Feminist quarterly Ms.—which "turned a movement into a magazine"—has released its 35th anniversary edition this week and, uh, does anyone really care? I mean, we should. It's a big milestone, but do you even know anyone who reads it? 'Cause we don't. Sadly, the content of the 35-year-old mag kind of parallels that of our eggs when we reach that age: kinda stale, and not entirely viable. Yikes! Was that too harsh? It's fucking true, though! But when we saw the cover of the anniversary issue, which promised the likes of Gloria Steinem, Margaret Cho, and the Gossip's Beth Ditto between its covers, we thought it might actually be interesting. It's not. Those women weren't interviewed or profiled. Instead, they merely provided small blurbs reflecting on what feminism means to them. And they didn't even get an original quote from Steinem, one of the mag's founders! They just adapted something from her Smith College commencement speech in May 2007. So, you might ask, since we're like pro-woman and shit around here, why are we hating on such a seminal feminist institution?
Because feminism isn't monolithic, and we're allowed to have dissent among our ranks, that's why. Challenging each other is what helps us to continue to progress. In fact, Whoopi Goldberg, in her little blurb in the "Voices Carry" feature in this issue of Ms. said:
We just have to keep our eyes open—as well as our ears and hearts. it's constantly evolving, that's why it's called a movement.And while Ms. was so influential back in the early '70s with its Equal Rights Amendment advocation and work to repeal abortion laws, in 2007 it still seems stuck in that era. Everything is really humorless. It actually reminds us of a great quote that Courtney Love once gave to Spin about Kathleen Hanna:
I envision her being in a decked-out loft with a little corner for a desk that look like it belongs in a poor person's East Village apartment, with her battered-women's stuff and her Ms. magazines and all her communication with leading feminists.She's right! It's like, according to them, you're not a real feminist unless you're doing something boring and constructive without any flash or pizazz. Why does everything have to be so dour? There are fun aspects about being a woman, you know.
That's probably the biggest divide between second and third wave feminism. There's this emphasis on the "serious" shit, which is indicative in their coverage of grave news, and insistence of an anti-pornography stance. In fact, in Beth Ditto's blurb in the article, you can see exactly how retarded "serious" can be:
I am hopeful that the best-known feminist publications of our time will go into schools...and ask students. Who wants to be in a magazine? And then I hope that all the girls raise their hands and then I hope you ask them to write a poem, and then I hope y'all publish the poem because our movement depends on them. Those grrrlz. There is a now of then, a now of now and a now of tomorrow. Don't neglect the latter and embrace the others. That's all. Sisterhood is power to the people.Like, come on. What the fuck does that mean? (BTW, her blurb made us hungry for Now and Laters.)
The personal doesn't just have to be political, it can pleasurable, too.