Announcing Issue 37: The Do It Yourself, Do It Together Revolution Issue
Illustration: Saul Freedman-Lawson
What does it mean to build the world we want?
In 2010, we re-wrote the mandate of Shameless—we shifted how we talked about the magazine: from “an alternative to typical teen magazines” to, “a feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth rooted in principles of social justice and anti-oppression.” This shift was a significant one—it made me feel like I was a part of not only dismantling a world, but also, building an entirely new one.
Shameless always has, and always will have a “DIY/DIT” spirit, but that phrase doesn’t encapsulate the truly imaginative and speculative nature of this work. Before there is any doing (in this case, assigning and editing stories, laying out the magazine, copy-editing, commissioning artwork, proofing, distributing, etc.), there is talking, thinking, and feeling. But before even that, there is dreaming: of the world we want to live in, of the role we want to play in that world, and the culture and conditions we want to create in order to facilitate that work.
I am grateful to work on this project alongside people who value the imaginative, intuitive, intellectual and relational aspects of the work just as much as the quality of the output or our capacity to meet a deadline. It means that as we produce a magazine, we build friendships, we cultivate care for one another, and we create the conditions necessary for collective dreaming.
I often get asked how to start a project like Shameless, and I often get asked how to keep it going. It isn’t easy to articulate, but, in the spirit of this DIY/DIT issue, I’ve assembled a short how-to, below:
How to make a magazine that makes a difference
Write a mandate. Make it open enough to include spaces for self-reflection and growth. As important as it is to declare political values (like, “feminist,” “anti-racist,” or “decolonial”), think about what the values mean in practice.
Throw out your expertise. The best part of making a magazine is getting to learn from amazing editors, writers, and artists that hold perspectives and understandings that you may lack. Understand that as an editor, your role isn’t to be an expert, but to create the conditions and cultures of support necessary for other people’s lived experience to shine through. Get to know the body you inhabit, and the privileges and perspectives that come along with it. Aim to fill in the blanks.
Hire the best team of people. When we hire at Shameless, we look for a combination of amazing politics, community-centred values, publishing know-how, and fuzzy feels. It’s two parts rational and one part intuitive, and a formula that’s brought literally the best people into my life.
Create a process. Design a workflow that allows everyone’s best skills to shine. Use all the online and off-line tools to help you (Google Docs, Post-It Notes, etc.) and check in with each other regularly to make sure things stay on-track.
Prioritize people over production. Even with the best processes, life happens—there will be broken hearts, broken arms and all the things that come from being a human, and working along- side humans navigating the real world. It’s really important to stay accountable to a process and a schedule, but not ever at the expense of people’s mental or physical health and well-being. Think of how to build in contingencies, and be compassionate and flexible when they fail.
Stick around for joy. Political work can be difficult and intense, especially for those of us facing multiple oppressions, but you can start living the revolution now by creating opportunities for levity and love. Each Shameless meeting is well-equipped with tons of snacks and even more lolz. It makes a difference, and allows us to feel a sense of abundance, even in times of scarcity.
Be accountable. The most amazing thing about publishing a maga- zine is that is it iterative—there is space to do the best you can, get it wrong, grow, and do better the next time . Remember this when you get called in, or, called out. Every bit of feedback is a gift, and an opportunity to do better next time.
What world will you dream?
In this issue of Shameless, we present a number of how-tos: from the big (how to decolonize, p. 18), to the small (how to be vulnerable, p. 12), and the connections between (understanding the power of daily resistance p. 28). We outline ways to nourish (how to throw a great potluck, p. 38.), express yourself (how to give yourself a stick-and- poke tattoo, p. 40), and change your landscape (how to wheat-paste a poster, p. 33), and, we challenge you to dream of the world you want to live in, and the ways you want create the world, with others. We hope that it’s helpful, and wait, excitedly, to see what you’ll do next.
Thank you for reading.