Maxi is a balanced woman’s zine, full of fun and information. It’s not for followers of the culture’s skewed vision of what feminine means (or what a woman’s mag means, for that matter). It’s exciting, worthwhile, colorful, and easy to navigate.
The background of the zine changes color from article to article, bright colors. Some might find some of the colors a tad gaudy, but I think they have managed to make the zine colorful without drowning out the print.
Understanding how the magazine comes together can be confusing at first. Maxi has many sections: Poll, Raw Nerve, Scoop, Consume, Imitates Life, Forum, and Maxiactive, as well as the Issue. Maxi has themed issues, which last for a season. However, the content of the sections changes every week, usually correlating with the theme. Each section is archived weekly. These people are busy!
I personally enjoy the polls. There’s a new poll each week, and the questions vary, from dress sizes to sexual orientation. No question is too personal for these people.
The Scoop contains news of all sorts, yet is not a sound bite-type section. Whatever it brings to the reader’s attention, it does so in great detail. One week, for example, Scoop featured a story on a lack of women in computer programming and discussed possible reasons why women haven’t infiltrated this field.
The Raw Nerve section is very similar to what’s been done before in other women’s magazines. It’s “black and blue marks on our psyche,” bringing sexist ads or T-shirts, whatever strikes them as offensive. It also gives kudos to some ads or comments that are empowering.
The Maxiactive section appears to be the least meaty section in the zine. It is mostly a vehicle for Hewlett-Packard International Women’s Challenge, a women’s cycling race taking place in Idaho. Besides references to that race and a one question poll, there’s nothing else there that doesn’t refer you to the HPIWC web site.
Imitates Life contains reflections on movies and TV, and there’s a great variety of topics covered. “Sherotica” is a compelling article addressing the cinematic bias against female desire. There’s also a fictional interview with the Spice Girls, panning their movie. Plus, a guy writes of an addiction to cooking shows that’s ruining his life.
Maxi entices with a blend of fun and frolic. It’s the most exciting women-oriented zine I have yet encountered on the web, and it manages to be enlightening without being preachy. I commend the editors on a job well done.