The Last Homework Assignment, a zine; HOW TO BE A BADASS: A Rebel Grrrls Field Guide to Self-Reliance

[ed note] I copy and pasted this from the word document that I used to create the physical zine. Today as I was in the blog post's editing mode I noticed some kooky formatting that automagically rearranged some content and changed words into nonsense. It seems that a browser extension I've been trying, Grammerly, "fixes" things on it's own.  I hope I have corrected all of it's magical "corrections" and gotten this post back to a place where the order of the words make some sense.


A Rebel Grrrl's
Field Guide
To Self-reliance


Dear Readers;
This zine, HOW TO BE A BAD ASS: A Rebel Grrrls Field Guide To Self-Reliance, was conceived of and written as a final project for the undergraduate Art of Moving Image class, Punk Rock Cinema, at Duke University. I took the class for fun during my final semester of graduate school while completing the Experimental & Documentary Arts, Master of Fine Art program. It is, in brief, a light homework assignment with objectives and expected outcomes which you will probably feel as you read through. I took this class purely and most simply because I am culturally punk rock and I wanted to see what would be presented in the class. I wondered if we would be made accomplices in academicizing punk music and culture, I wondered who had already contributed to the discourse of the punkademics, and I was really curious to learn what made filmmakers or their films punk. Am I a punk filmmaker? (Apparently so, and I’m cool with that.)

In the context of the class we considered many films I hold dear and some stuff I’d only learned of through this coursework, including:
The Yes Men Fix The World (2009)
The Filth and the Fury – Julien Temple (2000)
Punk Rock Home Movie – Greta Snider (1989)
The Decline of Western Civilization – Penelope Spheeris (1981)
Instrument – Jem Cohen (1999)
Zéro de Conduite – Jean Vigo (1933)

Another State of Mind - Adam Small, Peter Stuart (1984)
My Beautiful Laundrette – Stephen Frears (1986)
Removed – Naomi Uman (1999)

Spectres of the Spectrum – Craig Baldwin (1999)
Who Is Bozo Texino – Bill Daniel (2005)
New Wave Theater – Peter Ivers, David Jove (1980-3)
Living Inside (et al.) - Sadie Benning (1989)

The Punk Singer – Sini Anderson (2013)
The Target Shoots First – Chris Wilcha (2000)
The Other F Word – Andrea Nevins (2011)

In a punkier than thou kind of way, I will say that I have seen most of these film as they were released, with a few exceptions of films that were presented as examples of filmmakers who embody some sort of punk cultural ideals, present cultural conflicts related to punk, and or were political sparks that may have ignited punk’s fire.

Readings for this class came out of The Subcultures Reader, edited by Ken Gelder, from which we read early attempts at placing punk culture on some kind of sociological spectrum, peeling back the layers of what makes punk, punk; other readings came out of, Lipstick Traces, by Griel Marcus, peppered together with essays by Mimi Thi Nguyen including, Riot Grrrl, Race, and Revival (2012), and It’s (Not) a White World: Looking for Race in Punk (1998), I read Minor Threats (2015) as well, just because. For funtimes I read Sarah Jaffe’s essay, Difficult Fun (2015), and Maria Elena Buszek’s, Punkademia (2015).

I’m on the fence about talking about punk culture in this particular context, I love that we’re enculturating new kids to the big picture of punk, but I am uncomfortable with placing punk in an academic setting.


In this issue:

In my consideration of making a zine, I thought initially it would be a piece of cake. I had an audience of exactly 15 classmates, the TA, and the professor. I knew damn well that most of my classmates would not read the zine, and the couple who would read it were likely to be young women, so I collected my thoughts and ideas specifically addressing young ladies.

This document is not intended to be an all-inclusive process document for being radically self-reliant, but a light scratch at the surface of introducing Do It Yourself cultural practices as they pertain to y’all in the world today. When I did an Internet search for “DIY” the results looked like a Pinterest board of highly stylized craft projects using all new materials. While constructing kits is DIY, I’m more into the idea of making useful stuff out of other stuff you aren’t using for it’s intended purpose anymore, stuff you have lying around your home. I also address fixing and preserving your stuff rather than discarding it and buying second-hand clothes rather than new stuff as a way to have direct participation in knowing where your money goes in the scheme of corporate conglomerations.

