Feminist Women’s Magazines

 

We’re pleased to announce the sale of many issues of the feminist current affairs magazine Everywoman, at the bargain price of 40p per issue (or 10 for £2).  The Library’s collection of this publication is of such importance that we continue to house two runs – but due to space restrictions we’d like to share editions of which GWL has multiple copies.  Owning editions of Everywoman is a wonderful opportunity to help the Library preserve women’s history for future generations.  Exploring the history of British women’s magazines provides an insight into what has and has not changed for women over the years.  Everywoman remains highly current in that many of the issues addressed (such as the non-payment of child support) are ongoing inequities.

Everywoman is a radical departure from the familiar content of contemporary woman’s magazines, which act as a conduit for advertising – urging us to love our bodies alongside advertisements for plastic surgery.  The lifetime of Everywoman’s  publication shows the extent to which there was a readership for an alternative periodical.  The publication played a role in connecting women politically and socially, combating isolation ideologically and bringing together women who may be geographically remote from each other.  For many women, such publications (see also Spare Rib, Shrew or Red Rag) offered a rare space in which to discuss taboo subjects such as female sexuality.

Similarly to Spare Rib, Everywoman shunned the glossy aesthetic of magazines like Cosmopolitan, instead replicating the style of the newsletters of the 1960s underground press, evidencing its grassroots origins.  Features from the 100th issue include ‘The Wild Woman Within’ – an article on witchcraft and “conscious femininity”; an essay on the return of Independent Midwives to the NHS, particularly pertinent right now considering the perilous position of Independent Midwifery and the recent incarceration of an Independent Hungarian Midwife for supporting homebirths.[1]

Although a commercial magazine maintained by its readership, at its inception Everywoman was published by a women’s co-operative (owned and run by its editorial committee).  Chrissie Hynde was a lifetime supporting subscriber, and Germaine Greer and Susie Orbach were also long-term subscribers to Everywoman.  The magazine was founded in 1985 by British journalist Candy Atherton, who later became a Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne from 1997 to 2005.  Fellow founder member and editor Barbara Rogers ‘lasted nine years [with the magazine] before a particularly nasty lockout (led by the male solicitor) put an end to it all.’ [2] Like Candy, Barbara has also been a Labour Party activist and London councillor, but is no longer a Labour Party member as Barbara felt at odds with the policies of the Blair administration.  Barbara still thinks there is space for a women’s magazine, this time weekly, and full of job ads.

Since Spare Rib shut down in the 1990s, there has been a distinct lack of feminist magazines available in Britain, in comparision to the USA, for instance, where women can choose between Bitch (http://bitchmagazine.org/), Bust (http://www.bust.com/), and Ms. (http://www.msmagazine.com/).  However, in 1997 The Guardian[3] documented the founding of six new British feminist magazines in 18 months, including KnockBack (www.knockback.co.uk), Uplift! (/www.upliftmagazine.com), Subtext (now publishing it’s last edition), and Desperate Living.  Despite still being in the early stages of development, with a limited circulation and financing, the launch of these magazines documents a passion for media-led social change amongst young British women.

We can do it…But we need your help!

Our collection of feminist periodicals is missing the following editions of Everywoman, which we’d be delighted to acquire: July 1985; December 1986; January 1987; April 1987; October 1987; January 1990; and January 1996.  We’d also love to add the following issues of Spare Rib: 1972 Issue 1; 1972 Issue 2; 1972 Issue 4; 1973 Issue 7; 1973 Issue 8; and 1973 Issue 13.


[1] The Guardian 22 October  2010 [online] Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/22/hungary-midwife-agnes-gereb-home-birth [Accessed 2 November 2010.]

[2] Asha Centre.  2010. [online] Available from: http://www.ashacentre.org/barbara%20r.html [Accessed 2 November 2010.]

[3] The Guardian 13 July 2007 [online] Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/jul/13/pressandpublishing.genderissues [Accessed 2 November 2010].

This entry was posted in Blog, The Collection blog. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Comments

  • Posted 10th December, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
    kathy

    hi, i have some old editions of everywoman,inc dec/jan95/96 , which was one issue. you are welcome to it if you still need it. kathy

  • Posted 18th January, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Kathy,

    That’s fantastic news – we’d be delighted to get hold of the editions needed to complete our collection. Can you call our archivist Hannah on 0141 2489969 or e-mail us with your contact details and Hannah will call you?

    Thanks so much.

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use some HTML tags and attributes.