Free Size #1: Fill Your Mind, Fill Your Belly, Fill the Streets
Free Size is a US half-fold, black and white handwritten (and drawn) zine about fighting for people’s dignity no matter what their size.
Free Size opens with a very heartfelt, passionate dedication to Antioch Radicals that is about social justice and the impact of living amongst people who are trying to make the world more just. From there and without a single iota less of that passion, Shea launches into zine about fat, stigma, sizest culture, and so much more.
With a collection of sketches of beautiful bodies of all sizes as well as written pieces, Shea tackles a number of issues around stigma and sizism – all the the unflinching strength of written voice that people who have self-image issues will appreciate. Clothing, cat calls, and a huge number of inappropriate remarks – Shea approaches everything I consider to be a huge wall in regards to being fat and swats it away with confidence. She’s writing style fills me with confidence (albeit a shy confidence) about what I deserve.
As someone who is fat and has been struggling a lot with body image and body acceptance, this zine read like a call to arms – in defense of myself. There is a ‘challenge’ page in the middle of the zine in which Shea asks you to think about and write down responses to four different prompts. The first prompt is ‘Name 5 things you can do to love your body’ and I about broke down crying. But then I thought that just goes to show how much I haven’t been loving me and how important zines like this can be.
I do have one nitpick about this zine, and I hate to even mention it because I don’t want anything putting you off finding and reading this zine if it sounds like something you need/want to read. However, it is not a bound zine. The pages did go slipping a bit a couple of times for me, so I do need to mention it. That being said, it’s something that can be remedied easily enough by my stapler.
All the parts of this zine make me feel like I’ve been called to action and Free Size is the zine to help me take my first steps. Along with powerful pieces to get the reader fired up, there’s also the aforementioned challenge to get you thinking as well as a resource list. Also, because I love the little things, there’s also a sweet thank you to round out things that began with a lovely dedication.
I think Free Size is one of those zines you will be fairly sure whether you want to check out or not. I really hope you do. Free Size also included a call for submissions. I’m not sure how old the zine is, but I truly hope that it took off.