As we mentioned last Friday in Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever., the feminist pop culture magazine Bitch needed your donations to save itself from imminent publication doom. Fortunately, many of you, along with other loyal readers, came through and helped the indie mag reach their $40,000 (and growing) fundraising goal. (Cue the streamers and confetti!)
If you aren’t familiar with Bitch, don’t be too hard on yourself. How could anyone be expected to see past the throngs of fashion magazines to find Bitch inconspicuously sitting in the back row of your local bookstore’s magazine shelf? If you stand on your tippy-toes and push to the side the vapid pages of Cosmo’s quizzes and Glamour’s articles on “More Ways to Make Him Satisfied,” you will find the wonderfully titled magazine.
Its formidable reputation, along with a hefty portion of word of mouth is what has made this a periodical to be reckoned with.
In an era when most of us get our information from websites, blogs and something called a Twitter, Bitch has managed to stay afloat because of the valued content it provides its readers.
Their articles focus on a gamut of topics, from politics to movies to music, all with the insight of a feminist critique. Bitch delivers a humorous and edgy analysis of the portrayal of women in all media — which is something that we at AfterEllen.com can appreciate.
While there are other feminist magazines out there, Bitch is so unique because it has managed to exist without the support of full-page commercial advertising. For 13 years, it has thrived solely on subscriptions, donations and small-business ads. Go ahead, flip through any issue, and you will be hard-pressed to find a single scratch-and-sniff perfume ad or images of pouty-lipped, Photoshopped models staring off into the abyss as they try to sell you high-end shoes, jewelry or some smudge-proof lipstick.
The magazine pays its bills by developing smart content for a loyal audience that embraces the magazine’s promise to deliver a “feminist response to pop culture.”
Bitch’s recent struggle to find financial support tested the devotion of its many readers. The magazine has had such an enormous impact on young women that the publishers were able to garner support from various avenues. Email chains were circulated through women’s studies programs in colleges around the country, asking students and professors to donate whatever they could to save the feminist magazine.
Additionally, hundreds of websites and blogs took time to pay homage to the indie mag and echo the pleas pleas of publisher Debbie Rasmussen and editor Andi Zeisler to help save their magazine — and people did.
While not a lesbian magazine, Bitch’s content is about women for women, which certainly appeals to the lesbian demographic (you know, us being female and all), and they do often cover lesbians and lesbian topics in their articles.
And while we are extraordinarily lucky to have magazines that specifically cater to LGBT issues, we are equally as lucky to have a magazine like Bitch. The magazine generates dialogues and open minds to new ideas about feminism; it introduces people to writers who would otherwise be unheard and gives women a platform to vent their frustrations.
In an age when Glamour and Allure reign as queens, Bitch gives women a distinct voice and makes our presence known. To sum it up in one phrase, I’ll quote the Emmy Award-winning Tina Fey: “Bitches get stuff done.”
Do any of you read Bitch? Do you think the magazine will last?