H ello dear readers. It’s lovely to be talking to you again after this long hiatus. It’s just over two years since my last update and I’m delighted to announce that Feminist Times will be returning in November (check out the countdown clock below).
Since we drew down the blinds on the first incarnation of Fem T, the world seems to have spun off its axis. Britain has fallen out with itself on a grand scale and while we’d rather it wasn’t the case, we want and need to be part of the conversation about where we go from here.
According to a recent poll by Lord Ashcroft, 74 per cent of Brexit voters dislike feminism. We may not agree with them, but we must empathise with the large number of men and women in our society who understandably feel alienated and pissed off.
Instead of wringing our hands and demanding another referendum, what we need now is a progressive vision of Brexit and a relatable version of feminism that reaches out and engages the 74 per cent without denying their concerns. Likewise, the Labour Party should be listening to the 51.9 per cent who voted to leave, not the reassuring hum of its own supporters.
Fem T is uniquely placed to represent the issues that matter to all women. That’s why we’re keeping #LifeNotLifestyle – to maintain continuity and remind us of the importance of telling the truth. We have something important to contribute to the debate and stand ready and willing to listen to our detractors while being buoyed by the goodwill of our supporters.
So, on to the practicalities. From November, rather than a series of daily updates, Fem T will take the form of a monthly online magazine. The rhythm of the project will be different as a result and this is deliberate. We’re taking time to get to know our contributors and collaborators; we’d rather facilitate the debate than fuel Facebook feeds. This may be slow journalism but we will still be full of agenda-setting content. As before, the magazine will be free to access and we have ambitious plans for the future including a nationwide programme of events and gatherings.
I have some new collaborators whom you will get to know in the coming months. Our new editor is Anna Hill and she has worked tirelessly on the project to get it to this point. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved so far and look forward to showing you the fruits of our labours.
We are still committed to paying our contributors and after a lot of soul-searching, I agreed to a business model that includes taking ads from like-minded organisations and individuals. There will be no advertorials or paid for content and we will always strive to ensure our ethical advertisers compliment rather than contradict our editorial position. As ever, I am a conflicted anti-consumerist and I’m sure the magazine will continue to reflect this.
We will also have classified ads! If you want to publicise your gay-friendly B&B or cat-sitting services we want to hear from you.
Our original, widely emulated membership model, where members supported our ad free content with monthly donations, was a great idea in principle but unfortunately didn’t raise enough money to pay our writers or our staff.
Writing for Fem T should be an opportunity for anyone with something to say, not a middle class hobby. It will take us a while to get to that point, but this is the direction of travel.
We are building from the bottom up this time, not the top down. We had so much free publicity last time and so much scrutiny of our proposals when our plans were in their infancy. The house was always full of people trying to interview me and take pictures of the children. It made me feel slightly giddy and certainly distracted me from the matter in hand.
I learned a lot from this experience and I’m better prepared. We’re working from my kitchen table at the moment and buoyed by positivity about the project. I don’t want to risk this by reopening the comments board. If you want to contribute to the debate, send us an email (in green ink if necessary) or even better, tell us why you should join our collective of writers and contributors. If you have something to say but are unsure where to start, we’re always on hand to advise on the best way to make your voice heard – it’s what we’re here for.
For me, Fem T was always more than a magazine. 3D feminism is about participation, meeting not tweeting and I’m looking forward to hosting more parties and helping to facilitate consciousness raising groups, an exciting new development.
Now to the inevitable ask.
In order for us to get the first three issues off the ground as we share our vision with potential advertisers and partners, we’re asking for £5 which we promise to use wisely. We’ve kept our overheads to an absolute minimum but there are some administrative costs associated with the website that we need to cover in our initial restart-up phase. Knowing we have your support as we turn our plans for a free-to-access feminist magazine into a reality means the world to us – after all, it’s your magazine as much as ours.
If you prefer a more proactive approach, drop me a line with details of how you want to be involved. We’re always on the lookout for new writers, illustrators, reviewers and all round interesting people. Ahead of the re-launch, we’d also love to hear from people who can help spread the word through their own networks and campaign groups.
Our new magazine looks and reads like the thing I originally dreamed of and although we’ve gone round the houses we’ve ended up with something relevant and confident that speaks in a quiet voice about important things.
At its heart, Feminist Times is an alternative woman’s magazine aimed at everywoman, not just academics or women’s studies specialists. It is free in all senses of the word and we can’t wait to hear what you think.
Our DIY punk spirit is very much intact and there will be news, long form features and plenty of regular columns to inform and entertain. We look forward to embarking on this journey with you. It could take some time but here’s to our future and the future of feminism.
Fem T minus...