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"Fake it till you make it". An email interview with Karolina Bång from Malmö, Sweden

Grassroots media in Europe
Queer feminism
Sex and sexualities
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"I work a lot with reclaiming sexuality - and the right to express sexual things - from the sexists"

- Karolina Bång , Swedish comic maker

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m 25, from Karlskrona in Sweden, now living in Malmö. I do comics and countrymusic and punk and choir-singing and heavy physical work.

Can you tell us about your zines?

I do comics-only-zines with comics that cover different genres like autobiography, political documentaries and sex&filth (mostly in the shape of cowgirls). After I have enough comics I then copy it in my old school, translate it into English with help from my British friend, and sell it in different shops and distros in different countries like, Sweden, England, Mexico, Germany, Spain, and USA.

What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the idea and the name?

All my zines have been compilations of my collected comics and don’t have the same names. Instead I’ve done trilogies like Pretto, Ghetto and Fetto, which are different slang-words in Swedish. But the Cowgirls-zines do have the same name but are made in different issues. The Cowgirl-zines are my latest and favourite zine-project since it’s one complete story with extra-material as cut scenes etc. They are zines til I’ve made enough for an album.

What do you hope to accomplish through DIY projects?

To reach abroad and to as many people as possible. To make others wanting to do something similar and to be entertained and engaged in what they are reading.

What do you love about zines? Are there any aspects you find challenging or limiting in the zine community

I’m definitely mostly into comic zines which seems to be a whole different thing from other zines. Reading non-comic-zines makes me often restless because they have so much text. Literature does the same to my comic-damaged brain, but when zines are richly illustrated and designed in a conscious way I can easily love them. My favourite zine that is not a comic-zine is a colouring-book.

Do you consider feminist zines as part of a social movement? Do you think feminist zines can effect meaningful social and political change at large - or do they have significance mainly in individual lives?

I think one thing doesn’t count the other one out. Like if you affect a personal individual, you will also effect political and social change in large. I think feminist zines have done loads for the feminist and queer movement, and still are.

Do you see yourself as part of “DIY” or “Third Wave Feminism” and if yes, what does it mean to you? Or, why not?

Yes I do see myself as a part of it all and it means a lot more to me than I usually think about. I think I would have been a part of that scene without even making anything DIY myself, but by making things, I seeing more sides of it. It makes the world seems bigger and smaller at the same time since I’ve met people in the same scene all over the world who do the same thing or who know the same people and it fills me up with a warm feeling that I use when I deal with other, not so pleasant things and people (for example in the comic-business. When I meet that side of the branch I can feel that I've got a whole movement backing me up that makes whatever they say less important).

What are the most pressing issues for you in daily life?

Queer and feminist issues. Right now I’m really into alternative relationships-issues and norms around relationships. I also work a lot with reclaiming sexuality, and the right to express sexual things, from the sexists.

What would a woman-friendly society look like in your view? How do you think society might be re-thought and transformed to be a safer, better place for women, grrrls, transgender and queer folks?

In Sweden women-seperatistic groups and events have been a big and important way of working feministic since a lot of the feminism comes from radical and anarchistic views. This is about to change a lot since the last years when queer issues have grown bigger and transgender and intergender-people have been taking their space in the seperatistic movement. It’s all very exciting how it all develops and I’m looking forward to see how it all will change and become. I don’t yet think the seperatistic-trans-inclusive issues are ready to throw away and have often missed those spaces when I’ve gone abroad. The utopia is of course that gender wouldn’t matter but in most occassions I don’t think the world is ready to pretend that completely yet. But on the other hand sometimes I think that’s just the way to do it. Fake it til we make it. Just as long as you don’t ever forget the women movement as it has been and what it has accomplished; that you have to have respect for other times and eras and what they struggled with back then and look at it in a context. I hope the feminist and queer direct action won’t stop just because we’ve come a bit on the way.

What are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you would like to share them?

Right now I’m working on 2 comic albums (maybe you say graphic novels even if it’s not one long story?) and really really want to release them abroad too. I also want to play more with my country band Howdie Ho and my punk band Royal Cunt and make other forms of performances like a sex show and a cowgirl show and mix different artforms and learn how to make animations, play the harmonica and the banjo and how to fix bikes and travel around the world and meet more people and to have a political theatre group. Among other things..

Karolina Bång, comic maker
Red Chidgey & Elke Zobl
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