At age 51, I cannot remember a time when Bitch Media (originally the magazine, then the website, too) was not part of my day to day life. I also cannot remember how I was introduced to Bitch. It was just there in my adult consciousness.
Now it will no longer be here. Bitch Media is closing.
Bitch Media has been an independent-media presence like no other. Since 1996, we have provided nuanced, thoughtful, and resonant media criticism and have never wavered from our original mission to look at popular culture through a feminist lens—and encourage others to do the same. Over the past 25 years, Bitch’s magazine, website, podcasts, writing fellowships, campus programming, and more have helped to shape a media and pop-culture landscape where feminist perspectives are embraced, rather than sidelined.
Recent years have brought a multitude of challenges to our organization, and despite incredible effort, we have concluded that we are unable to sustainably continue creating the quality content that our readers and supporters expect. It is with very heavy hearts that we tell you that Bitch Media will cease all operations in June, 2022. Current subscribers and Rage members have been notified as to cancellations and the process for receiving any prorated refunds. BitchMedia.org will remain active for the foreseeable future to serve as an archive.
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. And we are proud to leave a quarter-century legacy as a fresh, revitalizing voice in both contemporary feminism and independent publishing. We will miss all those who accompanied us on this journey. Thank you for everything.
I have several distinct memories that are so crystal clear among the many, many hours I’ve spent reading Bitch in print and online.
In 2006, I flew across the country and back for a conference on affordable housing. I had packed the Bitch anthology BitchFest: 10 Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine in my bag and clung to it during what seemed like the longest time I’d ever been enclosed in a a metal tube hurling through the air. Also a horrible conference.
Early to mid-2000’s. We head out to visit bookstores. We visit the coffeehouse. I always ALWAYS get the latest copy of Bitch. I have a subscription, but somehow this feels important. I do read other things, but if someone stops by and says “what are you reading?” I thrust Bitch into their face. Eventually the bookstores all close. Note that I do spend money on books and magazines at the bookstores.
In 2012, I’m in bed with the tv on while my partner and I read. The article is Co-opting the Coop and I am entranced. The social worker in me is ecstatic to find this expression of something I didn’t even know I believed. I sent it to everyone and still do. I follow the author of that one single article on Twitter. When people bring up Fae life, cottage core, green burial, urban gardens, and more – I send them the article. And it is inspiring my own next big project – creating a community cat garden in our urban predominantly Black neighborhood. I am going to frame the article on the wall of one of our sheds.
It is 2014 and I am participating in #365FeministSelfie on Instagram. Bitch Media picked my selfie as a winner for a year’s subscription. I am still adjusting to life on SSDI versus a full salary so it is a gift on many levels.
Somewhere in here my wife and I join the Bitch membership programs with monthly sustaining donations.
It is 2021 and our oldest nibling is turning 16. She is a feminist and progressive so we decide to gift her with a subscription to Bitch magazine. She is pleased. She likes the ‘Filled With Rage’ mug. I thought I was going to be able to renew her subscription every year until forever. Sadly, that is not the case.
I share a lot of links on social media, intentionally. The Bitch Media twitter account is one of the few that likes and RT’s my posts of their content. I notice and pay even closer attention to their content. This is how engagement and community building works.
I am heartbroken that I will never be mentioned in a Bitch article. I just won my second national award for queer lady blogging and it is too late. I’m part of the Bitch community and history, but I never made that leap. I never thought I was up to snuff to write an article for them, but certainly they might explore the pop culture impact of queer lady bloggers?
I guess we’ll never know.
Well, I almost forgot this but in 2016 they did list my #AMPLIFY project as “cool” and how did I forget that? I was over the moon.
It isn’t just about the lost self-promotion opportunity, of course. It is the loss of something important to my whole adult life. I found books, movies, television shows, magazines, creators, and more through Bitch Media – things I did not encounter anywhere else in my life. I am just bereft about moving forward without these wonderful people helping me discover new cultural experiences.
I hope the archives are forever available, not just on a dusty flashdrive on a shelf somewhere.
I hope the staff find new fulfilling places to land.
I hope our niblings, all of them, grow up in a world filled with feminist critique.
I hope I can find more Bitch merch somewhere. The regular size mug ‘Filled With Rage’ isn’t enough. Fortunately, I have two.
I’m expressing my grief and denial about the impending closure by posting selfies with my Bitch shirt on my profiles. Sadly, one of the foster kittens put a hole in it so, like my heart and soul, it is feeling shredded.
Farewell, Bitch Media. Thank you for helping me navigate my entrance and settlement into adult life. I will miss you most of all.
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