In issue #1 I introduce you to Ask Your Aunty, a section in which a bunch of really rad women answer the question, “What do you wish someone had told you about the world when you were younger?” Their answers are empowering and frank. For future issues, I hope that you will write in with questions to Ask Your Aunty, send your inquiries to (the extra d is correct).

So what’s my skin in the game? Who am I? What business do I have talking about punk ethos or self-reliance or whatever? I’ve considered myself to be punk since I was about 12 or so, that seems to be about the right age for self-awareness and independence building; both of my parents are super outdoorsy, and exceptionally skilled at their chosen crafts, both of them insisted that I be a functional problem solver, one of them instilled in me a disdain for corporate greed and insisted that I be self-employed, together they made sure I knew how to make, fix and reuse all of my own stuff. As a grown ass woman I started going to Burning Man, the fine people there codified something called the 10 Principles, which really resonated with how I move through the world. I’m not going to repeat them here, but I will invite you to look them up and consider them for yourself. I would never claim to be an expert on anything, that’s just not how I choose to label myself, and I’m uncomfortable when others call me an expert, I do however have a really interesting and diverse array of life experiences that I think make me a pretty interesting and well-rounded person.

I want to empower readers to try stuff, fail at stuff, work at stuff, and practice doing whatever it is that turns your crank. Burning Man Founder, and mentor, Crimson Rose has this to say, “Anyway someone can be empowered by what they’re doing is so incredibly important, and actually helps the world become a better place. “

So let us poke at this squirmy thing and see what happens.



IMNSHO I think being a badass is no so much about a look, though it can be, but about what you do. Someone who dares to be authentic, whatever that means to them. It can be looking, however, the hell you want to present, whether you’re khaki tan socks Plain J, or into leather pants, whatever. Someone who dares to really say what they mean and conducts themselves as they see fit. That’s all bound to be pretty fucking badass.

It’s knowing the rules so you know how to break them and is then acting with intention.

A badass likes what they like and can defend their likes with reasoned intelligence, without being an asshole. A badass can love some fluffy candy pop as well as that one Rush album, and be deft at whiskey tunes and know that Bey is the shit and maybe even doesn’t really like Tribe 8 and that’s ok. A badass is not afraid to sing out of tune.

Badasses speak up. If something ain’t right a badass says so. If something is great, a badass says so.

It’s not giving any fucks.
And giving fucks where fucks are needed.

A badass takes on challenges head on, figuring out the messy bits with agility and is cool with making mistakes along the way. Courage is badass.

A badass shares what they know. They have compelling, practiced and successful skill sets and are willing to teach others.

DIY Reusable Shopping BagMade with an old t-shirt

Do you live in a community that still uses plastic shopping bags, some have argued that the plastic bags already exist so why not use them? Meh. Lame.  Let's work together towards reusable when and where we can. Don’t have or don’t want to spend the cash on reusable bags? Making reusable bags out of old t-shirts is super easy. The more bags you have, the more bags you will reuse and the less plastic you’re using, and the less waste you’re generating. 

Step 1: cut the arms and neck out of an old shirt.
Step 2: Sew the bottom closed.
Step 3: Use awesome new bag. 

If you don’t have a sewing machine to bang out that straight stitch along the bottom of the shirt, you can easily sew by hand using a running stitch, an overcast whip stitch or blanket stitch to close up and reinforce the bottom of the shirt. 

DO IT YOUR (badass) SELF!

DIY, yeah, Do It Your Self! Radical Self-Reliance. It’s a nice idea, but what does it really mean, and how far can you really take it without becoming a “prepper” what’re are the differences between the radical punk ethos of doing it yourself and being one of those weirdo survivalists living in the hills chopping wood and carrying water?

