Inspired by the Cunt Art movement and its pioneers in the 1970s, PINA Zine (or Cunt Zine in English) is an independent, self-published Hungarian zine dedicated to feminism and feminist art. The first printed edition was released in 2019 and is available to purchase on a number of platforms. Sonja Teszler, of the Budapest-based feminist platform Lazy Women, sat down with its creator and editor, Miss Pina…
Q: Can you talk me through the founding of PINA Zine – where did the idea come from?
Miss Pina: The idea of PINA Zine originated when I applied to MOME (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design). This is when I familiarised myself with feminist art, especially with the work of Judy Chicago. I found this topic incredibly interesting – something I hadn’t heard a lot about before, at least not in a Hungarian context – and I felt that I needed to share my knowledge with everyone, even if no one cared…
Q: You often refer to the 70s as the main inspiration for your work, can you tell us a bit more about the significance of this period?
When I was planning the first issue of the Zine, I decided that it will strictly be about feminist art. Then, I realised that this was impossible to leave out the whole context of how it all came about. And the deeper I dwell into history, the more I come to the conclusion that the progressive shift of the 70s, both in art and in feminism, is still relevant today. Of course, a lot has been achieved since, but I believe that there is still so much to be done. Through the Zine, I try to find the parallels between the nostalgia of the 70s with the realities of 2020.
Q: “Pina” (“cunt” in Hungarian) still feels like a bit of a taboo word in Hungary – at least in some circles or environments. What is the underlying motivation behind the name – is it to normalise the word or to be provocative?
The use of the word “pina” is partly a homage to the Cunt Art movement, partly to provoke outrage and attention, but most importantly, my goal is to reclaim the pejorative connotation of the word and instead give it a liberating meaning. Not to mention that the word fasz (“dick”) is used on a daily basis. It would be great if the word “pina” would not remind us of some degrading expression such as hülye pina (“stupid cunt”).
Actually, for me, it’s quite shocking that many women cannot say out loud, or even write down the word. I’ve received plenty of such comments from women, “what’s with all the cunt talk?” “what’s all this about?” “what makes this feminist?” “why do you need to label your work with this title, and why do you need to write it down so many times?” I think these comments shed light on the underlying issue. If we, women, cannot even say out loud the name of one of our greatest parts of our bodies, do we just leave it up to men, to use it as they wish, even in a pejorative sense? Thanks, I’d rather choose to say it.
Originally, I thought of the PINA Zine Instagram as a complimentary online platform alongside the Zine, since the printed format, which only comes out in 20-30 copies, cannot reach a broader audience. The playlist is a little fragment out of the zine that the readers can take away with themselves. It’s such a good feeling to have something to listen to while getting ready for a party with your girlfriends, or all alone in the car, or literally anytime, anywhere… I basically do not profit from making the Zine and it’s not necessarily my goal either, I’d just like to share my art. It feels really cool to see my prints in Nos (Hungarian design shop), or PINA Zine’s and Nemnőügy’s (Not a “Women’s Issue”) women’s day special edition in Leanzer Newcraft. If someone wants to support me, they can do so by purchasing these products. The Pina Etsy was created for making the zine accessible beyond Budapest.
So you’d rather maintain the DIY, anti-capitalist ethos of the punk era?
As a university student, who does PINA Zine in her free time, I don’t think that I’m contributing to capitalism through my work. However, I would like to make Pina merch in the future; not to become an influencer and to give out promo codes or anything like that – I create everything together with my boyfriend in a tiny bedroom. So, Pina is really still my personal little project. Getting a nice message and getting good feedback on my work is still what matters to me the most. If I could only help one girl by creating Pina, it’s been already worth it.
Q: So you view PINA Zine as a form of activism?
I definitely view it as activism. The anonymity, the Miss Pina alter ego, also serves the goal of not being able to connect the zine and the movement to one single person, I don’t want this to be about me. I want everyone to be able to relate to Miss Pina. Primarily, I write about feminist art and its importance, but I also have my opinion on Hungarian men and I’m not afraid to write it down. My objective with Pina isn’t to lecture or cancel anyone, unlike several Facebook groups. It’s a great feeling to see that it’s more and more of us with a similar value-system who are fighting for similar goals with their platforms, such as Vénusz Projekt, Nemnőügy, Eszti Tóth or Ciklusmesék. Our common objective is to empower women, make them share their opinions and feel understood via insta posts, for instance.
