After literally years of relying on (albiet) excellent imports from the US, UK readers now have a second feminist magazine to call their own.
Except, of course, neither of these magazines are actually available in shops just yet. Your best bet is to order a copy from their respective websites, and hope that the sales rise so high that Borders and WH Smith can’t resist them.
So what is the verdict so far? I haven’t seen a copy of Subtext Issue 1 as yet, but I met up with the women behind the zine months ago when they were still struggling to find funding enough to publish.
Gill, Andrea and Jo are not publishing professionals, or journalists. They are grassroots, activist women who were fed up of the lack of glossy material for feminists to read – fed up at the lack of feminist voices, at the lack of feminism – and who wanted to do something about it.
Which is exactly the same feeling you get reading Vagina Magazine (or as it has been packaged, Verge). Is it all spot on? No. Is it as professional as a Bust or a Bitch? No. But neither were they on their first issue. Both these zines will undoubtedly take time to find their voice, but will no doubt also contain some real gems.
From the first issue of Verge, this includes a fascinating story about how getting involved in making adult films by and for lesbians was a liberating, feminist experience. Or the great music reviews.
And, frankly, they’ve done it at the right time. The blogosphere has got feminists mobilised. Another book is getting people talking and thinking about how sexism is playing out in our culture (or at least in US culture, which we can more or less adapt from UK purposes in a diluted sort of way).
All I can do is suggest that readers of this blog support it, buy the zines if you can afford them, consider contributing something, because it will all help keep this momentum going.