Back when I was a kid being a punk was living way outside of social norms, there were no stores to get all your cute punk rock gear, we couldn’t get our bold hair colors at the supermegagrocerydepartment store. It was hard, and it built a certain character. Now I’m not saying “kids of today” are missing anything more than a little grit in their character for having an easier time pulling their look together. But there really is something to learning how to take care of yourself; your stuff and having the self-satisfaction of being able to make your own gear for whatever adventures you’re looking to embark upon.

So what really is DIY beyond doing it yourself, we know that is it assembling kits, problem-solving your needs in an Iron Chef sort of way? Are the things that DIY so rad in the same family as the “Maker” scene? Is the maker scene something that’s been branded for a certain flavor of nerd? DIY, punk, burner, maker, prepper, radical self-reliance knows no social boundaries.

What the heck do I mean by radical self-reliance?

Can your fix your transportation yourself? Simple basics skills like changing a tire and adjusting finicky mechanical bits will empower you a great deal, and count towards being radically self-reliant. Do you know what that funny sound or smell is and how to fix it?

Can you sew? Sewing is a life skill, from simple mending, buttons, and hems, patches or seam repair to making your own clothes. You can make your own bras and panties, which is totally liberating!

Can you cook? Do you know your way around your kitchen, know the basics of measurements, the chemistry of salt and sugar in your baked goods? Do you know the components of balanced nutrition?

Can you build a fire? You can heat your environment, dry your clothes, and cook for yourself on a small fire.

What’s so fucking punk about that shit? Changing tires and building fires! I don’t need to sew my own bras, I can easily walk into just about any supermegagrocerydepartment store and buy a new one!

Ah, yes. Buy more stuff. DIY empowers you to make new shit out of your old shit, fix the shit you have and, transmorgify merely OK shit into outstandingly rad shit.

Making your own stuff is crazy empowering. Even if what you’re making is a little janky around the edges, you made it. Radical self-reliance, and maybe a little bit of radical self-congratulations are in order.


DIY in all it’s flavors creates agency and social capital, but what the hell does having agency mean?

At it’s most basic it means that someone has the ability to act independently and make their own choices with free will.

I’m pretty sure most of us think we already do that. But do we really?

When we go to the supermegagrocerydepartment store we have choices, often too many, and we’re confronted with deciding which thing you will choose from the selection at hand. That’s not quite “agency” as I mean it here. Although it can empower agency!

If I went to the supermegagrocerydepartment store looking for clothes to make myself presentable to the public, but nothing fits my body, or suits my personal style, but I see things I kind of like—a detail from this, the shape of that, the material of this thing. As I walk around I pieced together something I would like to wear if it existed, designing, scheming, taking an inventory of what I have at home that I can transform. In this scenario, I would go home, find things that I haven’t worn in a while or that I don’t quite like anymore and remake them into something new that fits great and looks amazing. THAT is having some agency.

Taking charge of what you’re wearing is a huge and important step on the path of Radical Self Reliance. To take it a step further, you can teach your friends what you learned while crafting your own agency.

Going home and making what you want to wear is empowering to you and your sense of style, sure thing jellybean, and it also stops your money from entering the hands of huge conglomerates and sweatshop clothing manufacturers. And this is where your agency starts getting, practical, political and punk as fuck. When you take charge of the direction your money flows, you are totally punk. How far you’re willing to take this idea is totally up to you and your comfort levels. Personal sustainability is a challenging commitment, and I think it’s really difficult to go all the way when we do live in municipalities with systems and unavoidable public works facility resources. There’s nothing saying you have to go all the way, but it’s a lot of fun taking charge of your own shit and spending your hard earned mullah on things you want to support, and care about.

Now I’m not saying you need to make your own menstrual pads, but I am asking why not consider it? I’m not saying live a tiny house with a composting toilet, but why not? I’m not saying make all of your own clothes, but why not a couple things to get a feel for it?

“Be aware of any endeavor that requires new clothes.”
---Henry David Theroux

Don’t despair. Repair!!

