I dreamed a dream... no, this is not another susan boyle post.

Ladies and Gents,
Today I was talking to a friend online about how another friend wanted to stage a hunger strike. In explaining why I didn't take him seriously, I pointed to a mental graveyard where activists' idealistic dreams so often go to die for lack of many different kinds of things. In this visit, I remembered one of my own activist dreams, which was to start a magazine that was accessible to teenage girls, incredibly cheap (if not free), and completely and totally against the mainstream idea of what a girls' magazine is supposed to be. I wanted something like bitch, or Bust, or Ms. for my little sister. There are some options, such as New Moon, which offer both an online community and a bi-monthly magazine, but most (as this one does) cost money.

Even my hallowed bitch costs money, I know, but I guess I just had a dream of a fun, smart, sassy zine that was everything I, and my feminist (and femAnist) peers wanted to say to our tweenage selves that all girls could have access to, despite access to money. As I re-read an old issue of Seventeen through my new, chic, feminist lenses, I started to realize how much insecurity and social conformity resided in the pages where my younger self so often sought validation. I will admit that the magazine has come leaps and bounds from where it was to address issues like the experiences of the transgender community and to give real, honest answers to sexual questions. These good parts are overshadowed by the astounding amount of negative information in the form of ads, beauty/fashion tips, and "how to get your man" articles that are always present in this magazine and others like it.

I've done my research, and I've found that most if not all of the magazines available for girls seem to come from a perspective that assumes that tween girls will be attracted to a certain kind of magazine... a magazine that reminds me a lot more of my old issues of Highlights than cosmogirl. It seems to me that if you really want to get these girls to listen and to care about what the magazine says, you have to get past that wholesome idea of what a tween "should" want to see and accept what they're actually looking for. The biggest problem, aside from the fact that I have no idea how you actually make a magazine, or even a zine for that matter, is that most magazines get that pop and attractive factor from the money brought in through advertising. So, how does one get around this problem to make a fun, interesting, honest, and accessible option for tween (and teen) age girls?

I really don't know, but I think its worth discussing.

Stay shiny,

**Note: if any readers know of a publication, online or in hard print, that fits this bill, please feel free to call me out and let me know that it exists. I would be ecstatic even while wallowing in my researching abilities' shame. :)


A Personal Endorsement Born of a Love Affair

Today I received a wonderful, amazing package in the mail from my mother. Before I go into that, let me go a little into one of my favorite sources of information and entertainment: bitch magazine. I stumbled across this while reading the book that started my own personal feminist journey, Courtney Martin's "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters", where she mentioned her transition from COSMO to magazines like bitch and BUST. After being inspired by her book to become a more conscious participant in my identity as a woman and a human being, I immediately went out and bought the newest additions of both. BUST is a fantastic mag, and I would never want to rag on something that promotes hip, savvy, feminist culture, but it is bitch that has truly captured my heart. I've invested in every issue since my first, which was the Lost and Found issue from Winter 2008. When bitch went through a financial crisis last semester, I pledged that as soon as I was no longer saving for my time in Estonia, I would put my money where my mouth is: in the recycled pages of bitch.
I found soon after coming to Estonia that, not only is bitch not distributed here, but I can't even get the magazine shipped. This I blame on my decision to come to a former Eastern Bloc country and not on bitch. Anywho, surprise of surprises when I find out that my new status as a bitch sustainer (although on the lowest rung of that ladder) got me the new issue of bitch at my mother's house! This was the package I got today, and it could not have come at a better time. Though I have been keeping up a constant stream through the twitter page of bitch, I'd been dying for something to really sink my teeth into.
Every issue challenges my thought and opens my mind, and the magazine has led me to find new authors, organizations, and ideas that have since become indispensable in my life. I highly encourage anyone looking for a shot of hard-hitting, quirky, feminist lit to pick up this season's issue of bitch. bitch endeavors to tackle topics both tame and controversial in the feminist conversation which can lead to some hot discussion (which is always fun to read in the first pages of each issue), and it is just this thought provoking character that has me hooked!

You can grab a copy of bitch at the borders on westgate, or if you'd like to support a local endeavor, just drop by MonkeyWrench Books to get your copy. Not in Texas for the summer? Check this nifty list for a bookseller near you.

Stay Shiny!


Funny Feminist Friday: RIP Bea

As you've probably heard by now, the wonderful Bea Arthur passed away last Saturday. Known for her roles in Mame, Maude, and The Golden Girls, Bea Arthur was never afraid to discuss controversial topics from a feminist point of view. One episode of Maude that aired in 1972, before Roe v. Wade had been decided, even had her character struggle with whether to get an abortion and ultimately make the decision that she was too old to have a baby and abortion was the safest option.

Of course, she is best remembered for her comedy, and as I'm sure we all need a little comic relief before finals, here is a clip of the fantastic reading she gave at Comedy Central's roast of Pamela Anderson (definitely not safe for work):

Thanks for all the laughter, Bea, and of course, thank you for being a friend.