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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."

Some physical issues of Bitch magazine from 2019 - 2021 laid out. Image: Alyssa Shotwell.

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 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.

Former and current staff also expressed these dual feelings upon the announcement of Bitch Media’s end.

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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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)