Learning how to sew takes time and focused attention to learn all of the gazillion little things that make sewing a skilled craft. If you’re into it, start with patterns and projects that teach you as you go, over time, your goals and visions will cause you to learn through practice.

Learning how to sew is one thing, figuring out how to repair your own gear/stuff/clothes/shoes is a radical act of self-reliance!

Preservation is a key component to repairing your stuff. If you take care of your shit in the first place it lasts longer. Shoe polish isn’t just for making your shoes shiny, it preserves the leather making the material more pliable, prevents cracks and prolongs the life of your shoes and boots.

Sometimes repair doesn’t even involve sewing, it could be as simple as gluing or ironing; a little time, goop and patience will give you more time with an old favorite.

What’s worth repairing?

Boots, always boots. You may not be able to fix a busted zipper, or resole otherwise good boots, but a cobbler can for the price of a pair of sweatshop boots that’ll wear through quickly. Take your broken(in) boots for a good fixing and you can keep them going for many, many years. I swear on all of their graves, my dad maintained and wore some shoes that were passed down through four generations of his family, (I'd like to believe that my brother has them now).

Pants. Boots, pants, boots, pants… pants wear out in really typical places, especially denim. Denim is a twill weave and, by design is woven to be economical, the warp and weft have an under 1 over 2, under 1 over 3, weave pattern, and the yarn it’s made of is weaksauce, this is why our favorite jeans mold to fit our bodies and wear out in friction zones like wallet/key pockets, knees, and inner thighs. It’s is a bummer when your favorite jeans practically disintegrate off your body.

A crust punk might oil his jeans with mink oil to preserve the fiber of the weave, some will use a waterproofing treatment like Nikwax to preserve the life of denim, some just let their pants get naturally greasy from work and dirt (crust). Still others forego denim all together, choosing canvas duck (like Carhartt's, Ben Davies, and Dickies), or wool pants, all of which wear long and are worth repairing. Jeans are cheap, and easily found second hand, (another way to keep mullah out of the hands of corporations). From Sunday pop-up street markets, bulk second-hand shops and junk stores to vintage boutiques, reusing old clothes to craft a personal style outside of fashion trends is a form of radical self-expression. In The Role of The Ragmarket, Angela McRobbie discusses the economy of tastemakers of the teeming underworld of secondhand fashion.

I’mma not gonna tell you how to dress. What I’m getting at is making, preserving, repairing, and thrift shopping clothes is a component of making the world you want to live in.

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

In an interview with NPR’s All Songs Considered (October 23, 2015), Neko Case stated:

“There was a certain point in the 80’s and 90’s where punk rock, which I was really into, just became really super crappy, dogmatic, recycled political slogans, and there were no women anywhere. After a while, when you don’t see yourself you either start your own band and make yourself, or you just start looking for women somewhere, like where are they singing, they gotta be singing somewhere? I like singin’. . . . I loved the Plasmatics, I loved X but there was a serious woman drought in the kind of scene I was trying to be in and it was a drag.”   

Yeah, it’s kind of a drag when The Media neglected to show the women who were in on the punk scene, or showed women as hyper-sexualized or mute. In, The Decline of Western Civilization I, (1982), Penelope Spheeris showed women fronting bands, playing instruments and in the interviews, showed young women in a funky liminal place between being kids and full grown women. This is important because of punk’s attractions to budding teenagers anxious to find their own identity, try on different drags, challenge their parent's ideas, question the world and pushing back on current affairs. When young people see themselves in their idols, they can build a stronger sense of self with confidence that there is a place for them in the world.

Punk is a great place to try on your personal identity for the first time, and I think this is what the filmmaker was getting at in the film and the title, the world is in the hands of these kids and we’re fucked. In The Decline of Western Civilization I, Penelope Spheeris shows us the 'what' of early punk in the US, in The Decline of Western Civilization III, she examines crust punk in the late 90’s and digs into 'why' punk, delivering a message, while dire, of a welcoming community of hopeless people who’ve found a home with each other in the catchall that is punk.

