TUFF tackles social justice issues with new zine

Andrew Henderson

With the goal to be “TUFF as Nails” the Toppers United for Feminism are going to print so they can inform the WKU community about social issues. 

“TUFF, in general, is a group that focuses on feminist issues in our community,” Justin Crenshaw, TUFF co-president and Glasgow native, said.

TUFF’s newest attempt to focus on feminist issues and create social change will come in the form of a magazine. Crenshaw said the choice to shorten the publication to “zine” stems from the term’s history as a reference for magazine publications focused on social justice. 

He said a zine was present for three years through the Coalition of Gender and Racial Equality, but it dissolved. Crenshaw said a magazine would help to build community, and students will feel included reading articles published for students by students. 

“I feel like voice is important— it expresses your narrative,” he said. 

One of the voices students will hear is Greensburg sophomore Katelyn Calhoun. However, students may have a difficult time determining which article Calhoun has written. All authors for the zine will be using pseudonyms.  

“I think it gives you freedom to really express your opinion regardless of how possibly radical some people may find that,” she said. 

She provided a short overview of the articles that will be published— diversity at the Oscars, the unhealthy relationship portrayed in “50 Shades of Grey” and self-love.

The articles are part of an initiative to ensure the publication doesn’t take on a solely feminist perspective. Louisville junior Erin Miller said that while the zine is published by TUFF, they will move away from writing exclusively about feminist issues.

“The word feminist kind of deters a lot of people, unfortunately,” she said. 

Miller is involved with coordinating submissions for the zine and said the first issue will serve mainly as a call for future submissions while gauging the overall success of the paper publication. 

While TUFF begins their new endeavor, all three were in agreement that the biggest picture for the zine was centered on education and discussion building. 

“We want to present the information as openly as possible and create discussion around these topics,” Miller said. 

Calhoun said that students aren’t often exposed to feminist and social justice viewpoints until they reach the collegiate level. She hopes students will have an open mind about topics they may have never considered. 

“I think education is really a prime concern,” she said. 

Apart from education, Crenshaw hopes to build coalition and community among students, creating an open forum for the issues in the zine. He said a big point for the zine would be allowing students to talk about social issues and to be progressive regarding them.

“People have to know what’s going on before a problem can be solved,” Crenshaw said.

“TUFF as Nails” will be published the first and third Wednesday of every month, starting the week after spring break. Copies can be found at the Gender and Women’s Studies house and the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility in Tate Page Hall. Submissions can be emailed to [email protected]