The Struggles Of Bitch Magazine Are Neither Surprising Nor New

Illustration for article titled The Struggles Of Bitch Magazine Are Neither Surprising Nor New

Bitch magazine, the "feminist response to pop culture," is, like most of us during this recession, experiencing financial woes. Bitch's Debbie Rasmussen and Andi Zeisler posted a cute YouTube video yesterday, asking for donations to the tune of $40,000 - the cost of printing one issue. The quarterly magazine is a non-profit organization, which means that, while the people who work there get paid, the company doesn't really have to pay any taxes to the federal government. Having worked at a different independent, feminist magazine, I know how difficult and frustrating the whole cash flow thing can be, but not having to pay taxes must alleviate at least some of that burden. However, the mag only sells ads to "smaller, independent advertisers whose products and services are aligned with [their] mission of formulating replies to the sexist and narrow-minded media," so its income is, um, limited.The thing is, this isn't the first time the mag has had its hand out for "donations." For a publication that is so concerned about the way women act and are portrayed in the media, I'm afraid its publishers are reinforcing the negative stereotype that women are shit when it comes to business. Granted, I doubt that Bitch's "noncommercial publishing policy" deters larger companies from advertising, anyway. With a circ of only 47,000, Banana Republic and Absolut probably aren't banging down its ad sales team's door for placement. But its ad policy (its website is an "ad-free blog") is perhaps an indication of why such stringent idealism isn't exactly realistic. But here's the question, if Bitch is only asking for enough money to print one issue, what happens after that? What's the long-term goal here? In the FAQ on the magazine's website, editors state that "we're in the process of evolving into a multimedia organization. Right now our sights are set on building a strong online presence, but in the not-so-distant future, we're hoping to get into book publishing, audio and video production, and more." I don't see how this is possible. Like I said, I worked at the same kind of publication - granted with a much higher circulation - with an incredibly small staff (4-6 women at a time), in a city (New York) with tons more overhead, and managed subscriptions for a time, so I'm fairly familiar with these kinds of budgets. And I know this sounds kind of assy, but maybe it isn't about doing business poorly at all. Maybe the reason why Bitch isn't succeeding is because, although it's trudged along for 12 years, it just isn't successful. Has anyone stopped to think that it's the content, and not the mean, evil corporate world that's costing them money? A lot of women don't really subscribe to the stilted rhetoric of first-year women's studies. And it would seem that a lot of women don't really subscribe to Bitch either. Bitch Magazine Needs Your Help! [Feministing]


Erin Gloria Ryan

Maybe they should have a whimsical fund raiser montage set to an 80's soundtrack.

Ideas for whimsical fundraisers:

-car wash

-bake sale

-art auction

-standing outside with upside down straw hats asking for money

(here there should be a scene interspliced with them counting the money they've earned thus far and stil coming up short, kind of shaking their heads, but NOT being dismayed)

-finally, the big finale of the fund raising montage is they form a band and have an outdoor concert and just LOADS of people show up

(cut to them counting money again.... adding up something on a pad of paper— SUCCESS!)

(then everyone high fives, screams, and hugs)