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
                                                –Ramez Naam

Mez is a cyberpunk of the first degree. Mez has been a lot of things to a lot of people, a guru, cult leader, wedding affiant, a Burner, transhumanist, an immigrant, and sci-fi author. We’ve sat on couches during house parties peeling back the layers of our favorite cyberpunk stories. Mez is a smart guy who I respect a lot. He said this completely amazing, simple sentence recently at the 10th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference in San Francisco (2016). 

 “The meaning of a thing is the change it causes in the world”
      –Ramez Naam

If Riot Grrrl was born out of a race riot, the meaning of a thing is the change it causes in the world.

In The Punk Singer, Kathleen Hanna recounts that Kathy Ackermann told her to start a band, she started a band. The meaning of a thing is the change it causes in the world. If Bikini Kill was born out of violence, the meaning of a thing is the change it causes in the world.

When Neko Case said, “After a while, when you don’t see yourself you either start your own band and make yourself, or you just start looking for women somewhere…” I remember saying to the radio, “Damn right sister.”

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.” This short sweet sentence is a fresh call to action that resonates with myriad folks, punks, burners, makers, politicos, the young awaiting an invitation to step up. Mez's statements command us to look at ourselves as agents of change. We can no longer wait for others to start something we can support; we have to be the ones to start. We have to do it ourselves. We have to be radically self-reliant, we have to be radically inclusive, we have to participate. We have to.

In Riot Grrrl, Race, and Revival, M. T. Nguyen pulls a bunch of social capital into a pile, sorts through it turning over every best intention and calls out the inequity of every detail of the Riot Grrrl punk bedroom zine and online forum culture. M. T. Nguyen challenges us as readers to examine our thinking so that we may go forth and be the ones we have been waiting for.

M. T. Nguyen talks about what she calls 'whitestraightboy p-rock' in, It’s (Not) a White World: Looking for Race in Punk, (Nov/Dec 1998, republished Mar 2010), calling to task the “common culture” of punk in which she discusses erasure of her identifiers, “If I keep my mouth shut and don’t make “an issue” I’m told that I’ll get along fine—and never mind the psychic erasures I might have to endure.”

Nguyen is a fucking bad ass. I wish she were writing A Rebel Grrrls Field Guide to Self-Reliance. In, Looking for Race in Punk, she calls attention to how, in the punk scene she came up within, otherism was skirted by “colorblindness”, she brings to the table the wide strokes of erasure of history that happens when we whitewash cultural markers people bring to the party with them.

Ask Your Aunties

As a kick off in our first issue, HOW TO BE A BADASS editor, Q, asked a bunch of bad ass women one simple question,
“What do you wish someone/anyone, (but especially another woman), had communicated to you about the world when you were a young woman? Would you have listened?” 

If you have questions for your Badass Aunties, send them to: at gmail dot com (the extra D is intentional).

The badass ladies Q inquired with are farmers, framers, welders, coders, mechanics, seamstresses and designers, administrative wizards, musicians, artists, theater geeks, nurses, scientists, adventurers, bakers, filmmakers, photographers, world travelers; women of the world, from all walks of life, economic backgrounds and education, these women are bonded together by some common experiences of being grown ass women. Here’s what they had to say:

“The guy who is “everything” is actually a loser who will drag you down.” –M

“You are NEVER going to feel like a real adult and it’s OK to just do the best you can.” –L

“You really can do stuff. Fixing your car/washer/etc? Watch a youtube video.” –R

“NO SHAME! Don’t let others shame you. Be you, but not an asshole.” –A

“Never say you’re fine when you’re not. Speak up about things that bother you the first time rather than waiting.” –A

“Go to college early.” –E

“Other Women are not vapid broads or backstabbing cunts, and men are just as drama prone.” –R

“Don’t worry about being “sexy,” what is or isn’t as it applied to yourself. How many other ways can you describe yourself?” –K

“You won’t find who you are until your late 30’s.” –M (that’s the stone cold truth.)

