Zine, xROSIx, third edition, yellowxperil.tumblr.com, $1.50
Let Rosi be clear: “I wrote this for me a lot more than I wrote it for you,” writes the fierce queer Vietnamese woman at the top of her powerful zine which negotiates identity politics, violence and shame on a painstakingly crucial level. However therapeutic this zine may have been to write, its anecdotes and reflections ought to seriously move any reader willing to hear out an author whose specificities and contradictions are sometimes too much for those around her.
Rosi mixes together storytelling, poetry, letters and thought experiments ranging from an angry memory of being the nonconsensual object of a stranger’s orientalist eroticization, to conflicted apologies to her mother, to a step by step explanation of how she goes about “proving herself” as a female and an Asian in an unfriendly world.
The excellent writing and complex, well-thought-out politics are outshone only by Rosi’s sharp sense of humor — that angry kind of comedy that people use to survive hostile realities. Particularly in “Your Masculinity is Under Attack” (a satire of commercial exploitation of male anxiety) and “Not Asian Enough/Too Asian” (about working in a Vietnamese restaurant), she blasts straight, white and male paradigms to hilarious and uncomfortable effect.
While more zines than ever take up tumblr-era identity Olympics without contributing much new to the conversation, Not Straight Not White Not Male does everything right. (Jonathan Valelly)