MEDIA TIPS: Q & A with Andi Zeisler, Founder and Editor of Bitch Magazine

What Young Writers NEED to know about Submitting to Bitch Magazine From the Editor HERSELF!!!

On how she got the idea to start Bitch…

Lisa (one of the other cofounders) and I were high-school friends who decided to move to California together after college. We both really loved magazines and had interned for them in college, and were in general very absorbed by pop culture. We spent most of our non-working time seeing movies, watching TV, reading books and magazines, and talking about them. We decided to start Bitch when we realized that there just wasn’t a lot of media out there for young women interested in feminism. And there weren’t a lot of people writing about the intersections of pop culture and feminism. (This was in 1996, before the Internet as we know it had really gotten underway.)

On advice for young journalists who want to submit to Bitch…

Do your research. We get tons of pitches, and at least half of them are pitches about something we’ve already covered recently. Also, be specific and really think about a realistic framework for the piece. We get a lot of pitches that say something like, “I’d like to write about women and pornography” or “I’d like to write about women and action movies.” Well, both of those are huge topics that could easily be (and have been) the subject of entire books. Narrow it down, and make sure it has a current media or pop-culture hook.

Golden advice:

It’s really important to have a network of colleagues and not be shy about schmoozing them, since from what I can tell very little gets done unless you know someone.

On submissions from freelance journalists that you decided to publish that stick out in your mind…

One of my favorite articles ever was submitted as a full draft. It was about horror movies and the trope of menstruation as a way to denote burgeoning evil. The writing was incredibly smart, and I had never thought about that connection before. It was incredibly fun to work on, and the writer has gone on to be one of our favorite regular contributors.

On what distinguishes Bitch from other feminist publications…

I think Bitch differs from each of these (feminist) magazines in different ways. We differ from Ms. in that Ms. is more of a feminist newsmagazine, one with a lot of reporting muscle, well-known feminist writers, and institutional heft. I think we’re most like Ms. in terms of our mission, but it’s always been our goal to be more relatable, particularly to younger women, than Ms. has historically been. In the case of Bust and Venus, we differ from them in that they are really sort of an independent, feminist version of fashion magazines. They have lots of focus on products and style, whereas our focus is on critical essays and we rarely give promo space to products or fashion.

Lia Avellino


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