing about Spinster. It’s not an exclusively pro-feminism, capitalism, communism, consumerism, or any other type of ism –

24. (even if it did have a silly John Howard joke in it.)

25. It is open to submissions by both women and men;

26. It accepts that feminism isn’t the end to all the worlds troubles: ‘I have never considered myself a Radical Feminist, because believing the main form of oppression is based on gender ignores the way class, racism and many other types of oppression and discrimination impact on people’s lives.’

27. Plus, in the wise words of Darlene: ‘It’s easier to accept a thirty-two year old “singleton” would find herself getting asked tactless questions about her love-life, as well as debating whether to wear little knickers or big figure flattening ones, than it is to believe John Howard can do much about interest rates.

28. Hear, hear, Darlene. Why let John Howard get between a woman and her knickers?

29. (Er – forget I said that.)

No Traces of Nuts

30. Spinster zine does not contain any traces of nuts.

31. But it does contain several magazine reviews – of feminism magazines that you might actually want to read.

32. Bitch magazine, for instance.

33. Or Bust.

34. And it also has the following excellent articles:

35. Geek Grrrls Spreadin’ The News

36. Science Reporting Skews Sex Differences

37. Reviews of The Bride Stripped Bare and A Room Of One’s Own.

38. A history of feminism (A Long and Winding Road)

39. And When Loving Was Wrong? The Crime of Mary Kay Letorneau.

40. Quote (from the last article mentioned): ‘Women gain little by being viewed as inherently good and always acting for noble reasons like love.’

41. Exactly.

42. Spinster is, in short, a thoroughly enjoyable zine.

Dr. Tim Recommends…

43. Some recommended ways to read Spinster:

44. Skolling a bottle of vodka with one hand and clutching the zine in the other while wildly shagging your girlfriend and/or boyfriend and/or both;

45. (Who, of course, will also have both a bottle of vodka and Spinster zine in their hands)

46. Snorting coke off the very ample tits of Eccentrica Galumbitis, the Triple-Breasted-Whore of Eroticon 5 while a gigantic cockroach dangles the zine in your face;

47. As an excellent way of avoiding your share of the housework – ‘Have you taken the rubbish out yet?’ ‘Quiet! I’m deeply involved in this sassy postmodern take on the place of feminism in our neo-liberal society!’;

48. Or as an excellent way of passing your time between that moment when the comet strikes the earth and the antichrist rises to wreak havoc and destruction upon us all.

49. You can secure a copy ofSpinster by using the email address

50. Thankyou.


Darlene Taylor said...

You rock, TimT. Thanks. Interesting observations.

Darlene Taylor said...

By the way, the Howard thing wasn't my idea.

It was Carmen's, who I love, but who seems to think I am a bit right-wing.

TimT said...

Yeah, I saw it in Ugly Duckling. Which I also liked.

Did Carmen do all the reviews? She had some really good observations about Anne Summers and Virginia Woolf.

Anonymous said...

No! NO, Tim T! Get it right! Women are from BRISVEGAS.



Well, I'm right anyway. Why? Just because I am a spinster.

Spinster. What a neglected word! Conjuring images of crazy cat ladies, or of younger girls described by your mother as an individual with a "lovely personality."

But then again, for all you know, I might be a plump and balding man in Ohio.

TimT said...

Everyone is welcome on this thread, including crazy cat ladies and balding old gentlemen from Ohio!

For the benefit of all visitors not in the know, Brisvegas=Brisbane (capital of Queensland)

Michelle said...

Thanks Tim, I hadn't heard Spinster. I should try and get me a copy. And thanks for raising some discussion on the lip blog - we've now linked you too.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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