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The History of Ms. Magazine

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by

Jessica Reidy

on 16 October 2012

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Transcript of The History of Ms. Magazine

Women Getting Shit Done for 40 Years The {Her}story of Ms. Magazine Discussion Women's stories were not being told, and issues of equality, contraception, rape, sexual harassment, and domestics abuse were not discussed, and therefore, were not addressed. There were no shelters, no laws preventing job segregation (Apply Within: MALES ONLY), and there were no publications run by women. They saw what needed to be done, and then they went and did it. Felker had a pretty big crush on Steinem's legs The first stand-alone issue sold out in 8 days Sold OUt! Feminists don't Try to destroy each other What would Wonder Woman do? First, a group of women (activists and journalists)
were sick of having too few rights and no real platform. Who were the women
who ran "the magazine run by women"? In 1971, Gloria Steinem and Brenda Feigen held a two meetings in their living rooms with a group of female journalists to brainstorm ideas for a women's publication.

The writers and editors at these meetings comprised most of the original staff: Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Sloan-Hunter, Suzanne Levine, Mary Thom, Harriet Lyons, Patricia Carbine, and
Ruth Sullivan. New York Magazine editor Clay Felker allowed Steinem to launch a 40 page preview of Ms. Magazine inside NYM.

"Until now, the Women’s Movement has lacked an effective national publication to give voice to its ideas. We have placed our own knowledge and experience at Gloria’s disposal to help shape such a magazine. Ms., like New York, will concern itself with one of the most significant movements of our time."
-Felker in Letter from the Editor http://nymag.com/news/features/46166/ Ms:
1. a title of respect prefixed to a woman's name,
not depending on marital status like Miss or Mrs
2. the female equivalent to Mr.
Ex: Ms. Steinem says, in a professional setting, my marital status is none of your damn business. Letter, January 1, 1972
Dear Gloria,
I’m twenty-three years old, I have
two daughters and a perplexed husband. Perplexed because he can’t figure out what it is about woman’s position in this world that makes me so very angry…
Karen Mattox
Port Clinton, Ohio Nixon: For shit’s sake,
how many people really
have read Gloria Steinem
and give one shit about that? And there were detractors: There were supporters: "avocados on their penises" The Ads within and without After the preview, Betty Harris became Ms.'s first publisher. Unfortunately, she was unreliable and difficult, and lasted less than a year. Despite the $36,000 parting gift, Harris claimed Ms. was stolen from her and sued Steinem. The case was dismissed. but sometimes ladies do intra-feminist dissent: The Redstockings accused Steinem of collecting information on women's groups
for the CIA. Betty Friedan openly resented Steinem as a spokesperson for the women's movement. Ellen Willis and Alice Walker resigned from Ms.in 1975 and 1986. We found it difficult to be critical of the women's movement Advertisers were cagey about placing their ads in a radical feminist magazine that bandied about obscene words like "vagina," "clitoris," and "The Equal Rights Amendment."
From 1978-1987 Ms. was published as a nonprofit magazine through the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication.
In the following decade, Ms. changed hands 4 times, and then adopted a revolutionary ad-free policy.
In 2001, The Feminist Majority Foundation run by Eleanor Smeal, took ownership of Ms. through Liberty Media for Women, LLC. Digital Media and Feminist Blogs Ms Magazine Today Now Ms. Magazine publishes online content through its Word Press powered blog and an associated facebook page and twitter account alongside the print publication. Ms. Magazine allows mission-driven or non-profit advertising in the online publication. There is a Ms. Magazine store that sells "feminist flair," and options to comment on articles to facilitate discussion and reader interactivity. http://msmagazine.com/blog/ Ms. Magazine has been
consistently criticized by
academics, journalists, and activists for publishing a watered-down version of feminism in favor of reaching a broader audience.
How different is the decision to publish "easy-to-please-feminist" pieces from electing to go ad-free in order to control their own content?
Is this an issue of marketability, politics, or philosophy? 1972 2012
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