“Every year reflect on what scares you the most and then spend the next year conquering that fear.” –A

“Cultivate good, loving, female friendships.” –R

“There are as many ways to live as there are humans alive. As long as no one is getting hurt the way other people live is none of your business.” –A


“DIY, like really do it yourself.” –a

“You won’t like everyone, and you won’t get along with everyone. That’s OK. Just let it go.” –A

“Sing out loud. Make noise. Learn an instrument. “ –a

“Keep learning.” –A

“Don’t settle for shit boyfriends because you think you can’t do better.” –E (because you deserve better)

“Cultivate friendships with people of every age, gender, orientation, class, skin tone, religion or nationality.” –A

“Don’t care, like seriously give no fucks to what people think of you.” –K

“Where sunscreen and moisturize. You cannot reverse aging and you cannot change your genes, but you can practice self-care and postpone the inevitable.” –A

“Explore! There is so much more that what you are filling your bubble with. Explore and see more and let go.” –C

“Stop apologizing.” –P (Q’s actual aunty)

Queen of the Neighborhood

One of the very best things about DIY culture, and therefore in extension, punk, burner, maker culture, is that we have the freedom and luxury to make mistakes, we have the room to fail with aplomb.

Your work doesn’t have to be perfect. Perfect is for machines, you’re not a machine, machines are tools used to achieve work well done. There is absolutely no reason, ever, to make work devoid of fingerprints or brushstrokes.

Do it the hard way. Do the work to make it beautiful, even if there is a short-cut to getting the work done more efficiently if it compromises the aesthetic it’s not worth the loss.

Fail to succeed. Flunk out if you have to, your entire career is not hinged on passing a class. Learn your strengths from your failures.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Make. Make. Make. Short. Long. Coherent. Incoherent. Contextual. Conceptual. Practice.

If you build it they will come. You don’t have to work for someone else for validation. You don’t need permission or an invitation to make work, make work you believe in because you believe in it.


You know what badasses do? All of them, you, challenge authority. Buck the status quo. Walk through the world with confidence that you’re a motherfuckin boss. A “boss” could be the one who runs the place or it could mean “boss” in the video game sense, an extra super powerful character, bosses are very hard or impossible to defeat without knowing the correct fighting approach. Bosses take strategy and special knowledge to defeat.

I want you to try something right now. Go to Youtube, type into the search bar, “how to use”, and select the first autofill. Is the first hit by a man? Try the same thing with “repair” or, “unboxing”. Men. Yeah? Do me a small favor and look up how to make a duct tape wallet. Notice that almost all of these videos are made by actual boys. What’s up with that? Where are the women fixing, unboxing or reviewing stuff? What does these tell us about a voice of authority? Where the ladies at?

I think I know one answer, online harassment. I’ve been there, and I hated it. We know through The Media the challenges Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency have experienced. Online harassment of women is violent and horrible, and sadly nothing new, and unfortunately slow to change. Does this mean we’re going to stand for it? Should we allow ourselves to be silenced and erased by men? Please say no. NO. Have a look at Feminist Frequency’s video series, Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History, for some empowering inspiration on getting on with your badass self.

Women, young women and old have voices that are defying authority and the establishment by being present and reinforcing their positions and knowledge. The more we push back on men silencing us, the louder and more persistent we are, the more we show up and outperform the haters, the more progress we make in demonstrating we will not tolerate erasure. We don’t have to adopt the language and cadence of the menfolk to be badass. The most badass woman I know, Lidia Yuknavitch, makes use of her womanvoice to tell her stories, and coax bravery and creativity out of others with her teaching. Hell my own mom, a mountaineer, and pilot defied every stereotype to prove that she belonged in the company of other adventurers. My mom is a tremendous, take no shit badass.

Be the expert, take no shit, defend your point of view, and be curious enough to question, research and challenge what you suspect is bullshit.


At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.

At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.

At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer. 

At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.

At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.

At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.

At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.

At age 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker.

