When we heard that Jane Pratt, the former editor of Sassy—the sharp, celebrated teen mag that above all was absolutely unwilling to pull its readers into the spiral of insecurity and product consumption so endemic to all others in the genre—was launching a new grown-up glossy, we, along with other feminist pop culture junkies nationwide, squealed with excitement. Then Jane launched. And we weren’t excited anymore. Here’s why.
Imagine the jolt to my feminist sensibilities when I arrived, ready to serve, at the local Taste of the County dinner event and was presented with a plastic apron that had housewife emblazoned under my name. Shame heaped upon humiliation when I noticed—slack-jawed—that a potted plant, needle and thread, and recipe box (!) illustrated the damnable word. I, if the truth had been sought, have no visible gardening skills, find no personal satisfaction at the sewing machine, and sprint from any connection to the culinary arts.
we’ve taken a lot of shit from people who don’t like our name: readers who wonder why we’ve chosen an epithet to grace our covers, friends and family who took a year or two to be able to say it out loud (although they’re all incredibly supportive now, thank you very much), well-meaning folks who suggest that a simple name change might allow us to rake in the clams, people we meet at cocktail parties who clearly think we’re freaks.
It’s a refrain we’re sick and tired of hearing: Feminism doesn’t speak to young women. Girls just aren’t interested in feminism. Self-proclaimed feminists lament it; non-feminists think it proves that feminism is not only unimportant, but outdated. This simplification of the concerns of girls may make for a good sound bite, but it begs for some serious examination.
When I told people that this issue of Bitch was going to be devoted entirely to sex, the most common response was a sarcastic, “Oh, you mean as opposed to what all the other ones were about?” It’s true that we tend to spill a lot of ink about sex—and so I started to think about why.
Reviewed in this issue: Defending Pornography, by Nadine Strossen; Gender Wars, by Brian Fawcett; Talk Dirty To Me, by Sallie Tisdale; Going All the Way: Teenage Girls' Tales of Sex, Romance, and Pregnancy, by Sharon Thompson; and Unnatural Dykes to Watch Out For, by Alison Bechdel
My arm fell asleep, I got so engrossed. This issue of Harper’s Bazaar is about as big as a bible—and just as full of prophecy.
I fall in love with the models, their blackened eyes and plaster pigment, all pinched and compressed into vinyl and leather, looking hot hot hot and totally unfazed. They are the visions of me that I will never see.
Irony of the month: While the Editor’s Letter says, “Shut up and eat,” and bemoans the fact that women are always “self-surveilling” their caloric intake, the mag gives information about: “Aromatrim” products (you smell them and they make you eat less); a new diet pill; “liposhaving” (you can guess what that is).
Murphy Brown’s a feminist show, right? I know it seems pretty old hat by now, but featuring a successful single mother and criticizing the Vice President is big stuff—for a sitcom, that is. Sometimes we have to take whatever we can get.