Bitch Media Ends After 26 Years of Provocative, Vital Pop Culture Criticism With a Feminist Perspective Front & Center
Another reason to be "filled with rage."
Yesterday, readers, subscribers, and followers learned that the independent magazine heralded as the “Feminist Response to Pop Culture” (Bitch Media, a.k.a. Bitch) was coming to a close after 26 years. Originally founded in 1996 by Lisa Jervis, Benjamin Shaykin, and Andi Zeisler (then just Bitch), the magazine grew from 300 copies in the back of a car to thousands more and a global readership thanks to the launch of BitchMedia.org.
Bitch Media’s quarter-century legacy of shaping contemporary feminism through provocative dialogue comes to a close.— Bitch Media (@BitchMedia) April 12, 2022
Visit https://t.co/ySVqgERmLB for more information.https://t.co/0FGgQXClJp
BitchMedia.org will continue to exist online to serve as an archive “for the foreseeable future.” The June 2022 (Summer) issue will be the magazine’s last edition. In the announcement, they wrote,
We feel incredibly lucky to have turned what was once a stapled-together zine into a media organization that published a talented and diverse slate of new voices and inspired an incredible amount of loyalty from people who became not just readers but stakeholders in our work.
While I didn’t come to the publication until late 2018 (through what I suspect were Marina Watanabe videos, if I remember right) and joined the membership in the summer of 2019, my short time as a reader-turned-subscriber greatly influenced my time as a writer. Until finding Bitch and then, later, others (like The Mary Sue), I never saw feminist perspectives openly embraced by pop culture in any meaningful way (including journalism) outside of video content and academia.
Even then, I really came online at the height of Gamergate, and it took years for me to parse what happened and how that affected the media landscape. I was mistaken to believe that all more “traditional” journalists had to be straight-laced and buy into affected objectivity, even if that meant doing harm. Bitch met readers (including baby feminists) where they were at (regardless of education) and challenged them in every way.
Readers give thanks
Bitch announced this over email and on their social media platforms. Thousands of people are sharing the news and expressing sadness for this loss and a warm “thank you” for the 26 years of fearless feminist journalism.
This is awful. Bitch was the first feminist publication I read. It was there for me when I was in high school. It was one of the first to publish me The media landscape is losing more and more of these vital independent places and I can’t stand it. https://t.co/vCGhCCUJw0— Jude “Pre-Order MAW in Paperback” Doyle (@byJudeDoyle) April 12, 2022
Wow. This is a really hard thing to read.— Speaker @ #TED2022: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (@IBJIYONGI) April 13, 2022
Bitch was the first publication to publish me in long form. Many of you have read #DisorderedCosmos. It was Bitch where Physics of Melanin started.
This feels like a huge loss of a venue.
Thank you @BitchMedia for everything. https://t.co/Fmtp7ioxFa
I wish media funders could scroll through these quote tweets. Being on the business side of an identity-based outlet was a constant uphill battle to prove our worth and impact to institutions that never took us seriously. Well, THAT is what impact looks like. https://t.co/jkQ3snCN1q— Soraya Membreno (@SorayaMem) April 12, 2022
Former and current staff also expressed these dual feelings upon the announcement of Bitch Media’s end.
💔 💔💔💔💔 what a great magazine; the first place I ever published an essay. I’m grateful to have read it for this long. Thank you 🙏🏼. https://t.co/891gO7z5JE— Melissa Febos (@melissafebos) April 13, 2022
I see and appreciate your kind words, and also, Bitch was always bigger than a single person. It was an indie institution, a model for how to do this work. It will be sorely missed in a landscape where so few truly feminist outlets still exist. What a dark day for media.— Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl) April 13, 2022
This is a loss for marginalized writers. Full stop. Bitch published stories and perspectives that weren’t being covered anywhere else.— Marina Watanabe (@marinashutup) April 12, 2022
I’m so grateful for the brilliant writers and creators I got to work with over the years. God this hurts.
bitch was the first place that gave my writing on endometriosis a home. and I’m still damn proud of the nude centerfold they let me do as a disabled woman in their sick issue. this is just really truly sad ❤️🩹 https://t.co/V2qciJm7m0— Caroline Reilly (@ms_creilly) April 13, 2022
I can’t speak to its entire existence, because the creators founded the magazine before I was in Kindergarten, but in my few years of reading and listening, they’ve existed as a space for all women and people that are left out or straight up not treated as whole human beings in mainstream discourse. This respect in regards to identity (like race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, etc.) is often in tandem with class issues. The magazine didn’t just feature some writers and artists and call it a day. They made space to talk about things that wider journalism ignores until it affects them personally.
I—and others at The Mary Sue—am disheartened to hear this news and wish the very best to all those talented artists, writers, and more that made Bitch the tour de force it was.
(via Bitch Media, image: Alyssa Shotwell & Bitch Media)
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