At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.

Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39 and got her own cooking show at age 51.

Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.

Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.

Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career and landed his first movie role at age 42.

Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first major movie role until he was 46. 

Morgan Freeman landed his first major movie role at age 52.

Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for Best Director when she made The Hurt Locker at age 57.

Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.

Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.

Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of 21. Hell, it’s okay if you don’t even know what your dream is yet. Even if you’re flipping burgers, waiting tables or answering phones today, you never know where you’ll end up tomorrow.

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it. 
Never tell yourself you missed your chance. 
Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough. 
You can do it.
Whatever it is.


Readin’s awesome. Here’s a list of ladyauthors you may or may not have read already, maybe they have something new to pick up. A fun and interesting challenge is to spend a year, one year reading only books written by women. This, for me, falls into a “challenge authority” category of action. I want women as my mentors. I want women to influence my thinking, someone who has had vaguely similar lived experiences as I have, even if our only commonality is that we are women. I want the money I spend on my books, (I love books), to make it down the pipe to women. I want the bestseller lists to look like a who’s who of baddass women. This is not to say I don’t enjoy the authorship and artistry of men's writing, I do, but it is not a challenge to find men on the shelves of my local bookstores. The following is a list of awesome ladyauthors was contributed to by, Your Aunties. May you find some enrichment with this selection of reading.

Patti Smith
Linda Barry
Lidia Yuknavitch
Monica Drake
Sara Jaffe 
Sarah Sentilles
Anne Carson
Toni Morrison
Amanda Fucking Palmer
Margaret Attwood
Maya Angelou
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
Roxane Gay
Zadie Smith
Annie Proulx
Alice Walker
Amy Tan
Cheryl Strayed
Elizabeth Gilbert
Jeanette Winterson
Ursula K LeGuin
Sharon Kaye Penman 
M.M. Kaye
Hilary Mantel

AM Homes
Mary Gaitskill
Suzanne Collins
JK Rowling
Francesca Lia Block
Donna Tartt
Sarah Vowell
Dorothy Allison
bell hooks
Sonia Sanchez
Diane Ackerman
Tara Brach
Pema Chodron
Zora Neale Hurston
Louisa May Alcott
Ana Deveare Smith
Keri Hulme
Tamora Pierce
Melissa Broder
Carrie Brownstein
Michelle Tea
Flannery O'Connor
Pat Cadigan
Nicola Griffin


Part of what makes folks badass, and independent, and self-reliant is running head on, hell-bent, crazy-flailing at things that scare the crap out of them. There’s base jumping scary, and there is singing karaoke for the first time scary, they are vastly different in the actual activity, but they do similar things to our brains, in that taking on our challenges, achieving scary shit alters the pathways in our brains and scary shit becomes fun shit, and then we’re fucking badass. I’m armchair psychologizing immersion therapy, for sure, but there’s truth in the scientific proof of how exposure therapy works. This zine is not the place to unpack that, but it is a place to offer up a few ideas on challenging yourself. Start small and cheap.

Read something on a stage, or sing karaoke.  Oh. My. Cookies.  Hit an open mic with some writing, that shit’s scary!

Go on a long ass journey alone.  Through hike a long trail, bike tour, road trip, sailing adventure, horse camping, whatever, go into the world alone.

Take short adventures alone. Take yourself on a date, go to a movie, dinner, drinks, roller skating, anything you can do around town without the intention of meeting up with a friend.

Reduce your waste.  Carry reusable shopping bags, refillable drink cups, and water bottles.  This doesn’t sound super radical, or scary but it really is challenging to commit to reducing the single use consumables we encounter on a day to day basis. 

Memorize poetry.  I don’t know how people do it. I know songs, some songs come to me like breathing, but I couldn’t recite their lyrics when I’ve tried. Committing Dickinson # whatever to memory would be an amazing accomplishment for me.

I may produce another issue of How To Be A Badass, I may not, please don't hold me to it. It was fun to do as an assignment, but I'm not certain that this line of authority is how I want to proceed. 


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