Q: What do you think is the role of feminism today, and where do you see PINA Zine within that?
In my point of view, feminism is becoming increasingly ‘cool’ in my generation. Although I feel that this has been partly achieved by fast fashion brands’ obsession with the #girlpower slogan, of course, feminism is much more than that. That’s why I believe that it’s important to be feminists not just on a superficial level but to truly stand up for each other, educate each other, do not bitch about each other behind our backs (something that I do not consider #girlpower at all).
In Hungary, I still feel that feminism is not a trendy thing, it isn’t widespread at all. Ok, perhaps in Budapest. But I believe that Hungary has a long way to go when it comes to feminist education. This is what I try to contribute to with PINA, mostly touching the younger generations, people in their 20s and 30s. I would like to make the content I share widely accessible and enjoyable, and to communicate it without any sort of over-intellectualised, high-minded context.
Q: Have you ever been called a “feminazi”?
Of course, I’ve been called a feminazi before. Although if I’m honest, I don’t even know who or what counts as a feminazi today. If I am a feminazi because I stand up for my values, for saying pina (cunt) out loud, for speaking about issues rooted in the patriarchal nature of our societies – issues that also affect men – then I am a proud feminazi.
A guy who constantly talks about how women belong to the kitchen, can’t drive, how they are only good for so and so, is considered a ‘man with traditional values’. If a woman is confident, loves herself, and perhaps says that she’s the best in the world, then we regard her as feminazi, because she must believe that she’s better than men. Am I the only one sensing a contradictory dichotomy here?
Q: So what do you think a progressive Fasz Zine (“Dick Zine”) would look like?
My boyfriend and I joke around a lot about him launching Fasz Zine, though we don’t have a specific look or idea in mind. The idea of a progressive Fasz Zine reminds me of the penis-shaped graffitis on concrete, I think it would be an exciting pairing to use the alt-punk aesthetic with serious topics relating to male identities such as toxic masculinity, mysticisms around penis size and the hierarchy surrounding it that men create between each other. But I might be thinking too much into it… or a Fasz Zine might already exist, who knows?
Q. If you could be the curator of an imaginary Pina Exhibition, who would you exhibit and what would be the main narrative?
I am really hoping that one day in Hungary a Pina Exhibition could become a reality and that people would be interested in visiting. I find the Vagina Museum in London really cool, and I love how there the value of art in such a similar topic is not questioned at all. I really hope we’ll see this in Hungary as well in the future. In this dream exhibition, I would definitely exhibit works from Judy Chicago, Hannah Wilke, Niki de Saint Phalle, Mihályi Barbara (@_barbart_), Éva Szombat and Kata Oltai. Though I would also strive to give an opportunity to younger artists like me to introduce themselves and their art to the audience.
Q: Can we expect to see any new, exciting projects from PINA Zine?
The past month was somewhat difficult for me personally, and so there was a long hiatus on the PINA platform, but I’ve been having a lot of ideas. I’m currently running an open-call project, with a lot of submissions, and I’m also experimenting with new mediums regarding PINA art. I’m trying to find some new inspiration as I would rather not get stuck in an Instagram-influencer loophole.
The PINA Zine #2 is out soon, which is very close to my heart, as it has a brand new design, and I’m exploring several different topics in 28 pages. I loved working on it! I am also looking into different directions before getting started on issue #3. Soon it’s the first birthday of PINA, and the 20th birthday of Miss Pina, which I’d love to celebrate in a special way, with an exciting project.
Lazy Women is a growing team of writers and creatives, from a wide range of nationalities, disciplinary backgrounds and lived experiences, who have gathered to give voice to their own understandings of the female experience and its relation to the public/private dichotomy. Its mission is to challenge the negative connotation of laziness and reclaim it by providing a platform that can be used to make public the many creative, literary and academic endeavours women around the world pursue in the private sphere, and therein often considered inherently less valuable than monetized or public work.